THE Borders Book Festival programme has been announced and tickets are now on sale.

The annual extravaganza gets ready to celebrate its 20th edition this year, with well-known faces (and voices) from the worlds of television, current affairs, politics, literature sport, history and children’s writing all set to join the party.

Border Telegraph: Council leader Euan Jardine and Festival Director Alistair MoffatCouncil leader Euan Jardine and Festival Director Alistair Moffat (Image: Johnston Montgomery)

The book festival runs from June 15-18, against the stunning backdrop of Melrose’s Harmony Garden.

Highlights of the packed four days of events include Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, ex-Labour leader and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and leading political analyst Prof. John Curtice; actor and impressionist Jon Culshaw; comedian and ventriloquist Nina Conti (and Monkey); prize-winning novelists Douglas Stuart, Robert Harris and Sebastian Barry; beloved sports commentators Archie Macpherson and Andrew Cotter; Scottish football legend, now pundit, Pat Nevin; tennis champion and coach turned novelist Judy Murray; civil rights campaigner and distinguished lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC; peeress and socialite Lady Anne Glenconner; Britain’s greatest archaeologist Sir Barry Cunliffe; and dance sensation Dame Arlene Phillips.

Border Telegraph: Andy Burnham and Gordon Brown Andy Burnham and Gordon Brown (Image: Borders Book Festival)

Joining the line-up, too, will be stars of the TV hit show The Great British Bake Off Peter Sawkins, Giuseppe Dell’Anno and Rahul Mandal; long-time festival favourites Sally Magnusson and Jim Naughtie; award-winning Kenyan-Scottish storyteller Mara Menzies; multi-million-selling novelist Jenny Colgan; and crime-writing royalty Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Mark Billingham and Doug Johnstone.

Veteran Borders Book Festival guest Rory Bremner will do a very special event with fellow comedian Shaparak Khorsandi about their shared diagnosis of ADHD.

Principal sponsor Baillie Gifford will be sponsoring a number of events, including with maritime archaeologist Mensun Bound about the discovery of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance.

Border Telegraph: Judy Murray, Lady Anne Glenconner, Chris Bookmyre and Val McDermidJudy Murray, Lady Anne Glenconner, Chris Bookmyre and Val McDermid (Image: Borders Book Festival)

And as national media partner, the Financial Times (FT) will host some events, including former Celtic and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill on his football career spanning five decades and the FT’s chief economics commentator Martin Wolf explaining the crisis of democratic capitalism and how to fix it.

The McInroy & Wood Lecture is this year with Kate Bingham, who has written a compelling account of her role as chair of the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine taskforce and the race to get Britain vaccinated and out of lockdown.

The book festival will mark the tercentenary of the birth of Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith.

Festival director Alistair Moffat said: “We could not be more excited about our programme this year, which brings some of the best-known and most respected thinkers, writers, leaders, commentators and personalities from around the UK – and beyond – to our beautiful Harmony Garden at the height of the Scottish summer.

“This year’s book festival feels even more special because we have the absolute pleasure of celebrating our 20th edition, a milestone that I could not, in my wildest dreams, have imagined reaching when I started the festival back in 2004.

“The endurance of the Borders Book Festival is testament to the phenomenal array of devoted writing talent on offer in Scotland and beyond; to the dedicated book festival team who work tirelessly year-round to ensure the festival’s success; to the many sponsors and funders who make the festival possible; and, not least, to the hordes of loyal, audiences who continue to push us to bring even bigger and better events to them every year. Thank you to you all, from the bottom of my heart. Now, make sure you come and join the party in June!”

Border Telegraph: Peter Sawkins and Andrew CotterPeter Sawkins and Andrew Cotter (Image: Borders Book Festival)

The Children’s programme takes place throughout the day on the Saturday and Sunday (June 17-18), packed with exciting author events, including award-winning author and illustrator Lauren Child; firm-favourite Vivian French; Martin Brown celebrating 30 years of Horrible Histories; and the wildly entertaining Kjartan Poskitt. In addition, there will be free kids’ craft activities, storytelling and interactive creative workshops.

The winner of this year’s prestigious £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction is to be announced at a special event.

Tickets now available at or by calling 0131 290 2112.