And it didn’t rain

Borders Book Festival, Lochcarron Marquee

The Lochcarron Marquee at the Borders Book Festival – the venue for the Borders Writers’ Forum event, Border Voices on Scottish Borders and Beyond

As a writer it’s always good to be able to say that you have read at a book festival so Borders Writers Forum, an organisation that promotes writers and writing in the Scottish Borders, is enormously grateful to Borders Book Festival. For the third year running they have given us a slot at their June festival. Last year the focus was the winners of a competition we ran in aid of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation which raises funds for ‘extras’ (both equipment and items to help patients) for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

This year twelve members were reading brief extracts from out latest anthology of members’ work, Border Voices on Scottish Borders and Beyond, published last November. We also had a table at which members’ books could be purchased.

National Trust for Scotland's Harmony House, Melrose

Borders Book Festival is held in the grounds of Harmony House, Melrose, a building in the care of the National Trust for Scotland

Borders Book Festival, celebrating its tenth year, is a small event compared to the Edinburgh International Book Festival which takes place in August, but its size makes it an intimate event, taking place in an unrivalled setting within the gardens of Harmony House in Melrose. So along with a literary feast, those coming along can enjoy a stroll round the gardens where the rhododendrons are in bloom, with the abbey and Eildon Hills in the background.

We had a first night slot this year, with serious competition from an event with a big name author – Alexander McCall Smith, a well-known and prolific Scottish writer.

Borders Book Festival

Enjoying the evening sun at the Borders Book Festival

We anxiously kept an eye on the weather. For days beforehand rain was forecast, then it changed to cloudy and cold. Thankfully, the evening turned out sunny with a bit of a breeze, but we could live with that. And the good weather meant people lingered, stood around and chatted, sat and drank coffee or glasses of wine, visited the bookshop and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Anxiously we watched as our audience trickled into the tent, at first mainly family and friends of those reading, then faces we didn’t recognise – members of the public. Sighs of relief all round. We had a good audience.

Harmony Garden with the Eildons

The view from the entrance to the Lochcarron Marquee

The evening went well, we kept to time – we had all been allocated a strict word count and told not to waffle in our introductions or we would over-run. But all went to plan and the audience were appreciative, saying how enjoyable the variety of taster pieces had been, holding their interest.

Side by side banners

Lochcarron and Borders Writers’ Forum banners, side by side in the Lochcarron Marquee at the Borders Book Festival

Afterwards we congratulated one another, said how well each other had read, one member saying it was the first time she had used a microphone, another that she had never taken part in such an event before, another promoting her not long published book, all of us appreciating the experience.

Borders Writers' Forum event with books for sale

Some of our members’ books for sale

Now it’s over, has been a success – and it didn’t rain. Magic!


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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12 Responses to And it didn’t rain

  1. mybrightlife says:

    Would have enjoyed being there! Glad it didn’t rain on you all. Our National Arts Festival is coming up and I cannot wait – but any festival of this sort gets me buzzing. It is good to gather and share thoughts and ideas, listen, watch, grow! Keep writing Borders Writers Forum!

    • Writing can be a lonely business so it’s really good to have contact with, and encouragement from others. My husband and I inaugurated and for eight years were involved with running a ten day walking and arts festival, so I know the buzz festivals can give. Hope you post on your National Arts Festival. It’s good to see what others are doing.

      • mybrightlife says:

        The Fest always provides an amazing photographic opportunity. Will be trying for some good ones! It has become a tradition in our family since the girls were born. Sarah has missed one year since birth so this will be her 10th festival under her belt. We love every moment!

      • Look forward to seeing what you post about it.

  2. thaygoulart says:

    Looks so nice! I’d love to attend one of those events, for sure. If you don’t mind me asking, I created my blog yesterday and posted something in Portuguese & English, could you please read the Eng one and tell me what you think? Would help me move forward with the blog.

    • I think your blog is very interesting and thought provoking. Your English is quite wonderful and I would find it difficult to tell that you are Portuguese, but then in Portugal you meet so many people who speak numerous languages. Look forward to reading more of your posts. Envy you the warm weather. Here in Scotland today it is dull and not very warm.

      • thaygoulart says:

        Thank you so much! Yes, English is my second language and like any other language, it’s always a work in progress 🙂 like my blog haha. I will be posting again this week, I’m new at this so, forgive me for my absence. That sounds like you could use a little trip to see what’s down the equator line! Maybe some amazing photos too?

      • I post about once a week if I can. I don’t really think it matters how often you do it and sometimes other things in life just have to come first.

  3. chris says:

    So glad it didn’t rain on you. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all. We could use more book fests and especially writers’ fests everywhere.

    • We have quite a wide range of book festivals in Scotland – 40 comes to mind but it may be more. Plus lots of local events on writing, poetry etc. I’m attending an event on Tuesday to discuss what can be arranged here by our Creative Arts Business Network. They covered epublishing and social media in events last year. Very useful for those of us thinking of taking the plunge.

  4. Congratulations! It sounds like a great event.

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