With the book trade reeling from the once-in-a-century challenge of the pandemic and lockdown, Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown, is the venue for Stellar Words, a new annual sales fair offering hope to publishers.
In June 2021 Stellar Words will bring together small presses, established indies and large trade publishers for an event showcasing books, pamphlets, periodicals, journals, zines, ephemera and digital products. It will link publishers with booksellers, readers, writers and literature stakeholders. With no other event quite like this in Scotland, Stellar Words will champion writing of all genres in all formats and forge connections between all the main characters in a book’s story.
Stellar Words will be free to attend and open to the public. It will initially be held over one day, with the intention to grow it into a weekend-long event with a programme of activities featuring authors and publishers. Held in the County Buildings in Wigtown on June 12th, 2021, the event details will be confirmed subject to the venue’s booking restrictions under Scotland’s local authorities’ COVID-19 safety protocols.
Stellar Words was conceived by Gillian Hamnett, a freelance bookseller, proofreader and arts administrator who has worked in the literature sector for 20 years. She saw the potential for this event and successfully secured investment as part of the Spot-lit project – a multi-partner, multi-regional literary tourism programme funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme and delivered in Dumfries & Galloway by Wigtown Festival Company. You can find more information here:
“I’m thrilled to be organising this event. I wanted to run a Scottish Publishers’ Fair long before the pandemic’s arrival, but it’s now more important than ever to support Scottish Publishing and provide an inclusive platform for the buying public to experience it at a dedicated event. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in Scotland’s National Book Town, alongside local booksellers, writers and readers.”
~ Gillian Hamnett, Founder of Stellar Words
“We were very impressed by Gillian’s proposal to hold an annual publishers’ fair in Wigtown and are thrilled to be able to support the inception of Stellar Words through our work with the Spot-lit programme. It’s a fantastic proposition that has great future potential and it’s exciting to see a new event being added to Wigtown’s annual calendar, especially one that we hope will reinforce the Book Town’s relationship with the literature sector even further.”
~ Isla Rosser-Owen, Cultural Producer, Wigtown Festival Company
“The booksellers of Wigtown are hugely supportive of this exciting new event being initiated in Scotland’s National Book Town. We wish Gillian every success and hope it becomes a regular feature of Wigtown’s growing literary calendar.”
~ The Association Of Wigtown Booksellers
“Publishers work hard to reach new audiences for their authors all year round, but also on the individual building up of their publishing lists and profile. The Scottish Publishers’ Fair gives them a fantastic opportunity and context to meet readers directly and present to them the range of what their companies have to offer. A lovely opportunity in a great location will make this an unmissable event.”
~ Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive, Publishing Scotland
“We are delighted there is now a showcase event to highlight the range, variety and quality of the Scottish publishing industry. It’s something that has needed to be done for a long while.”
~ Hugh Andrew, Managing Director, Birlinn Ltd
“A Scottish Publishers’ fair is a wonderful idea. After a year when we’ve been unable to get together or to showcase the breadth and imagination of publishing in Scotland, this is definitely something to look forward to.”
~ Moira Forsyth, Publishing Director, Sandstone Press
“I’m really looking forward to this long overdue event – adversity often leads to great creativity so I’m sure great things will come from this initiative.”
~ Robbie Porteous, Pocket Mountains Ltd
“Stellar Words looks set to offer a much-needed boost for wee presses such as ourselves. Such a fair would be a welcome addition to the calendar even in the best of times but given the drop off in publishers’ usual sales opportunities over the past few months it’s now particularly important. I couldn’t be more pleased to be involved!”
~ Duncan Lockerbie, Publishing Director, Stewed Rhubarb and Tapsalteerie