Literary stars to shine in Borders

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There’s a rare treat in store for fans of the Borders Book Festival next month, when Sheila Hancock and Michael Palin make a beeline for Kelso to discuss their new books.

The annual book festival takes place in Melrose each June, but this event will be a special out-of-season occasion.

Borders Book Festival co-director, Paula Ogilvie, said: “Both authors were instrumental in putting us on the map when the festival was in its infancy, back in 2005, so an opportunity to bring them back this autumn for a special on-the-road double bill was too good to pass up”.

The events will take place on Tuesday, October 21 in Kelso’s Tait Hall.

First on the bill at 6.15pm is Sheila Hancock. Both a superb actress and award-winning author, Sheila gave a spell-binding interview when she came to the Borders Book Festival in 2005 to talk about The Two of Us, her moving memoir of life with John Thaw. Her debut novel is even better.

Miss Carter’s War chronicles the life of Marguerite, a half-French, half-English war orphan who makes her life in post-war Britain.

Sheila has created a sweeping narrative – from the austerity of the 1940s through the Aldermaston marches and the Swinging Sixties to the wars in Iraq.

This is one of only two events lined up for Sheila in Scotland.

Sheila is followed at 8pm by television globetrotter and Monty Python star, Michael Palin.

For no other reason than he loves the Borders, Michael has added Kelso to the end of the national tour of his first ever one -man show based on his book, Travelling to Work, Diaries 1988 to 1998. In conversation with Alistair Moffat, Michael will talk about his unexpected career in television travel programmes, beginning with the hugely successful Around the World in 80 Days, and all he did in between.

Fresh from success at the O2 Arena with Monty Python, Palin plays the Tait Hall!

Both authors will be signing copies of their books after their events.

Tickets for each event are £14 or £23 if you buy a ticket for both events at the same time. The box office is now open at or call 0333 666 3366 (Monday-Friday 9am–7pm, Saturday 9am–5pm).