Wigtown Book Festival Supports the Fight for Sight

12 October 16

written by:

Heather Fanning

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Authors and Scottish public support the need for eye research

The Wigtown Book Festival had another successful year, when it comes to helping the fight against sight loss, as it raised vital funds to help the UK’s main eye research charity Fight for Sight.

The charity was chosen as the festival’s charity partner for the fifth consecutive year and over £900 was raised to support pioneering eye research. The Scottish multiple award-winning book festival took place from 23 September – 2 October in Wigtown for the 18th year.

The festival had more than 200 events set in the stunning surroundings of Dumfries and Galloway countryside. Authors and broadcasters from across the country came to support the event, sponsored by the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society.

Adam Rutherford, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science, talked about his illuminating portrait of who we are, how we came to be and demystified the fast-growing field of genetics.

Adam gained a PhD in genetics at UCL’s Institute of Child Health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the project looked at a specific gene (CHX10) on eye development, with focus on the effect mutations in this gene. This was funded by the charity, so he understands the importance of raising funds for medical eye research.

Adam said: “My PhD was funded by Fight for Sight! I literally owe them everything. I talk about my eye research in my latest book. Supporting medical research is so important and there has been incredible work in genetics – so please help Fight for Sight get a step closer.”

Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes said: “I couldn’t think of a better charity for Wigtown book festival to support than Fight for Sight. Imagine not being able to read a book again due to a visual impairment? Reading offers the hope of entering not one new world but dozens of new worlds created by authors. Without readers we’d have no books and we’d all be impoverished.”

Poet, writer and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina talked about ‘For the Love of Libraries’ and the future of public libraries said: “Fight For Sight- makes impossible worlds possible for thousands of people- reading is a life line which we can often take for granted.”

There was a festival dinner (on Monday 26 Sept) with award-winning young adult author Juno Dawson, formerly James Dawson, who talked about her work and transitioning to a woman in the public eye. Food was provided by Hardeep Singh Kohli and guests challenged their senses, as they took part in the charity’s Feast your Eyes activity and dined in the dark.

Hardeep also took part in a surprise storytelling session at 6pm on Sunday 25 September with proceeds going to Fight for Sight.

Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight for Sight said: "Thanks to Wigtown Book Festival for the opportunity to raise the vital awareness of the importance of sight, Fight for Sight and our pioneering eye research. As ever we’re grateful to the organisers I enjoyed attending the book festival and meeting all the authors, a huge thanks in particular to Adam Rutherford, Anne Sebba and Greta Bellamacina, Juno Dawson and Hardeep Singh Kohli for supporting the fight for sight.”