Scots Outlander star to join comic Frank Skinner as Boswell Book festival welcomes back crowds


A Scots Outlander star and top UK comedian are set to help a world-famous Ayrshire book festival bounce back from Covid.

Graham McTavish, who stars in the hit series Outlander and Netflix fantasy series The Witcher, will join funny-man Frank Skinner as Boswell Book Festival brings back the crowds again.

Eager fans will be able to return to tents in the stunning grounds of Cumnock’s Dumfries House as the red carpet is rolled out for a star studded line-up.

The world’s only book festival dedicated to biography and memoir will have audiences for the first time in three years after spending 2021 streaming to a virtual crowd.

The festival, named in honor of the great biographer James Boswell, reached a worldwide audience last year over six days.

And despite missing the usual buzz, the online videos were viewed across the globe – with bosses promising to stream the entire festival again.



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Frank Skinner
Frank Skinner

Caroline Knox, director of the Boswell Book Festival, said: “It’s truly exciting to be back after three years in front of audiences at Dumfries House as well as now being able to offer many events online.

“As always, we present a stimulating, some might say quirky, range of life stories which will reveal fascinating personalities, with new takes on the challenges and joys of both the everyday and the world stage.

“With the needs of younger readers in mind, we are also staging a live and online festival for schools and children full of amazing stories and with all ages catered for we can guarantee an immersive weekend of entertainment for everyone.”

Ex-Kilmarnock hero Pat Nevin will kick off the festival, sharing the tales of his illustrious career from Rugby Park to the heights of Chelsea, Everton and earning 28 caps for Scotland.



Pat Nevin will speak at the festival
Pat Nevin will speak at the festival

Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen will then take center stage followed by Scottish superstar singer-actress Barbara Dickson.

Comedian Frank and Denise Mina will discuss their adventures, with Skinner also talking about his renowned poetry book and podcast along with his Comedian’s Prayer Book.

And Graham will talk about his experiences through Scotland with Outlander co-star Sam Heughan for the TV documentary Men in Kilts.

The region’s roots will be discussed by composer James MacMillan and writer Andrew O’Hagan in conversation with Ayrshire’s Kirsty Wark.



Crowds will be welcomed back for the first time in three years
Crowds will be welcomed back for the first time in three years

While Alexis Fleming, who was brought up in Kilmarnock, will tell her inspiring story of the founding of the world’s first animal hospice.

A segment of the festival for schools and children will be launched on Monday, May 9.

A family friendly feel will be brought to the festival with storytelling walks along the picturesque gardens and Scots children’s authors hosting workshops.

Katalina Watt, literature officer at Creative Scotland, added: “As the world’s only festival of biography and memoir, it’s wonderful to see this year’s program take a hybrid format after the success of last year’s digital offering, allowing both local and international audiences to enjoy the events.”

The full program can be found at https://www.boswellbookfestival.co.uk/

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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