Book Week Scotland birthday bash

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Book Week Scotland is marking its 10th anniversary this November with events themed around ‘celebration’, coasts and islands.

This year’s live and virtual festival, ‘the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing’, returns on Monday November 15 to Sunday November 21.

Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, said: ‘Over the last 10 years, Book Week Scotland has become a highlight of Scotland’s literary calendar, the national event where a huge range of partners celebrate the connective power of reading and writing.

‘It is where communities all over Scotland gather together to have conversations with writers and other readers, and where individuals all over the country share their love of books and the books they love.

‘2021 marks a decade of Book Week Scotland, a massive milestone that all of us at Scottish Book Trust are extremely proud of. Book Week Scotland would not be possible without the many libraries, bookshops, community groups and schools that take part.’

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council said: ‘Libraries will be hosting events from Shetland to the Borders, connecting communities and ensuring everyone across the country can meet like-minded individuals, and enjoy all that the week has to offer.

‘We will also be celebrating Mobile Libraries Day as part of Book Week Scotland, which allows us to recognise the vital role that our mobile libraries play in some of the remotest parts of Scotland, as well as for those who are not able to visit their own local library. Reading is Scotland’s favourite pastime, and we look forward to sharing in the country’s love of books.’

Dunollie Castle and Museum begins the week on Monday November 15 with Our other Lives. ‘This intergenerational event from North Argyll Carers Centre will bring together carers from the age of 8 to 86 to talk and write about celebration,’ the programme explains. ‘Take part in this unique opportunity for carers to work together on a truly inclusive project regardless of age, caring responsibilities or geographical location.

‘You will work with author and primary school teacher Pam Rae, and receive a free copy of her book Our Other Lives to read in advance of the session. The book focuses on World War II in a Glasgow school, transporting a group of four school friends back in time where they experience the life changing events of the war.

‘During the session, participants are encouraged to think about and discuss the comparisons between our world coming out of lockdown and the war ending. Older carers will share their wartime memories and the group will be encouraged to write about their experiences of celebrating these momentous events.’ The event will take place in a marquee to allow for socially distanced in-person discussions.

Cairndow Village Hall hosts a talk by one of Scotland’s most gifted authors, James Robertson, on Saturday November 20, when he will read from his latest novel News of the Dead, following on from the acclaimed And the Land Lay Still.

Featuring three characters, hundreds of years apart, the novel is set in the Braes of Angus, where the fictional Glen Conach is the home of fables and folklore gathered over the centuries. Cairndow is a small community on the shores of Loch Fyne, a fitting setting for readings from a novel set in Glen Conach.

James Robertson will be in Cairndow Village Hall to read from his latest novel News of the Dead, another novel articulating the changing spirit and soul of Scotland.

Further up the West Coast, Book Week Scotland will be celebrated in Ullapool with Ullaverse, a poetry trail around the village featuring work by some of the most exciting poets writing in Scotland today, many of whom have appeared at Ullapool Book Festival. There will also be a few old favourites included as well as work created especially for the event. The poems will be displayed in windows around the village. Most will be big and bold with a few little gems hidden along the way.

In the year of Scottish coastlines and waterways, Harry Josephine Giles, Evie Wyld and Raman Mundair will join Book Week Scotland for a Celebrating Island Literature panel, chaired by Pàdraig MacAoidh. The event will premiere on Saturday November 20 at 4pm on YouTube.

‘Video games power up minds, kick ass and save lives,’ Book Week explains: ‘Author Joe Donnelly, author of Checkpoint, games writer and mental health advocate, will be livestreaming gameplay on as he takes viewers on a journey through the lesser-known side of game Grand Theft Auto V, showing how it can be a vehicle for mental health support in the most unlikely of ways.’ The Thursday November 18 event is free, and will be livestreamed on Twitch at 7pm.

Alan Bett, head of literature and publishing at Creative Scotland, said: ‘For a decade now, Book Week Scotland has provided the perfect opportunity for readers across the nation to come together in community groups, bookshops, libraries and at home to share and explore a love of reading. With an exciting and diverse line-up of emergent and established names and forms of writing, from live poetry to comics, the centenary year programme is a true celebration of literature.’