Boswell Book Festival Highlights

Live events are now finished but why not enjoy our Festival Plus+ events.

To hear Bill Paterson's Boswell readings, watch the Portraits as Biography events or see Dr Gordon Turnbull's full talk on the life of Boswell click here.

Click below for details of all the festival speakers

Main Festival

Children's Festival

A big thank you... everyone who supported our first online festival in June or the October rerun. With viewers from around the globe, from Ayrshire and Adelaide to Yaxley and Yonkers, we were delighted to introduce the festival to a whole new audience.

Feedback from schools from across the UK who signed up for events in the wide-ranging programme provided for primary and secondary age pupils has been very positive.

Please put 13-15 May 2022 in your diary when we hope to be back at Dumfries House.

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

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

All events at the June festival were free and we were very grateful for the many donations received.

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 – award-winning 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