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Wigtown: National Book Town: Background information when reading Quiet Neighbors

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Quiet Neighbors

by Catriona McPherson

Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson X
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2016, 360 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2018, 360 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Mollie Smith Waters
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About this Book

Wigtown: National Book Town

This article relates to Quiet Neighbors

Print Review

WigtownLocated in southwest Scotland in the Dumfries and Galloway district, Wigtown, the setting of Catriona McPherson's novel Quiet Neighbors, became Scotland's National Book Town in 1998. The Wigtown website touts it as: "A book lovers' haven…with over a quarter of a million books to choose from, old and new."

This claim to fame was very much planned. Wigtown's two main employers – a creamery and distillery – were closed in the earlier part of the 1990s, causing a depression. The hope was that the national search to decide Scotland's Book Town would land on Wigtown and help reinvigorate it. It did (land on it) and it did (reinvigorate it.) The BookstoreThe town website lists many operating bookstores (with most selling new and used books), publishers, and dealers. Several of the bookstores sell specialty used books, such as Byre Books which specializes in world mythology and folklore, Scottish and Gaelic books, archaeology, theatre, film and television. Also listed is The Bookshop, which is Scotland's largest second-hand bookstore.

One of the biggest attractions of Wigtown is its book festival. The festival is held in the fall and has over 200 events for people of all ages, including author events and readings, as well as writing competitions, fireworks, talent shows and workshops, including ones for puppetry. There is also a smaller festival, called the Spring Fling, which is held, not surprisingly, in the spring! Events are held throughout the year in Wigtown, as well, with the most up-to-date information available on the town's website.

Local Nature ReserveOf course there are other attractions in Wigtown, including restaurants and museums, churches and mountain bike trails. The world's largest private archive of British newspapers is held in Wigtown, and Wigtown Bay boasts the largest Local Nature Reserve in Britain, and is home to many kinds of animals, especially birds.

Wigtown and the Galloway Hills
The Bookshop
Local Nature Reserve, courtesy of Scottish National Heritage

This "beyond the book article" relates to Quiet Neighbors. It originally ran in June 2016 and has been updated for the April 2018 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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