Wigtown Book Festival hires resident hermit

Being a literary hermit is not a job widely advertised – but it has its perks. Wigtown Book Festival in south-west Scotland has hired Robert Twigger as its resident hermit for the duration of the 10-day festival next week. He will set up home in a purpose-built grotto, constructed from reclaimed timber, found on Wigtown beach, in the garden of Wigtown's largest bookshop, with a hose to the nearest standpipe in order for him to take a shower.

"As a writer, life is pretty hermitic anyway," says Twigger. "I have had loads of training sitting alone writing. Also not visiting people in order to get a book finished hardened me up quite a lot... I shall be happy to extol the virtues of solitude to all and sundry."

Shaun Bythell, owner of the bookshop, said: "We discussed how a little hardship can aid the creative process. This isn't exactly a new idea, although you have to go back a way to a time when it was common."

Twigger, who is usually based in Cairo and writes largely autobiographical adventure books, will also act as writer in residence and talk about his latest book, The Nile: A History, at the festival. He is joined by a host of top writers including Celia Imrie, Fergal Keane, Toby Young, Maggie O'Farrell, Martin Bell and Penny Smith.

Despite its remote location, this event is now the second largest book festival in Scotland, after that in Edinburgh.

23 September to 3 October ( wigtownbookfestival.com)

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