Birthplace of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie to honour author

JM Barrie was born in the Angus town of Kirriemuir. Picture: Getty
JM Barrie was born in the Angus town of Kirriemuir. Picture: Getty
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The birthplace town of Peter Pan creator JM Barrie is set to instigate a new arts festival in his memory.

The Angus town of Kirriemuir will stage an all-day cultural celebration later this month to coincide with the birthday of Barrie.

Writers, artists, photographers and designers will join forces with local “artisan” food and drink producers to stage the free “Thrums Up” event. The festival has been named for the fictional town in Barrie’s first novel, A Window in Thrums, which was inspired by Kirriemuir.

The new festival, to be held in the town hall on Saturday, will be staged just weeks after Kirriemuir honoured former AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, who was born there, with a statue.

It will be staged in the wake of a resurgence of interest in Barrie’s connections to Scotland.

It was announced in February that a derelict Georgian townhouse and garden in Dumfries where Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan had been saved for the nation after a £5.3 million appeal backed by actress Joanna Lumley and comic David Walliams.

However, Kirriemuir has long regarded itself as the true “birthplace of Peter Pan” as Barrie lived there until the age of eight. The town square boasts a striking statue of his most famous creation.

The festival is also part of celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of the Saltire Society, the leading cultural charity, which organises the nation’s flagship literary awards each year.

Among those appearing at the festival will be award-winning Angus author James Robertson, a former Saltire Book of the Year winner, former BBC Scotland poet-in-residence Rachel McCrum, landscape artist Jonathan Mitchell and stained-glass artist Maureen Crosby.

Mr Robertson said: “Scottish culture in all its forms is thriving not just in the cities but in communities of all shapes and sizes right across the country.

“Kirriemuir, which happens to be just a few miles from my home, is one such place, and I don’t doubt that the day will be full of surprises and delights.”

Andrew Lendrum, of the Kirriemuir branch of the Saltire Society, added: “We’re very excited to be celebrating the wealth of cultural and culinary delights that modern-day Kirriemuir has to offer.”