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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Record tickets sold in book event
Hundreds of visitors have descended on the book town
Ticket sales for this year's Wigtown Book Festival have reached record levels, organisers have said.

The festival office said ticket sales for the eighth annual event had gone "well beyond" the 5,000 bought in 2005.

More than 100 events have been planned for Scotland's largest book festival outside Edinburgh, which runs until 1 October.

Amongst the writers taking part are Louis de Bernieres, Magnus Magnusson, Rageh Omaar and William McIlvanney.

We have Louis de Bernieres being interviewed by the Wigtown butcher
Michael McCreath
Festival director

A number of films will also be previewed at the event.

Red Road, the prize-winning film set in Glasgow, and Ken Loach's acclaimed movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley will get a pre-release preview.

A wide range of talks and debates are scheduled, with theatre and musical performances also incorporated into the festival programme.

A folk festival as well as children's storytelling sessions are part of proceedings in what organisers hope will be the biggest event yet.

Festival director Michael McCreath said he believed Wigtown had something special to offer.

Rageh Omaar in Baghdad
Rageh Omaar will talk about being a Muslim in Britain

"Most things that happen in Galloway are quirky by nature anyway," he said.

"We have one of the leading actresses from the Cannes Film Festival - Kate Dickie - being interviewed by the local farmer and Louis de Bernieres being interviewed by the Wigtown butcher.

"We try to put on things that give a different slant and provide great entertainment."

Mr McCreath said the event had now reached a crossroads.

'Quite thriving'

"We've reached a point where the original book town project, which was set up to regenerate Wigtown, has come to the end of its term," he said.

"Wigtown is now really quite thriving. Therefore the festival has to be set up in its own right, as a festival company with charitable status.

"We've appointed a new board of trustees of people with connections to the area but who work further afield."

Board member, BBC foreign and war correspondent Allan Little, said: "I think if the festival can attract world class authors while developing the grassroots fraternity of writers and poets, that's a pretty good ambition."

Book town festival gets under way
24 Sep 06 |  South of Scotland
Festivals find financial support
31 May 06 |  South of Scotland
Big names to line up at book town
22 Sep 05 |  Scotland

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