HILARY MANTEL, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown are all set to visit the region in November for this year’s Borders Book Festival.

Last year the event was held virtually.

But this year it will be held at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott from November 2-7.

The line-up for this year has now been revealed, with festival director Alistair Moffat saying he is “delighted” to welcome book lovers back to the festival.

Mr Moffat said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming the book-loving public back to the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival this year, even more so in light of everything that the last 18 months has thrown at us.”

This year the Borders Book Festival will cover more than 60 events, including a celebration of the 12th Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction which was awarded to Hilary Mantel in June for her book The Mirror and the Light.

Giles Ingram, Abbotsford’s CEO, said: “Abbotsford is delighted to be welcoming the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival to the home of Sir Walter Scott, especially as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth.

“The authors and visitors to the festival will be able to experience the wonderful home and setting that inspired Scott to become Scotland’s Greatest Storyteller and inspires writers still. It is fitting that in Scott’s anniversary year our commemorations include the opportunity to celebrate the literary heritage we enjoy today.”

Also attending the book festival are crime writer Val McDermid, former politician Ed Balls, Labour MP Ed Miliband, rugby star Gavin Hastings, and travel writer Michael Palin.

Mr Moffat added: “The festival will feel a little different this year: we are swapping the warm, sunny days of June for the autumnal beauty of November; and the iconic Harmony Garden for the magnificent home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford.

“It seems totally fitting in this year of the 250th celebrations of Scott to be welcoming a host of great authors to his home, but, on a practical note, holding the Book Festival at Abbotsford also allows us to ensure that the Festival is COVID-safe and that our audiences, whom we have missed so much, can come and enjoy everything we have to offer with peace of mind.

“As ever, we are very grateful to our sponsors and funders for their continued support and are delighted to welcome on board this year as our media partner the Financial Times.

“We very much look forward to returning to Harmony Garden in June 2022, but, for now, we are thrilled to have so many wonderful authors joining us at Abbotsford this November for six days of unbridled literary pleasure.”

Discussions during the festival will also include Jonathan Dimbleby on how Hitler lost the war, political journalist Robert Peston on his new thriller The Whistleblower, and Pat Nevin on his autobiography The Accidental Footballer.

The Family Book Festival will also return over the weekend of November 6-7 with events suitable for youngsters aged three to 12.

Borders author Alan Windram bringing the newest instalment of his One Button Benny series will join the children’s line-up, alongside Blue Peter award-winning author Pamela Butchart with her book A Monster Ate My Packed Lunch!, and illustrator Jill Calder and author Justin Davies will lead outdoor writing and drawing workshops.

Tickets for this year’s Borders Book go on sale today (September 29) from www.bordersbookfestival.org or by calling 01312902112.