May 11 2012 Ayrshire Post (main ed)
SHE survived three concentration camps and owes her life to an unknown British soldier.
And now 90-year-old Zdenka Fantlova will travel to Ayrshire to discuss her extraordinary holocaust survival story in her book The Tin Ring.
She is one of a number of writers who will travel to Auchinleck House for the Boswell Book Festival this weekend.
Actor Timothy West will take centre stage at the event. He’ll read from his memoir about his acting career as well as playing lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson in Friday night's sold-out one-off performance of Dictionary of Crime.
“Literary festivals are always interesting,” enthuses Timothy. “I'm really looking forward to it.”
Timothy is no stranger to Ayrshire, being an enthusiast of the Waverley paddle steamer, on which he and his wife, actress Prunella Scales, have enjoyed many trips.
He's keen to discover more about another Ayrshire icon, James Boswell, the father of modern biography, former laird of Auchinleck and friend of Johnson.
He added: “He is considered, unfairly, only in his relationship to Johnson.”
That's changing with the festival named in his honour.
The three days also include talks by world-renowned authors on Falklands War, the Titanic and the Queen.
Other highlights include Tony Banks of The Secret Millionaire recounting his harrowing experience of fighting the Falklands War (Saturday, 5pm) and Sarah Bradford lifting the lid on the Royal family (Saturday, 12pm).
Delving into the nitty-gritty of Boswell, his work and life is Dr Gordon Turnbull (Sunday, 2pm) of Yale University.
Back by popular demand, Gordon's talk will be as witty and inspiring as Boswell himself.
Bozzy, as he was affectionately known, would be thrilled to know that his legacy is ever-expanding, with the addition of the Life-Writing Marquee.
The Boswell Book Festival is breaking new ground by offering a programme on the many aspects of life-writing.
World-leading biography expert Sally Cline hosts a workshop (Sunday, 11am) for those keen to get their stories down on paper.
This is an unmissable opportunity for all aspiring writers.
The marquee is sponsored by Grant's Whisky, who will be offering free whisky-tasting sessions throughout the festival.
Raise a glass to Bozzy in the festival café bar, take a tour through his ancestral home or browse the book shop.
Whatever you're doing this weekend, make sure to get to the Boswell Book Festival to be entertained, informed.
To find out about the authors and festival programme at www.boswellbookfestival.co.uk and book tickets by calling the Box Office Hotline at the Palace Theatre Kilmarnock on 01563 554900.
Alternatively, tickets can be purchased on the spot over the weekend at Auchinleck House (subject to availability).
SURVIVOR: Zdenka Fantlova.