Deputy News Editor
Everything you need to know about the activities of this year’s Book Week Scotland
Rebel, Rebel, Pick up yer book
For avid book worms and writers alike, this year’s Book Week Scotland runs from 19 November to 25 November with an array of different events over the course of the coming week. Initiated by the Scottish government and supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £26,000 from the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), Book Week encourages the public to read, organise book related activities and engage with literature of all genres and categories. The national charity Scottish Book Trust will be working with a range of partners to organise activities across the country during the week, all focusing on this year’s theme “Rebel”. Their digital campaign already has writers and avid readers sharing what the word “rebel” means to them, a “rebel” writing campaign and a vote on the most “rebellious” book of the 21st century.
Hundreds of events will take place across local authorities across the entire country, and bestselling Young Adult writer and activist Juno Dawson will be one of the authors taking part this year, as well as crime writer Ann Cleeves and the outdoors expert and broadcaster Cameron McNeish.
Throughout book week, libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces will come together to celebrate reading. Scottish authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators will take part in the programme, allowing readers of all ages to meet and engage with talented literary artists. From writing events, panels and poetry slams, the week is full of events for readers and literary enthusiasts. Along with the scheduled programme, digital events will be taking place across social media, as well as access to free copies of the Rebel book, a collection of stories centred round the Rebel theme.
The Rebel book contains 40 stories, all centred round this year’s theme “rebel”, with submissions from writers across Scotland. Bestselling author Sara Sheridan, playwright and performer Jo Clifford, Book Week Scotland ambassador and forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black and Gaelic writer David Eyre are just a few of this year’s contributors. 100,000 copies of the book have been printed, and are available for free on the Scottish Book Trust’s website. A free copy of the e-book Rebel is also available, as is an audiobook recording.
Making its debut at this year’s Book Week, Pitch-it is a chance for libraries and community groups to submit their own proposals for an event. Scottish Book Trust welcome submissions for any interesting and creative events that relate to the Rebel theme. Today is the last day to submit applications – these can be made here.
College Tour and Young Programmers
Clare Askew, an educator and a tutor for women’s writing initiatives such as Write Like A Grrl! and #GrrrlCon, will tour colleges on the East Coast of Scotland to discuss her new book titled All the Hidden Truths. These events will be chaired by a member of the student body.
Clare will also head other events over the course of the week: On 22 November she is to read her new novel at the Moffat Youth Theatre in Dumfries and Gallowing, and on 24 November she will join the launch of the Uncovered Voices Anthology, a collection of poetry, prose, non-fiction of visual art. The contributors are all survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, and the event will be held at The Forest Café in Edinburgh. Eloise Birtwhistle, a young programmer for Book Week Scotland has organised this event, and is one of four young programmers that were given funding of £500 to organise events for their respective peer groups.
This year’s digital festival is packed with free, exclusive online events, including a Live-streamed Poetry Slam with Tom Pow, Nadine Jassat and Jennifer Williams. Twitter Q&A sessions with authors, Live chats with writers and Nicola Sturgeon and a quest for underrated books that need more appreciation are just a few of the digital events this year. The hashtag for the event is #BookWeekScotland, meaning you can share your experiences and follow along with the digital programme.
The vote to find the most rebellious read of the 21st century is currently up and running, with members of the public invited to enter non-fiction suggestions through the Scottish Book Trust website and social media. The entries were then shortlisted by a prestigious panel including: Head of General Collections of the National Library of Scotland, Greame Hawley; Mairi Oliver, owner and bookseller of Lighthouse Books; and Literature Office of Creative Scotland, Erin McElhinney. You can now vote for your favourite ‘rebellious’ read from the shortlist available, which you can access through the Scottish Book Trust’s website here.
Activities for Schools
School pupils across Scotland will also have the opportunity to join Book Week Scotland. Almost half a million books will be gifted to pupils in Primary 1-3, encouraging young children to discover reading.
Several schools will be involved in challenging gender stereotypes present in reading materials. Six schools will be involved in intergenerational rebellious reading groups, which include: researching gender stereotypes in fairytales with grandparents, zine making workshops influenced by feminist and LGBT issues and developing reading cultures within the home and working with women from the wider school community to research figures in history who have broken gender boundaries.
Authors Live with Joseph Coelho, the poet an author, will be broadcasted across Scotland. He will share his new picture book titled If All The World Were, and give tips on writing poetry. Classes will be able to register for this on the Scottish Book Trust website, and questions for Coelho can be submitted through Twitter.
Primary one pupils will receive three picture books shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize, a prize sponsored by Browns Books for Students whose votes come from schoolchildren all over Scotland. Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils will receive free bags of books, writing materials and counting games, which were produced in partnership with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government as part of the “Read, Write, Count” campaign.
The public play a large role in Book Week, and Scottish Book Trust is encouraging members of the public to take part in the National Reading Lunch on Thursday 22 November. The aim is to get the public to take an hour at lunchtime to read a book, regardless of their location.
Schools, companies and communities across Scotland are also encouraged to hold books sales or book swishes of their own to help Scottish Book Trust. A free fundraising toolkit is available here with tips and tricks on organising your own book sales.
For more information on Scottish Book Week 2018, the events taking place and how you can get involved, please see the Scottish Book Trust’s website here.