Page last updated at 13:16 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 14:16 UK

Politics theme for book festival

Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell will speak about his memoirs The Blair Years

The fifth annual Borders Book Festival is getting under way in Melrose.

A plethora of political figures will attend, including Douglas Hurd, Sir Menzies Campbell and Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spin doctor.

They will be joined by writer Katharine Whitehorn and Scottish authors Ian Rankin and Ali Smith.

Presenter James Naughtie and political satirist Rory Bremner will make their traditional appearances at the event, which attracted 5,000 people last year.

The Scottish Book of the Year awards will be a new addition to the festival, with the winner being announced on Friday.

'Paid a pittance'

Festival director Alistair Moffat said the authors were central to the four-day event, which ends on 22 June.

"I've been to book festivals as an author where you get treated like a bit of an inconvenience, and I was determined that we would never do that at Borders Book Festival," he said.

"So the authors get treated like royalty, like princes and princesses, despite being paid a pittance.

"The authors are the key to the festival, for example Ian Rankin and James Naughtie - neither of them have books out this year, but they both volunteered to come and co-host the fest, which is brilliant."


SEE ALSO
Political feel to book festival
10 Apr 08 |  South of Scotland

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