A STAPLE in the June diaries of book-lovers the length and breadth of the country is the Borders Book Festival.

Once again to be held in its iconic home of Harmony Garden, Melrose, and this year running from Thursday, June 15 to Sunday, June 18, the four-day feast of literature, entertainment, politics, sport, health and lifestyle – and much more besides will see more than 100 events hosted.

Organisers have released an early peek at some of this year’s headliners including broadcaster and writer Sally Magnusson; Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart; award winning Irish novelist and poet Sebastian Barry; civil rights campaigner and distinguished lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC; ex Labour Leader and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown; Royal Lady in Waiting and socialite Baroness Anne Glenconner and rugby legend Will Carling.

The full book festival programme is to be announced on Tuesday, April 25, after which tickets will go on sale at www.bordersbookfestival.org.

The Children’s Programme, sponsored by Baillie Gifford, takes place throughout the day on the Saturday and Sunday (June 17 & 18), packed with exciting author events, kids craft activities, storytelling and interactive creative workshops – everything that curious young minds could wish for to get those imaginations buzzing.

Alistair Moffat, festival director for all of the 20 editions of the Borders Book Festival, said: “The festival is the biggest event in the Borders, not only in terms of the pleasure it brings, but also financially, bringing in £2.5m to the local economy in only four days. For those four days it is the centre of cultural life in Scotland – the only place to be.

“When I started the Borders Book Festival 20 years ago, it was a case of ‘why not!’

“Why not bring some of the biggest names from across the UK – indeed, the world – to share, debate, argue and entertain.

“That is exactly what we did, and are still doing, 20 years on. I could not be prouder of what we have achieved over the last two decades and what we continue to pull off each year.”

In addition, the winner of this year’s prestigious £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, last year won by Scotland’s own James Robertson for News of the Dead, will be announced at a special event at the book festival.

Box office opens at noon on Tuesday, April 25 with tickets available at www.bordersbookfestival.org or by calling 0131 290 2112.