THE annual Beyond Borders International Festival is returning to the grounds of Traquair House next month.

And the popular event will host a range of international and Scottish writers, artists, musicians, thinkers, and politicians on August 27 and 28.

Among the speakers taking part in this year’s Main Tent Programme are Alastair Campbell, who will speak to his old colleague Jonathan Powell about the Blair years, Brexit and his own inner struggles to find peace.

Christina Lamb will be talking to Allan Little about her most recent books and life as a veteran war correspondent; and author Irvine Welsh will speak about his life and new novel The Long Knives.

In other main stage events, BBC’s special correspondent Razia Iqbal is set to talk to Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. Department of State, Salman Ahmed, about America’s foreign policy; while veteran broadcaster Jim Naughtie will interview Tina Brown about her latest book – The Palace Papers.

Journalist Ms Iqbal said: “It’s intimate, it’s expansive, it’s joyful, and an engaging festival to be at.”

Elsewhere, Brian Brivati, editor of Losing Afghanistan, and Andriy Shevchenko, former Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada are set to discuss stories from the frontlines in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Closer to home, authors Rosemary Goring and Clare Hunter will unravel the story of Mary, Queen of Scots’ tumultuous journey and time spent living and sewing in Scotland; while historians Murray Pittock and William Dalrymple will unpick Scotland’s global history and influence.

The weekend wraps up with a talk by award-winning journalist, broadcaster and political commentator Steve Richards who delves into the twists and turns of British politics.

Throughout the weekend, there will be musical performances, from the likes of Barbara Dickson who has curated and collaborated with Northern Irish singer-songwriter Anthony Turner.

Elsewhere, director Guy Masterton will reflect on his relationship with his uncle, Richard Burton, in a new theatrical offering as Elaine Heron leads local poets on a poetry walk.

The Walled Garden will also host well-being activities including meditation, yoga, and cycle rides, as well as a story-telling walk with local storyteller Mary Kenny, and a foraging walk taking in the scenery of the new path between Innerleithen and Traquair House with Fi Martynoga.

The Festival will also welcome another new cohort of women peacebuilders and cultural leaders from conflict affected regions around the world, including Ukraine, as part of the Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship Programme supported by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Mark Muller Stuart, the festival’s director said: “My wife Catherine and I are looking forward to once again welcoming audiences to Traquair House, and to showcasing a wealth of local and international talent in a programme buzzing with talks, walks, musical, theatrical, visual and performing arts events, as well as inviting all to enjoy food and drink in the magical surroundings of Traquair House and its Walled Garden”.

The full Beyond Borders International Festival Programme is available online at

Tickets: Weekend (with reserved seat) £70; weekend (general admission) £60; day (with reserved seat) £35; day (general admission) £30. Concessions 20 per cent discount. For more information, email or call 0131 290 2686.