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Book Week Scotland 2017 programme is launched

Published: 04 Oct 2017

The programme for Scotland’s sixth national celebration of books and reading was launched today, Wednesday 4 October, with a photocall of iconic fictional characters at Maison Bleue at Home restaurant in Edinburgh. Characters from Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and The Handmaid’s Tale were served the menu of events from a silver platter by Scottish Book Trust CEO, Marc Lambert.

  • Hundreds of free events will take place across the country
  • Top names such as Liz Lochhead, Judy Murray, Christopher Brookmyre, Val McDermid and Bernard MacLaverty will be taking part
  • Auction items including a first edition Harry Potter book, signed by JK Rowling
  • A digital festival packed with free, exclusive online events
  • A free e-book packed with stories that celebrate this year’s theme of Nourish
  • Almost half a million books will be gifted to pupils in Primary 1-3

Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust – the national charity changing lives through reading and writing – will deliver a huge range of events and activities across the country during Book Week Scotland 2017, which runs from 27 November to 3 December, all linked to this year’s theme of Nourish.

Nourish is spread across four key strands:

  • Justice and Sustainability – equality of access to food and equality of access to culture, how our food and culture is produced.
  • Breaking Bread – sharing culture, identities and traditions, international, travel, communities, faith and food, making connections using food and stories.
  • Nourishing Ourselves – health and wellbeing, how we nourish our whole beings, books as sources of mental, spiritual and emotional nourishment, different types of reading for different appetites.
  • Feast – celebration, abundance, something for everyone to try.

Central to the week is the events programme which includes hundreds of diverse opportunities for all ages and interests, linking to different strands of the Nourish theme. Author events include some of the UK’s best-known writers and illustrators visiting libraries in every local authority in a programme funded by Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). Among those holding events or appearing during Book Week Scotland are Val McDermid, Bernard MacLaverty, Christopher Brookmyre, Stuart MacBride, Gail Honeyman, Joanna Cannon, Natasha Pulley, Catherine Simpson, Rachel Lucas, Denise Mina, Doug Johnstone and John Lister-Kaye.

Scottish Book Trust is delivering some innovative work to make reading more accessible and help ensure everyone in Scotland has an opportunity to enjoy reading- Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop

Well-known personalities appearing include Judy Murray and BBC travel presenter Paul Murton, and food maestros Mary Contini and Sue Lawrence, a former Masterchef winner.

Liz Lochhead is offering an incredible opportunity to beginners and experienced writers, with a unique workshop that will be packed with great advice and the chance to receive feedback. Edinburgh libraries are hosting Matthew Fitt reading extracts from his new translation into Scots of JK Rowling’s novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

A rare first edition of the second book in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, signed by JK Rowling, is among exclusive items which will be auctioned during Book Week Scotland, to raise funds for Scottish Book Trust’s programmes. Also part of the online charity auction is the chance to win a portrait from one of the UK’s top illustrators, Chris Riddell.

During Book Week Scotland, schools, companies and communities across the country will be encouraged to hold a book sale or book swish, in aid of Scottish Book Trust. A free fundraising toolkit with top tips on holding a book sale is available here.

This year Book Week Scotland will have a bigger profile online, with a digital festival running through the week, packed with interviews and free, exclusive online events, including Crimewriters Cluedo, an ‘unboxing’ game with top book vloggers, and a Twitter Q&A with a special guest.

An exclusive, free e-book will be available to download during Book Week Scotland, filled with our favourite stories on the theme of Nourish, from the public participation event held earlier this year.

School pupils across Scotland will have the chance to join in the book excitement. The three picture books shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize will be gifted to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag. The Bookbug Picture Book Prize is sponsored by Browns Books for Students, voting is open to all children in Scotland and closes on 8 December, with the winner announced on 15 January.

Free bags of books, writing materials and counting games will also be gifted to all Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils. These bags, produced in partnership with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government as part of ‘Read, Write, Count’, provide fun materials for parents and children to use in support of learning at home. 64,750 Bookbug P1 Family bags containing a total of 194,250 books will be gifted. For Read, Write, Count, 66,000 bags for Primary 2 pupils and 66,000 bags for Primary 3 pupils, each containing 2 books plus fun numeracy and writing resources, have been produced for gifting during Book Week Scotland.

Children can also tune in to watch award-winning novelist for children and young people, Phil Earle in a special Authors Live webcast on Tuesday 28 November at 11am.

Spoken Word artist Deanna Rodger will be touring schools across the country in a Book Week Scotland Roadshow, holding events around cultural identity, tying in with the Nourish theme by looking at the ingredients that make us who we are.

We will also be encouraging the public to take part in the National Reading Lunch on 30 November, taking an hour out for a book at lunchtime, wherever you are.

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £24,000 from SLIC, Book Week Scotland 2017 will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust from 27 November–3 December.

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2017 and how you can get involved, visit bookweekscotland.com where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “This year’s packed programme of events brings our best line-up yet to every corner of the country. With a tasty selection of must-see talks, workshops and opportunities to take part online, Book Week Scotland offers something for everyone. This year’s theme, Nourish, perfectly encapsulates the wide range of connections and experiences that books and reading have, across all communities, cultures and ages.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scottish Book Trust is delivering some innovative work to make reading more accessible and help ensure everyone in Scotland has an opportunity to enjoy reading. As this year’s edition shows, Book Week Scotland continues to go from strength to strength, engaging with a varied public – from world-renowned authors and publishers to schools, communities and individuals – and encouraging a nation-wide love of books and reading.

“There are few pleasures greater than getting lost in the magic of books and, especially during 2017 Book Week Scotland, I encourage everyone in Scotland to commit to picking up a book.”

Sasha de Buyl of Creative Scotland said: “Book Week Scotland provides a crucial space for partnership working in reader development, building connections between literature organisations, libraries, arts organisations and community groups. This year’s programme will bring authors out into communities from Dumfries to Shetland, reaching a huge range of booklovers across Scotland and encouraging them to nourish themselves through reading.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of SLIC said: “With plans in place for the next Book Week Scotland, now is an excellent time for people to visit their local library and find out what it has to offer.  There will be over 100 author events in libraries during Book Week Scotland, offering something for all ages and tastes.  While there, visitors can also access a whole range of digital, social and cultural experiences offered by public libraries.  

“With 40 million visits each year, Scotland’s public libraries are the most popular resource offered by local government, outstripping attendance at league football matches and cinemas.  They are a vital part of every community, providing access to ideas, information and knowledge – helping to nourish people, our communities and our society as a whole.”

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure though programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information services.  It leads the implementation of Ambition and Opportunity: A strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015–2020, develops innovative projects like Film Education in Libraries and provides support for libraries in the form of advocacy, consultation and research. It administers Scottish Government funding for public libraries (Public Library Improvement Fund) and funding for the wider library and information sector (Innovation and Development Fund).  It supports public libraries to participate in Book Week Scotland by providing Scottish Book Trust with event funding for every public library service and Further Education College Libraries.

The Read, Write, Count bags for Primary 2 and 3 pupils are produced by Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Education Scotland and Scottish Government. The Bookbug P1 Bag also includes Read, Write, Count content. Read, Write, Count is a literacy and numeracy campaign aimed at parents of children in primary 1, 2 and 3 and includes bag gifting, social marketing and an outreach programme.

Book Week Scotland 2017 runs from 27 November to 3 December.