Lone piper launches Wigtown Book Festival's online edition

  • Published
Lone piperImage source, Colin Hattersley
Image caption,
Piper Karen-Marie Keenan will help get events started in Wigtown this year

A lone piper has replaced the usual party and fireworks at the start of this year's annual festival in Scotland's national book town.

Her music was streamed to audiences around the world as 10 days of online events began in Wigtown.

Artistic director Adrian Turpin described the piper as a "symbol of resilience".

The opening also features the premiere of a collaboration by Alexander McCall Smith and composer Tom Cunningham.

Image source, Tom Cunningham
Image caption,
A new work by Alexander McCall Smith, right, and Tom Cunningham will premiere at the festival

Their new song cycle celebrates St Ninian and other early Scottish saints.

Mr Turpin said: "This history of St Ninian is written into the landscape in Wigtownshire.

"We're thrilled to be giving the first airing to a remarkable and moving piece of music that is both intensely local and universal in its appeal."

Mr McCall Smith, who penned the words, said he had wanted to write something about the early saints for some time.

"I have always been intrigued by the stories of these people who came here when Scotland was a dark and dangerous place, and who had the idea of spreading a message of light, love, kindness and forgiveness," he said.

Image source, Colin Hattersley
Image caption,
Organisers said the piper was a "symbol of resilience" for the festival

Over the course of the next 10 days a number of speakers will take part in online events including Andrew O'Hagan, Juno Dawson, Carrie Gracie and Helena Kennedy.

Mr Turpin said it would be a different but, hopefully, enjoyable experience.

"This festival usually brings thousands of visitors to Wigtown," he said.

"Clearly we can't do that at the moment but we aim to fly the flag for Scotland's book town, its businesses and its region across the world.

"The lone piper - replacing previous years' pipe band - marks the way in which all our lives have changed in 2020.

"But above all it's a symbol of resilience - the show will go on and we aim to make it as engaging, challenging and uplifting as ever."

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