Our website uses cookies. See our cookies page for information about them and how you can remove or block them. Click here to opt in to our cookies

A quick chat with Big Wig - the blue furry mascot of Wigtown Children's Festival

For your delectation, Creative Scotland has secured an exclusive interview with the newest member of Scotland's literati.

Big Wig is, of course, a large, blue furry creature that lives in a secret reading den in the woods outside Wigtown. He also happens to be the mascot of Wigtown Book Festival's newly reimagined dedicated children's strand.

With the festival celebrating its 20th year, we got the inside scoop on the event from the man himself, and found out more about his advocacy work for children's literature.

Big Wig, tell us about your role at Wigtown Book Festival...

I’ve been living in my secret book den in the woods near Wigtown ever since it was named as Scotland’s Book Town in 1998. I love children’s books and it seemed like the perfect place for me.

My friends in Wigtown told me that this year they wanted to have more for children at the festival, and asked me to help. Then they told me they wanted to name the whole of the children’s programme Big Wig after me and invited me to be the mascot.

Investing in children’s literature is a way of unlocking imaginations and ideas. It is a way to make them curious and it encourages them to question things, and it allows them to explore and think and dream- Big Wig

I was so excited, and I’ve been helping out by going round and meeting children at all sorts of events.

Why is it important to invest in children’s literature?

If children love to read they grow up into adults who want to read. There are so many wonderful stories out there – already written, or waiting to be told.

Investing in children’s literature is a way of unlocking imaginations and ideas. It is a way to make them curious and it encourages them to question things, and it allows them to explore and think and dream.

What more can be done to get young people interested in reading and writing?

Bring them to one of hundreds of book events around the country, at festivals, in schools or in bookshops. Children’s authors are often some of the funniest people I know.

Reading doesn’t have to be a serious business. Reading for fun unlocks a lifetime of pleasure.

You’re writing your first story with Renita Boyle – how did this come about?

Renita is one of my friends and often comes to my book den for tea and biscuits and to read me stories. As you can imagine I have had lots of adventures, and she told me that now that children have seen me at the festival they wanted to know more about me and what I do.

So I’ve agreed and she’s helping me get my own tales down on paper.

What do you know (and what can you tell us) about Wigtown Book Fest’s anniversary year?

The 20th festival has been such a great event. Probably the biggest ever. Over the years it has grown and grown and now it’s known all over the world, and you get all these famous writers and others like Nicola Sturgeon, Clare Balding, Susan Calman – to name just three – coming along to take part.

That’s quite something for a small place like Wigtown with just 1,000 residents. What people love about it is that while it has big names, it has lots of local authors too. Plus there’s film, theatre and live events. And of course, there’s more and more for young people.

What are your highlights from this year’s programme?

Wow, there’s been so much. How about Barbara Mitchelhill and the No 1 Boy Detectiveseries, or Cathy Cassidy and Lost and Found. Then there was Peter Brown and The Wild Robot – I liked that because it was all about living out in the woods.

And it was really exciting to meet Ross Mackenzie to hear about The Elsewhere Emporium. And lots of my young friends liked Gareth P Jones and The Daily Joker, which has a rib tickler for every day of the year.

Will we be seeing much more of you in the future, Big Wig?

Oh yes. I’ve so enjoyed it this year and I want to meet lots of other boys and girls in the future and find out about their favourite stories.

So I’m really hoping I’ll be invited back – and perhaps will be able to write about more of my adventures.

Wigtown Book Festival began on Friday 21 September, and runs until Sunday 30 September. Wigtown Book Festival is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations for 2018-21. Find out more at wigtownbookfestival.com.

This article was published on 27 Sep 2018