Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Flying Start

I'm just back from Scotland's newest book festival at Lennoxlove  House, the home of the Duke of Hamilton near Haddington in East Lothian. Lennoxlove is the brainchild of Alistair Moffat and the team behind the successful Borders Book Festival and it got off to a brilliant start with sell-out crowds in the main marquee for writers as diverse as Rory Bremner, Martine McCutcheon, naturalist Simon King, Michael Morpurgo, Alexander McCall Smith and Kate Adie.
The house dates back to the 14th century and provides a magnificent backdrop for the festival throughout the day and night. Every room is packed with beautiful artworks and artefacts from the family's long, colourful and sometimes bloody history.
I was fortunate enough to catch Simon King's event and the affable Autumnwatch presenter provided a fascinating hour of anecdotes about his travels as a wildlife cameraman across the globe and encounters with the animals he so clearly loves, from otters to orcas. The story about his most dangerous filming experience - in Bristol City Centre - was hilarious.
The festival was held over two days but I don't think there's any doubt it will be back bigger and even better next year and I predict it will become one of the must-attend events on Scotland's literary calendar.

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