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Jennifer Saunders and Gordon Brown to appear at Borders summer book festival

Comedian Jennifer Saunders, former prime minister Gordon Brown and journalist Kate Adie are among the speakers in a "stellar" line-up announced for a summer book festival.

The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival today launched its programme which covers topics ranging from history and politics to cookery and fiction.

Based in Harmony Garden, Melrose it will also feature events marking the centenary of the First World War and the 200th anniversary of the publication of Walter Scott's novel Waverley.

Crime writer Lynda La Plante, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown and wildlife presenter Steve Backshall are among those speaking on June 12, the opening day of the festival.

Others appearing during the four day event include Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, broadcaster Kirsty Wark and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, who has worked on David Attenborough BBC series such as Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet.

Alistair Moffat, festival director, said: "This year's festival programme is a passport to another country: the land of imagination, creativity, ideas and fun. Inside the walls of Harmony Garden, some great writers, communicators and entertainers will appear onstage to delight the audiences for four magical days.

"Over 11 years, each Borders Book Festival has been different, memorable and unique. Our 11th will be no exception: as we look to the past and the future, it will be a festival to remember in this landmark year for Scotland."

Organisers said that the festival, from June 12-15, looks both to the past and the future, with speakers on great historical events as well as on the future of Scotland.

Mr Brown will talk about his vision of Scottishness, Britishness, and the unique nature of the Union.

Commemorating the First World War centenary, Allan Little will talk about the spark that ignited it while Katie Adie will recall the women of the home front.

The programme also features events for a younger audience with broadcaster Simon Mayo regaling older children with his stories featuring 14-year-old science fan Itchingham Lofte.

Other children's writers on the line-up include Andy Stanton, Simon Chapman, Lauren St John, Ross Collins, and Lari Don.

The festival is part of Homecoming Scotland 2014.

Caroline Packman, director of Homecoming Scotland said: "Once again the Borders Book Festival offers a stellar line-up of fantastic writers, speakers and entertainment for all the family.

"The festival continues to grow from strength to strength and the calibre of talent it brings is testament to how popular and exciting an event it has become, not only for the Borders, but indeed Scotland's event calendar.

"I'm delighted that through Homecoming Scotland, we can support the Borders Book Festival and make it an important part of Scotland's 2014 celebrations."

On Friday June 13, the winner of the fifth £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction will be announced, with at least three of the shortlisted six authors attending to hear the result and to take part in a separate panel discussion on historical fiction.

On June 15 the publication of Waverley will be marked with a dramatised adaptation written specially for the festival by Alan Caig Wilson starring Phyllida Law, John Sessions and David Robb.

Festival organisers said they welcomed the support from headline sponsor Brewin Dolphin, the ongoing sponsorship and backing of Scottish Borders Council and Creative Scotland, and the support of Homecoming Scotland 2014.

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