Book Week Scotland – Edinburgh Reads title

To celebrate Book week Scotland we have a cracking Scottish multi-access ebook available on Libby by a fabulous Scottish author!

The Bad Fire by Campbell Armstrong is available to download until the 30th November with unlimited copies. In this page-turning, atmospheric thriller a police detective returns to Glasgow to investigate his father’s death. Detective Eddie Mallon is coming home to Glasgow for the funeral of his father, whom he barely knew. Decades ago, the Mallon family split down the middle, and Eddie went to America with his mother while his sister stayed with their father, Jackie. Now Jackie has been murdered and Eddie has no choice but to conduct his own investigation, which takes him into the shadowy history of his father’s past and present and into something bigger and more disturbing than one man’s death.

Libby can be used on your tablet, phone of computer. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

Book Week Scotland programme 15 – 21 November 2021

Central Library – Book Café online

Scottish novelist, Jane Alexander reads from her recently published short story collection, The Flicker Against the Light, for our Book Week Scotland BookCafé session.

Ms Alexander is the author of two highly-acclaimed novels; she completed her PhD in 2018 and is currently a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Her fascination for and study of the uncanny makes her the perfect guest for the current socio-political climate.

Book your ticket via Eventbrite to join the BookCafe on Wednesday 17 November at 1pm.

Westerhailes Library

  • Zine-making session for young people on Wednesday 17 November at 5.30pm
  • Book Cafe on Thursday 18 November, from 10.30am to 12.30pm
    Drop in for a tea or coffee and chat about books with our friendly team!
    Get specially tailored reading recommendations; sign up for our ‘Personal Shopper’ service; get help with accessing online resources, including free access to online ebooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines.

South Queensferry Library

  • Poetry discussion group, Monday 15 November, at 7pm
    South Queensferry Library’s very first session of their Poetry discussion group will take place, kicking off with a discussion about the attendees’ favourite Scottish poet/poem.
  • Scottish Book Nook, Wednesday 17 November, at 7pm
    They’ve asking library users to come along and tell us about a favourite book they think is a Scottish hidden gem.
  • Storytime, Friday 19 November, 10.30 – 11am
    Children’s storytime featuring some fantastic Scottish stories

Online event

Join Edinburgh Libraries and Lavender Menace for an exceptional hour with inspiring writers, poets and panellists on Thursday 18 November at 6.30pm.

By film, especially for Book Week Scotland, Bob Cant, editor of the first published queer oral history in Scotland (1993 and 2008) talks about his background as a Scottish gay man, his life as a gay writer, trade unionist and activist, and his experience organising his book. He comments on directions queer oral history might take today. His film also includes clips of four interviewees on their views of the book.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Sigrid and Bob of Lavender Menace with esteemed guests: Ann Marriott – General Manager, LGBT Youth Scotland; Jaime Valentine – oral historian, OurStory Scotland and Rowan Rush-Morgan – archivist, oral historian and PhD student.

Book your free ticket via Eventbrite to join this fantastic online event.

Dreams we dreamt

Last week for Book Week Scotland, we asked you to submit your poetic verses inspired by Edinburgh born poet Michael Pedersen’s verse on this year’s theme, Future.

We wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who shared their poems and dreams with us and to highlight just a small selection of the fantastic contributions with you.

Michael’s starting prompt was:
is the distinction between dreams & the dreams we dream of dreaming;
is the memory of a song in toes frisking soil for its stories;
is like rice, best served sticky and shovelled back;
is a restless poem, caught in night’s nib.

The Future poem design by Jon Gray

Louise responded:
The Future:
is sitting next to a stranger at a gig, without being armed with sanitiser;
is doing the weekly shop, without worrying about a mask;
is taking the kids to the playground, without being mindful of distance;
is waking up on a day where lockdown is HISTORY.

For Scott –
The Future:
Is trilling silver moths under street lamps;
Is the moon and its pockmarked peep hole in the night;
Is a congregation and a glad eye;
Is our scudding wind, drunk, with only a collar.

Claudia wrote:
The Future:
is dancing;
is laughing;
is wine;
is friends.

We were honoured to receive poems from well-known writers and artists:
This one from E. A. Hanks –

The Future
Is shuffled in my small, hot hands.
Major Arcana. Minor. Black keys to black doors. 

And shows no difference from warlock
to gambler, sword to spade, decked out in dreaming. 

So what can the Hierophant tell me
of how much I miss strangers’ lips? 

Pressing mine to your coffeecup?
But still, I toss a coin for peonies and milkshakes,

remember that a shimmy makes a spell, a fox in the night
something planted in the ready earth. 

Such witchy hope!

Poem by E.A.Hanks. Art by @madeveart.

And one from Ian Rankin –

At ten, I was a captain on a boat
At fifteen, a pop star (sort of)
At twenty, thirty and forty
I dreamed of writing, and I wrote (and wrote) and wrote…

Dreams of writing from Ian Rankin

Rachel Sermanni even read her fiery verse –

As did Val McDermid –

Thank you everyone!

Edinburgh’s City Read

51zWsBxwofLThis week is Book Week Scotland and we’d like you to join in by downloading our Edinburgh’s City Read ebook title! Specially picked with our readers in mind, A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone is a tense, shocking and darkly funny thriller set in Edinburgh. Download it through the Libby app or OverDrive website and read for free.

Meet the Skelfs: well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a funeral-home business…and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another woman, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined. As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything…

Unlimited downloads are available from 16 – 29 November, all you need is library membership so you can login with your library card and PIN. Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

Sara Sheridan – Agatha Christie: from 1950s to the future

News of another fantastic online event this week as part of Book Week Scotland!

Sighthill Library is hosting bestselling writer Sara Sheridan in conversation on Facebook Live. The event will take place on Wednesday 18 November at 7pm on the Sighthill Library Facebook page.

In a talk marking 100 years since the publication of Agatha Christie’s first novel, ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’, Sara Sheridan will discuss the celebrated crime author, and how the 1950s relate to modern day.

Instant access to ebooks & audiobooks

To kick off Book Week Scotland 2020 we are running a fantastic promotion for non-library users offering them free instant access to ebooks and audiobooks on OverDrive without the need for a library card. If you read this blog you are probably already a member of the library, but do you know someone who isn’t, but would love free ebook and audiobook downloads? Please spread the word to your friends, family and work colleagues!

Anyone over 13 years old with an EH postcode home, work or study address can sign up for instant access in seconds. All you need is a mobile phone number and the access code – Library2go. Thousands of best-selling books for adults, teens and children are available through OverDrive’s website or the Libby app. It’s a fantastic resource to access from home and on the go.

This promotion gives you access to OverDrive for three months.  However, its easy for people to keep on using the service for free by joining the library and receiving a permanent membership card.

To find out how to get started go to This access option will be available from 16 November – 16 December 2020.

The UK’s most borrowed ebook author comes to Edinburgh Libraries!

Gillian Galbraith

We were delighted to see the recent news that Edinburgh-based author Gillian Galbraith was the most loaned ebook author in the UK during the recent lockdown period. This was a remarkable achievement as Gillian beat the likes of Lee Child and Michelle Obama to the top spot.

At 7.30pm on Thursday 19 November we will be welcoming Gillian to talk about her writing, libraries and this fantastic achievement in an online event hosted on Zoom.

An evening with Gillian Galbraith
Gillian, who is author of the Alice Rice series, topped the UK library ebook lending charts with her novel, Blood in the Water. This gripping novel is the first instalment of the Alice Rice mystery series, in which smart and capable detective Alice races against time and an implacable killer to solve a series of grisly murders amongst the professional elite of Edinburgh’s well-to-do New Town.

Join Gillian Galbraith during Book Week Scotland for an event celebrating the power of books and libraries during difficult times. She will be discussing her much-loved protagonist Alice Rice as well as her latest book, a departure from the Alice Rice series, The End of the Line. Chaired by fellow crime writer Alex Gray, whose novel A Small Weeping  was the 4th most loaned adult ebook during the pandemic.

An unmissable treat to liven up a cold November evening!

Book your free ticket via the Edinburgh Reads Eventbrite page.

This event will be part of Edinburgh Libraries’ Book Week Scotland programme, in partnership with Birlinn publishers and supported by Scottish Book Trust.  

Celebrating Book Week Scotland: Climate change and the survival of being

We are delighted to announce an evening with Alastair McIntosh, one of Scotland’s leading writers and an honorary professor of the University of Glasgow, on Wednesday 18 November at 7.30pm.

Alastair McIntosh

Alastair McIntosh’s new book Riders on the Storm (Birlinn 2020) has received critical acclaim as a rigorous but engaging outline of the present science of climate change. But the deeper reason why he wrote it is enfolded in the subtitle: “Climate change and the survival of being”. Both the climate crisis and Covid-19, he says, are wake-up calls to our humanity – a call to deepen our psychology and even spirituality, fresh openings of the way in human consciousness. His other books include Soil and Soul (Aurum 2001) and Poacher’s Pilgrimage (Birlinn 2016).

This event will take online via Zoom and at least a third of the time will be given over to audience interaction.

An unmissable treat to liven up a cold November evening!

Book your free ticket on the Edinburgh Reads Eventbrite page.

This event is part of Edinburgh Libraries Book Week Scotland programme, in partnership with Birlinn publishers and supported by Scottish Book Trust.  

Pentlands Book Festival 2020 – full programme now available

The full programme for the online Pentlands Book Festival 2020 has been announced. All events are online and, as always, all are free (although donations are welcomed).

The festival starts on Wednesday 11 November with Scots Makar, Jackie Kay and concludes on Friday 20 November with the dark tale of Burke and Hare.

Wed 11 Nov, 8pm: “Part Fable, Part Porridge” – in conversation with Jackie Kay.

Sat 14 Nov, 8pm: “The good, the good/bad and the crafty”; an online historical walk. 

Mon 16 Nov, 8pm: “Our Future: Perfect or Tense?” Celebrating a community writing project led by Helen Boden, Panashe Nyadundu and Reta MacLennan.

Tue 17 Nov, 8pm: “Journey into the Scottish Diaspora” with Billy Kay.

Thu 19 Nov, 8pm: “The Art of Illustration” with Metaphrog.

Fri 20 Nov, 8pm: “The Story of Burke and Hare – A dark tale!” with Eric Melvin.

Visit the Pentlands Book Festival website for more information, book your tickets via Eventbrite and enjoy!

Book Week Scotland is coming!

Book Week Scotland is only a week away and the excitement is mounting! There are some fantastic literary events and activities taking place in Edinburgh libraries and school libraries during the week, Monday 19 – Sunday 25 November.

Check out our programme below and grab your tickets fast!

War is Over reading to coincide with Armistice Day
There will be a reading from ‘War is Over’ by David Almond to coincide with the Armistice Day commemorations. There will also be a colouring competition which will include a prize.
Muirhouse Library, Friday 16 November at 3.30pm

Rebel Art activity for children and young people
Come along to Drumbrae Library to help create a graffiti style art banner that will be displayed in the library for the duration of Book Week Scotland. There will also be an ongoing ‘Rebel Art’ station in place in the library for the week where people can add to the artwork and leave comments.
Drumbrae Library, Monday 19 November at 6pm (and then all week).

Wird Hunt!
According to the last national census, around 1.5 million people in Scotland can speak Scots. The Dictionar o the Scots Leid is the definitive record of their vocabulary.
The ‘Wird Hunt!’ exhibition will illuminate the Dictionar’s history as well as that of the language itself. Learn how the Dictionar’s makers keep track of the language in their day-to-day work and discover how their vast collection of quotations richly illustrate a centuries-long tradition of writing in Scots.
Want to help make the Dictionar even bigger and better? ‘Wird Hunt!’ also provides a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with the editors to identify new evidence of Scots vocabulary from a collection of present-day Scots books and poems.
Wester Hailes Library, Tuesday 20 November, 1 – 7pm
Free drop-in activity for adults, refreshments (teas, coffees & biscuits) provided

Memories of Early Granton
The Storytelling Centre and Granton Library are presenting ‘Memories of Early Granton’. Come along and listen to stories about early Granton and, if you’d like to, share a story of your own.
Granton Library, Tuesday 20 November, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Free event, tea and coffee provided

Stuart MacBride – The Blood Road
From Granite City to Auld Reekie – Morningside Library is delighted to welcome Stuart MacBride, creator of Aberdeen’s D.C.I. Logan McRae, as he swaps the oil capital of Europe for Scotland’s City of Literature to promote his latest book, ‘The Blood Road’.
Morningside Library, Tuesday 20 November at 7pm
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite

Wird Hunt!
Another chance to contribute to the The Dictionar o the Scots Leid.
Leith Library, Wednesday 21 November, 1 – 7pm
Free drop-in activity for adults

Sam Conniff Allende – Be more pirate, or, How to take on the world and win 
‘Be More Pirate’ reveals the radical strategies of Golden Age pirates, and updates them into clear solutions for making your mark on the 21st Century. Sam has been a mentor to thousands of young entrepreneurs and is now a sought after public speaker on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Leadership and Youth. Come along and find out how to be more ‘pirate’.
Stockbridge Library, Wednesday 21 November at 6.30pm
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite

M.C. Gladstone – The Moss of Cree: a Scottish childhood

M.C. Gladstone will read from her recently published memoir detailing her childhood experiences growing up in Scotland. The autobiography describes Mary’s evolution from wean on a dairy farm to sophisticate in Paris.
Stockbridge Library, Thursday 22 November at 2.30pm
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite

Write a story: creative writing workshop for imaginative adults

A beginner’s creative writing workshop for adults around the theme of Rebels, facilitated by local author and creative writers groups leader Carla Acheson. No experience required, just enthusiasm!
Stockbridge Library, Friday 23 November at 10.30am
Book your free ticket via Eventbrite.

The Adventures of Justine and Sebastien – children’s storytime

A French storytime for under 8s
Morningside Library, Friday 23 November at 2.30 – 3pm
No ticket required, just come along to the library.

Craft-a-noon for children with a Rebel artist theme: Frida Kahlo

The regular Friday afternoon arts and crafts session for kids at Stockbridge has a rebellious theme this week.
Stockbridge Library, Friday 23 November at 2.30pm
Drop in session, no need to book

Wird Hunt!
Another chance to contribute to the The Dictionar o the Scots Leid.
Craigmillar Library, Saturday 24 November, 11 – 4pm
Free drop-in activity for adults

A nourishing read!

Earlier this year the Scottish Book Trust asked people to put pen to paper and write down their memories and thoughts on the theme of ‘Nourish’. Whether it was about growing your own, howking tatties, creative cooking, sharing a poke of chips or a celebratory feast, they wanted to know what fueled your body and mind.

The result of this quest is a brilliant book of reminiscences and musings that is now available to download for free from our OverDrive ebook service. This book has been released as part of Book Week Scotland 2017. There’s a couple of submissions from well known foodies Dave Myers and Mary Contini, but a wealth of contributions from Scottish people from all walks of life, sharing with you their stories of food’s contribution to their family, childhood, community, travel experiences and self-discovery.

Download it today (best enjoyed with a nice cuppa and a dunkable biscuit!).


Pentlands Book Festival

Currie and Colinton Libraries have got together with the community councils for Currie, Colinton and Juniper Green and come up with another fantastic Pentlands Book Festival programme.

Pentlands Book Festival

The festival kicks off on Friday 11th November and highlights include Alan Bissett’s ‘The Moira Monologues’, Jennifer Robertson and ‘Wotjek the Bear’ and local chef, Ruth Shannon’s who will be ‘Cooking the Book’. Tickets are going fast, so get yours while you can!





Psst! Top author events for Book Week Scotland

Not one, but two very special author events are coming to Central Library for Book Week Scotland.

On Wednesday 23 November at 6.30pm, the Faber Crime Panel  who have been touring Scotland reach Edinburgh. Come and see Doug Johnstone, Rod Reynolds and Sarah Ward in conversation about their latest novels before they open the floor to audience questions.


meet_maggie_03And then on the evening of Friday 25 November, bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell comes to the Reference Library to chat about her seven fabulous books, including Instructions for a Heatwave (shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award) and her most recent smash, This Must Be the Place.

Don’t miss the chance to hear from this compelling Edinburgh author. Tickets will go fast!



Laughter and stories with “That guy fae The Corries”

Humour and nostalgia was the order of the day as Ronnie Browne took to the stage for our closing Book Week Scotland event.

Ronnie Browne 4

Photo: Norma Stout

After sharing tales from his life as a musician and painter. Ronnie chatted to fans and signed copies of his autobiography, “That guy fae The Corries“.

Ronnie Browne 7

Photo: Norma Stout

Craigmillar’s new Reading Champion “can’t wait to get started”

Claire Askew is Craigmillar Library’s brand new Reading Champion.

Claire’s appointment was announced yesterday as part of Book Week Scotland.

The residency at Craigmillar Library will aim to connect with the local area, engage with the people who live here and the stories they have to tell. We hope to encourage people to explore the library and become a springboard for creativity and ideas as well as encouraging life-long learning in the community.

Claire, who is a poet, writer and creative writing teacher, said, “I am so pleased to have been selected and I’m especially pleased that I’ll get to work alongside the brilliant team at Craigmillar Library. We’re hoping to engage the teens who come into the library and create a huge, collaborative, story-based role-playing game. We’ll also be asking adults who live in and around Craigmillar to get involved in some interactive story-telling and creative writing activities. I can’t wait to get started!”

Welcome to Book Week Scotland

It’s here folks. This is Book Week Scotland.

Every week’s a book week for us of course, but this is a special chance to celebrate with people all over the country, including some of our favourite authors.

If you’re lucky you might just grab one of the remaining tickets for our events with ‘The last act of love’ author Kathy Rentzenbrink, Ronnie Browne aka That Guy fae the Corries and Legend of Barney Thomson creator Douglas Lindsay. (If Douglas’ blog is anything to go by this event is sure to be a hoot)

There’s complete events listing on the Book Week Scotland site, along with a quote vote and  #thankbooks wall where you can post messages to the people and books who’ve inspired you on your reading journey.

And if you’re looking for the perfect book to read this week, we’d be delighted to help.

The best Book Week Scotland ever

Thanks to everyone who helped make this the best Book Week Scotland yet.

Aerial performer Rachael Macintyre got things off to a spectacular start as Stockbridge Library unveiled “Under the shy moon” – an artwork created by Rachel Barron in response to Jackie Kay’s poem ‘Dear Library’.

Rachael Macintyre at Stockbridge Library

Our sincerest thanks too, to authors Gavin Francis, James Oswald, Russel D McLean, Catriona Child, Doug Johnstone, Ian Stephen and John Fardell who visited libraries across Edinburgh during the week to read from and talk about their work.

Finally, we are so grateful for all the messages and love and support expressed in all the Love Letters to Libraries which we received during the week. Richard Holloway’s incredible love letter to Edinburgh Central Library was even featured in the Sunday Times.Richard HollowayWe are just as grateful for every other letter that we received during the course of the week, many of which sit proudly on display in libraries throughout the city.

Here’s to next year!

Book Week Scotland artwork unveiled at Stockbridge Library

The waiting is over. Stockbridge Library’s special Book Week Scotland artwork was unveiled earlier today.

‘Under the Shy Moon’ was created by artist Rachel Barron and takes the form of a vinyl installation and geometric mobile, which is suspended from the beams within the library.

Image credit: Rob McDougall

Rachel explained:“Working directly with the architecture of the library, the installation has been made in response to Jackie Kay’s poem, which expresses the excitement and aspirations of an expectant mum. Inspired by astronomy and lunar cycles, the artwork represents the phases of our journey through life, using a gradient of colours. I am delighted to be part of the ‘Artworks for Libraries’ project, as it has allowed me to develop my work within a new context, towards my first permanent public artwork. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with the library community during the creative engagement workshops.”

The artwork was inspired by Dear Library, a poem written by best-selling Scottish author and playwright Jackie Kay as part of Book Week Scotland. Dear Library highlights the important role that libraries can play at every stage of an individual’s life, from childhood to old age. Rachel was given one verse of the poem to inspire her artwork, written from the perspective of an expectant mother. The full poem can be read on the Book Week Scotland website.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport at the City of Edinburgh Council said: “Thanks to Book Week Scotland, Stockbridge Library is now the proud home of Rachel Barron’s one-of-a-kind literary inspired artwork, which was developed with local children and their families. The library is a place anyone can visit freely, which means people across Edinburgh can stop by when they are in the area to take a look and enjoy the installation. We hope the artwork will entice people to visit  their local library and appreciate how much more there is to the surroundings and services.”

Stockbridge is the first of five Book Week Scotland artworks to be revealed this week, with Musselburgh, Saltcoats, Lennoxtown and Shetland due to be revealed over the next four days. Each artwork is inspired by a different verse of Dear Library and members of the communities have been given the opportunity to work with the artists during the creative process.

Russel D McLean at Gilmerton Library

Gilmerton Library hosts a treat for crime fiction fans:

A sneak preview of Russel D McLean’s Cry Uncle, due out later this month.

Cry Uncle is the fifth book in the J McNee series. Could this be the Dundonian investigator’s swan song?

Russel promises “readings, ramblings, a few bad jokes and some insight into how I managed to complete the five book plan I foolishly started upon publication of my debut novel, The Good Son“.

Book Week Scotland event at Gilmerton Library: Wednesday 26th November at  7pm. Book your free place now!

Visit Book Week Scotland to find out about other events, promotions and activities.

Love letters to libraries

What do you love best about your library?

As part of Book Week Scotland people throughout the country are being asked to write a love letter to their library. And we’d like you to get involved.

It’s easy. Write down what you love about your library – using this template letter if you like – and post it in the special letterboxes we’ve got at some libraries or just hand it in to a member of staff.


You can also post your comments on the Book Week Scotland site and if you’re feeling particularly energetic The Guardian are getting in on the act.

They’re not the only ones. BBC 6 Music have been celebrating libraries over the past couple of weeks as well. There must be something in the air.

We’ll sign off with spoken-word artist Scroobius Pip’s contribution to the 6 Music celebration, which might give you some ideas for your own love letter to your library.