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More than 1,000 pupils from primary and secondary schools in the Dumfries and Galloway area will be taking part in the annual Stena Line Wigtown Book Festival, which launches today in Wigtown on its 10th anniversary as Scotland's National Book Town.

The schools' programme is delivered in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council's Creative Education Arts Team (CREATE), which has organised extra free transport so more schools can travel to Wigtown for the education events on September 26, 29 and 30.

"As in previous years, authors will visit schools in the area to deliver a series of talks and workshops," says Adrian Turpin, the festival's programme manager. "It's great to have more pupils coming to Wigtown itself, so they can experience the buzz and atmosphere of the festival."

Authors featured include Keith Gray, Renita Boyle, Bernard MacLaverty and Linda Strachan. Younger pupils will also get the chance to visit the Palace Picture House - a complete 1920s cinema in miniature, contained within an old-fashioned caravan.

Running alongside the main festival and the schools' events is the children's programme, taking place in its own marquee and other venues on the site. The programme includes free Rhymetimes for the under-4s, with interactive songs and stories; sessions with Michael Morpurgo and Anne Fine and a free family concert on Sunday afternoon, presented by musicians Linkum Doddie who worked with Wigtown Primary pupils on traditional playground songs and games.

Among the authors in the main festival are Janice Galloway, James Kelman, Brian Keenan, Fay Weldon and Christopher Brookmyre.

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