TICKETS for this year’s Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival are selling well with a number of shows already sold out and people are being advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

The popular annual event which normally takes place in June at Harmony House in Melrose is being held at Abbotsford House between 2 - 7 November.

A host of famous names are appearing including Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Hilary Mantel, winner of the 12th Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for her book The Mirror and the Light.

Also attending are crime writer Val McDermid, former politician Ed Balls, Labour MP Ed Miliband, rugby star Gavin Hastings, and travel writer Michael Palin.

Discussions during the festival will also include Jonathan Dimbleby on how Hitler lost the war, political journalist Robert Peston on his new thriller The Whistleblower and Pat Nevin on his autobiography The Accidental Footballer.

Festival Director Alistair Moffat told us: “I’m really looking forward to it now. It’s been such a long time. I’ll be opening the event interviewing Neil Oliver about his new book, The Story of the World in 100 Moments and I’m also really looking forward to interviewing Ed Balls about his book Appetite which is about how food conjures up of childhood, like your mum’s mince and tatties.

“But there are so many great shows on offer and ticket sales are going well. Some are already sold out so I would advise people to get online and book although it’s worth pointing out that tickets are being sold at the box office on the day.

“The Festival is taking place over six days this year rather than the normal four as we have strict Covid protocols in place which means limited spaces and a longer turn round between shows.

“It’s so good to be able to help Abbotsford, which is probably the most famous houses in the country celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walker Scott but next year hopefully we will be back at Harmony House in June.”

The Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival takes place at Abbotsford, Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, between 2nd-7th November 2021. The full programme and tickets are available at or by calling 0131 290 2112.