THE Borders Book Festival returns to the region this week with a packed schedule of talks and events.

From Thursday, June 13 to Sunday, June 16, Harmony Garden in Melrose will be buzzing with excitement as a host of names from the worlds of literature and broadcast descend on the venue for the four-day festival.

It will begin with the highly anticipated announcement of the winner of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The six international authors shortlisted for the £25,000 prize are: Tom Crewe, Kevin Jared Hosein, Joseph O’Connor, Tan Twan Eng, Kai Thomas, and Rose Tremain.

Some of the big names heading to Melrose this week include David Nicholls, author of One Day, Great British Sewing Bee presenter Patrick Grant, ex-Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson, and WWII historian James Holland.

There will also be time for some laughs at the festival as comedians Janey Godley and Jo Caulfield discuss their memoirs with humour and depth. Rory Bremner and Fred MacAulay will also take to the festival stage.

With the general election in mind, visitors can enjoy insightful talks from broadcaster Robert Peston, BBC stalwarts Clive Myrie and Rory Cellan-Jones, and presenter Louise Minchin.

Telling contrasting tales, Kate Humble, the “queen of cosy” will share her approach to the good life, while explorer and filmmaker Benedict Allen tells stories from his 40 years’ of adventures around the globe.

And as the Olympics make their way back to Paris this summer, the festival, as part of an Adam & Company Event, look back on the unique life of Eric Liddell – the Olympic gold medallist whose 1924 win was immortalised in Chariots of Fire.

To mark 100 years since his Olympic win, Liddell’s biographer Sally Magnusson, fellow Scottish athlete Allan Wells, Olympic medallist Eilidh Doyle, and Sue Caton, Liddell’s niece, will discuss his impact on Scottish athletics and his work as a missionary and teacher in China.

 (Image: Jen Owens)

Alistair Moffat, the festival’s director, said: “The Harmony Garden stage is set for another glorious celebration in our beautiful Borders home, and we could not be more excited to welcome old and new visitors alike to share in the joy.

“This year’s book festival sees familiar, much-loved faces returning to our marquees to spark laughter, debate and applause, as they do every year, but our programme also brings together new voices from across the cultural spectrum, creating a truly unique opportunity for exchanges of ideas and the sharing of connections.

“Harmony Garden is where the party is at this weekend, and we don’t want anybody to miss out.

“There are the myriad events to explore, but there is also the Food & Drink Village in which to indulge those summer cravings, and the electric atmosphere is added to by live music, unrivalled beauty in our surroundings, and the reunions of friends from far and wide in high summer.

“You have to be at Harmony Garden to experience the Borders Book Festival in all its glory. You can’t stream this on catch-up. So make sure you’re there with us to share in the magic.”

Alongside other exciting events, the family festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

The family festival will see plenty of activities available for youngsters and their families including talks by former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo OBE; Galashiels-born Alan Windram, author of One Button Benny; Josh Silver, who wrote Dead Happy; and debut author Fiona Carswell and her book The Boy Who Loves to Lick the Wind.

As well as literary delights, visitors to the festival can also enjoy some tasty treats in the Harmony Orchard tented food and drink village.

Alan Bett, head of literature and publishing at Creative Scotland said: “Borders Book Festival provides an important and diverse literary offering to the region and beyond.

“Covering everything from cookery to crime, politics to picture books, the programme caters to a broad range of literary interests and fosters a lifelong connection with books for everyone.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see a strong focus on young readers through the family festival, which lays essential groundwork for engaging children and young people in a future filled with reading and imagination.”

The Borders Book Festival is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and environmental impact by implementing a number of net zero goals including: zero waste to landfill; e-ticketing and a donation to planting trees for every ticket purchased.

Tickets available at or by calling 0131 290 2112 and from the Book Festival box office on the day subject to availability.