JOANNA LUMLEY, Andrew Marr and Julian Clary are just some of the guests heading to the Borders Book Festival this year.

The annual event is coming back to Melrose this summer.

Returning to Harmony House for the first time since 2019, the four-day-long festival will welcome some big literary names to the region.

With more than 100 events planned for the June festival visitors will be spoilt for choice.

Alistair Moffat, festival director, said: “We couldn’t be more excited about our return to Harmony Garden this summer.”

Although the festival won’t be announcing its programme of events until April 19, organisers have shared that some of the top names visiting Harmony House this year include actress Joanna Lumley, journalist Andrew Marr, comedian Julian Clary, crime writer Val McDermid, and presenter James Naughtie.

In 2020 the festival moved online with a series of virtual events, and in November last year the festival was held at Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, in line with the 250th anniversary of the author’s birth.

Mr Moffat said: “Undoubtedly, Abbotsford made a fabulous venue last November, and was especially fitting for the 250th anniversary year of Scott’s birth, but our hearts lie at Harmony Garden, and to return there more than two years since the pandemic paused life as we knew it is a poignant cause for reflection and celebration.”

He added: “This year, whilst all relevant COVID-19 measures will still be in place to ensure the safety and peace of mind of festival-goers, we hope to be able to return to relative pre-pandemic bliss: spending long, light days in a beautiful setting; surrounding ourselves with inspiring debates and exchanges of ideas to fuel mind and soul; and enjoying the delights, once more, of the Food and Drink Village to fuel (just as importantly) the body.”

The festival will also see the winner of the £25,000 Sir Walter Scott prize – last year won by Hilary mantel for The Mirror and the Light – announced at a special event.

The Borders Book Festival will take place from Thursday, June 16 until Sunday, June 19.

Box office tickets will go on sale on April 19 and will be available on the festival website or by calling 0131 290 2112.

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