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2022 Boswell Book Festival, Dumfries House, Ayrshire

Click on the images on the right to enjoy the full programmes

To book an event now scroll down to Tickets

2022 Festival Programme
2022 Children's Festival Programme
2022 Schools Festival Programme

Tickets for the 2022 Boswell Book Festival

All main festival events will be live. Tickets for live events range from £10 to £15

Many will also be streamed online. Look out for the screen symbol. Online tickets are £5 per event or £30 for a Rover Pass giving access to all streamed events.

Children’s festival events are live at the weekend and cost £2.50. The online school events are free and available from 9 May to schools and families. Registration required.

Pat Nevin (16:30)


4:30 PM

Pat Nevin (16:30)

'The first post-punk footballer…' NME

Despite his 20-year career playing for Clyde, Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere Rovers, Kilmarnock and Motherwell, and winning 28 caps for Scotland, Pat Nevin, football writer and broadcaster, never wanted to be a professional footballer.

Raised in Glasgow's East End, Pat loved the game, playing for hours and obsessively following Celtic. However, he also loved Joy Division, wearing his Indie 'gloom boom' coat and going on marches - hardly typical footballer behaviour.

Placed firmly in the 80s and 90s, before the advent of the Premier League, and often with racism and violence present, Pat Nevin’s vivid descriptions of Chelsea and Everton, with colourful diversions to John Peel, Morrissey and nights at the Hacienda, bring the era to life.

A voracious vinyl collector, he still loves Indie music and the Arts, and can be caught DJing at clubs or festivals around the UK. The Accidental Footballer is a very different kind of football memoir!

In conversation with Stewart Weir

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Amanda Owen (18:00)


6:00 PM

Amanda Owen (18:00)

Shepherdess, wife, mother to nine children, bestselling author and star of Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm brings her world to life.

Amanda Owen was born in Huddersfield with no links to rural life but with a childhood passion for the great outdoors. After stumbling across a book on hill shepherding, a career dominated by men, she set her heart on becoming a shepherdess. Forty-five years on she shares funny, charming stories about life with her family on their 2000-acre hill farm with their many four-legged charges as they deal with lambing and shearing, haymaking and midwinter feeding.

In 2014 she released her first bestselling book which led to the Channel 5 ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary. Her fourth, Celebrating the Seasons with the Yorkshire Shepherdess, has also flown off the shelves!

During covid, Amanda has felt even luckier to live close to nature, finding happiness in the beauty of the Dales and the routines of the farming year. She recently appeared in BBC4’s Winter Walks.

In conversation with Pauline McLean

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Click to buy book
Click to buy book

Cancellations due to illness

Alex Gray joins the lineup

We are sad to announce the cancellation of the Barbara Dickson event due to illness.

Also, to Val McDermid’s great regret she is unable to speak at the Festival on Saturday night due to illness. However the bestselling crime writer Alex Gray has generously stepped into Val’s shoes and Val McDermid tickets will be valid for this event.

Boswell Book Festival is back at Dumfries House 13-15 May Live and Online for all ages!

Tickets are on sale now.

Shepherdess Amanda Owen, footballer Pat Nevin and comedian Frank Skinner are just some of the charismatic speakers appearing.

The action-packed Family Festival takes place the same weekend with a free online Schools’ programme in the preceding week.

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About the Boswell Book Festival

The world’s only festival of biography and memoir, normally set in the spectacular grounds of Dumfries House, draws an enthusiastic audience attracted by its unique theme.

Inspired by the great Ayrshire biographer James Boswell of Auchinleck, at the heart of the Festival is a programme of stories taken from the inspirational lives of people past and present - told through talks, drama, art and music.

Find out more and view 2021 highlights

Children's Festival

Why is it so important to children to tell our stories?

Stories connect the past and present to the future and learning these stories is what can awaken future generations to their potential.

Through the Festival, the Boswell Trust engages with primary and secondary schools across Ayrshire and beyond.

Find out more and view 2021 highlights

We were very grateful for the many donations received in support of the online events in 2021.

If you wish to support the festival going forwards, please use the donate button.


We are indebted to all who have supported the Boswell Book Festival over the past ten years in so many different ways. It is only with the help of so many loyal supporters that the Festival has achieved recognition as a cultural event of national importance.

Trust – free non-fiction magazine from Baillie Gifford

Baillie Gifford are long-term supporters of the festival and dedicated supporters of UK literary events.

Trust is full of insightful articles about innovations that are transforming the way we live and work. Through features on pioneering companies and conversations with visionary authors, readers can find out first-hand about the sources of disruption in our fast-changing world. You can also access regular literary-related giveaways and exclusive author interviews.

Read Trust online