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Boswell Book Festival

The world's only festival of biography and memoir.
  • Heritage and Conservation

"The festival is a massive success and I hope it continues to flourish. There are not many other events in the area for us to enjoy so this is something to look forward to. Wonderful location and great range of speakers who educate, challenge and entertain."

- Festival attendee

We’re pleased to support the annual Boswell Book Festival, which takes place at Dumfries House and is an important cultural event in Ayrshire. The festival has a rich and diverse programme which appeals to people of all ages. In 2023, more than 6,000 tickets were sold – with 22% going to first time book festival attendees.

Amongst the most popular speakers at the 2023 festival were Michael Morpurgo, Giles and Mary (of Gogglebox fame), hairstylist Sam McKnight and singer and actress Barbara Dickson. Philip Short spoke on his new biography of Putin, whilst Palestianian writer Raja Shehadeh spoke with author James Ferguson about the weaponisation of water. Paterson Joseph, an actor, spoke about his book on Charles Ignatius Sancho, the first Black person to vote in Britain.

For children, Festival held a Schools Day which engaged 23 local schools free of charge. Children’s authors also spoke at the event, and the Outdoor Classroom provided some wonderful interactive workshops including kitemaking.