WIGTOWN Book Festival’s opening weekend got off to a successful start with a series of sell-out shows featuring authors of all kinds.

These include Alexander McCall Smith (pictured) who was discussing The Joy and Light Bus Company, which is book 22 in his No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

The plot of the book revolves around JLB Matekoni’s new business venture and, according to the author, is intended to be an uplifting read.

Smith said: “I suppose the title is significant in this book, and I think we probably all feel rather in need of a bit of joy and light at the moment.”

And even though it’s book 22 in the series he fully expects the agency to enjoy a long future, saying: “I’m so used to having an annual conversation with Mma Ramotswe.

“Each year there she is, we’re back and I write a book.

“So I intend to continue with those conversations as long as I can.”

While not having been able to visit her homeland of Botswana for some time, it’s a country and society he said that he has a deep and enduring respect for.

Others at the festival included the philosopher AC Grayling, broadcaster and journalist Rory Cellan-Jones and the poet Rab Wilson.

There was also pop-up opera from Scottish Opera.

And this year marks a return to in-person events for the festival, which takes place in Scotland’s National Book Town, after going entirely digital in 2020.

Smith and other authors have also spoken out in support of a £25,000 appeal that has been launched by the organisers to secure the festival’s future.