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On a nippy November night last year I found myself at Lennoxlove, the family seat of the Duke of Hamilton, listening to a riveting address by the Rt Hon Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, on his experience at the brink of the banking crisis of 2008. My first taste of the Book Festival, but I was keen for more.
This week saw the launch of the programme for the 4th Lennoxlove Book Festival and the return of Alistair Darling to talk about 'How HBOS Wrecked the Best Bank in Britain'. I'll be there. And so will many more including Richard Wilson, Alexander McCall Smith, John Sessions ... and JK Rowling. This year, Springfords is lining up with other sponsors to support the programme at Lennoxlove on the weekend of 2-4 November. It's going to be a great atmosphere at a stunning location. Don't miss it.
At the programme launch, I joined Lord Selkirk of Douglas on the stroll from the Car Park to the Great Hall and between times learned that he had just returned from Winnipeg as guest of honour at a series of Selkirk Bicentennial Events - the 200th anniversary of the 1812 arrival from Scotland of the Selkirk Settlers, a pivotal event in the history of Manitoba and Canada.
The Red River Settlement in Manitoba was the dream of the fifth Earl of Selkirk, who toured areas of the Highlands following the clearances of tenant farmers. Moved by their suffering, the young earl proposed new homes for the destitute in Canada. He organized settlements in Ontario and Prince Edward Island but it is the Red River colony he's best known for. James (the 11th Earl of Selkirk before renouncing his title to take his seat in the House of Commons) had the opportunity to meet descendants of the original settlers during his visit earlier this month before heading back for the programme launch at Lennoxlove.
Check out the programme at www.lennoxlovebookfestival.com. Tickets will be selling fast.