Lucy Jackson looks at what is to come at the sixth annual International Festival of Literature and Thought hosted by Beyond Borders.

Moving into it’s sixth year, the International Festival of Literature and Thought organised by Beyond Borders Scotland promises to be another celebration of political, artistic and literary excellence. Spanning over the 22nd and 23rd of August at the beautiful Traquair house, Beyond Borders has organised a diverse itinerary of guests, presentations and talks that is certain to give every attendant a personal and inspiring experience. Alex Salmond - Yes Scotland - Demeure du by Abode of Chaos, on Flickr Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License     by  Abode of Chaos 


Throughout the weekend, the future of Scotland and the world beyond will be the focus of the events and discussions. All eyes shall be on Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond who will give talks regarding the impacts of the recent Referendum and General Election, whilst Lord Jack McConnell shall make an appearance with a talk titled ‘What Jack did Next: Life after Politics’.

In memory of the tragic Srebrenica massacre two decades ago, Ruth Davidson will host interviews with foreign correspondents Janine di Giovanni and Allan Little regarding their work reporting in international conflict zones. Those who attend this event are also encouraged to view one of the all day screenings of the documentary film Srebrenica Survivors that documents the stories of those who survived the genocide.

Speakers from all over the world will be attending this year’s festival to discuss a variety of issues and topics. Such talks include Magnus Linklater’s regarding the Islamic State, the UN diplomat Staffan de Mistura’s presentation on the pursuit of peace within Syria, and Shashi Tharoor’s talk on the future of India.

Literary enthusiasts will definitely be pleased by the impressive range of talks that are being hosted this year. The remarkably talented poet Blake Morrison will give a talk, as will novelists Rachel Cusk and Raja Shehadeh. Historians and avid readers alike will be pleased to know that William Dalrymple will give a talk on “Mughals in Kilts”, as will Andrew Duff on a Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom.


In addition to the main events, and far from the main stage, attendants can witness Start Kelly and Murray Pittock discuss the Jacobite Uprising, as well as go on a historical walk. Those who wish to explore the grounds further will be glad to know that food writer Fiona Bird will lead a foraging session, delighting both nature and food lovers. Comedy, theatre and music will be available over both days, with talents including Steve Richards, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Guy Masterson and Gerald Gifford performing.

This year’s festival is certain to be a shining example of international and local excellence, and has something for everyone. For those who are able to and fortunate enough to attend this event, it will certainly be a remarkable and unique experience, featuring inspirational figures from across the globe.



The full Beyond Borders Scotland Summer Events Programme and Box Office is available online at

Tickets: Weekend Pass £45/Day Pass £24/Individual Events £9/Walks and Cycle Rides £6. For more information, email or call 0131 557 7775.