Borders Festival Showcase

Writers in the Borders showcased at Borders Book Festival, for the eleventh year.

Amongst the celebrities of Ed Balls, Julian Clary, Joanna Lumley and journalists Andrew Marr and Clive Myrie, to name but a few, members of Borders Writers’ Forum (BWF) participated on Thursday 16th June at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose. Nine members of the BWF read their work in the Davidson Chalmers Stewart Storytelling Tent set in the beautiful Orchard.

This very successful four-day festival, now in its 18th Year, brings hundreds of visitors to the Scottish Borders annually. Baillie Gifford, Principal Sponsor, along with many other generous companies, provides significant funding to support this event which attracts famous authors, many of whom have a link with this region, who offer readings and signed book sales.

Members of the BWF at the Borders Book Festival.
Left to right facing Front row Susan L Allen; Carol Byers; Rosalyn M Anderson; Hayley Emberey; Jessie Growden; Barbara Usher.  Back row John McCann; Peter Zentler-Munro; Andrew Paterson; Kathleen Mansfield; Tony Douglas; Robert Breustedt

Hayley Emberey, Chair of Borders Writers’ Forum paid tribute to the organisers of the Festival: “Once again – for the 11th year – our members are privileged to be able to support this amazing event and admire the professional organisation and publicity that makes it one of Scotland’s biggest events.”

BWF’s theme this year was inspired by a workshop on writing memoir. This session, held in February 2022, was led by Edinburgh-based author Anne Hamilton who reminded us that “everyone has a story to tell”. Taking her at her word, nine members of the BWF read a bite-sized extract from their own memoir, which had been written specially for this event in prose or poetry. Those members were Susan L Allen who read ‘From a Hospital Bed in 1958’; Rosalyn M. Anderson ‘Answered with Care’; Peter Zentler-Munro ‘The Rose Garden’; Carol Byers ‘Born Lucky’ and ‘Missing Scotland’; Andrew Paterson ‘Thoughts from the Bath No.27’; Hayley Emberey ‘Bullseye’; Jessie Growden ‘Compost’; John McCann ‘The Bike’; and Barbara Usher ‘Budding Ideas on Freedom’.

Anne Hamilton’s encouragement was greatly valued and her mantra proved correct. Each reader did indeed have their own story and their diverse approaches to writing, as well as each writer’s life experience, gave a taster of the talent of the Scottish Borders. Anthologies were available to buy for those whose appetite had been whetted.

The Borders Writers’ Forum meets monthly at Smith Memorial Hall, Abbotsford Road, Darnick, TD6 9AH and offers support and learning opportunities throughout the year: key speaker literary sessions, Open Mic, as well as opportunities for members to participate in ‘blind’ i.e. anonymous critiques giving and receiving feedback on each other’s prose and poetry. Participants learn new techniques, have the opportunity to build on their experience in creative writing and editing, and to take part in various events as desired.

Anyone interested in joining the BWF can find information on Facebook or on the website or send an enquiry to

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