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

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.

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.


James Oswald at Muirhouse Library

Hailed as ‘the new Ian Rankin’, author James Oswald is coming to Muirhouse Library for Book Week Scotland.

James will be reading from and talking about Dead Men’s Bones, the latest installment in the acclaimed Detective Inspector McLean series of novels.

Morag Weatherly and her two young daughters have been shot by husband Andrew, an influential politician, before he turned the gun on himself.

But what would cause a rich, successful man to snap so suddenly?

For Inspector Tony McLean, this apparently simple but high-profile case leads him into a world of power and privilege. And the deeper he digs, the more he realises he’s being manipulated by shadowy factions.

James is also the author of the Sir Benthro series of fantasy novels, which we’re sure he’ll talk about too if you ask him nicely.

And if you’ve got any questions about pedigree Highland cattle or New Zealand Romney sheep, James runs a 350 acre livestock farm in Fife in his ‘spare time’ so he’s your go-to guy on that topic as well.

This free event takes place at Muirhouse Library on Saturday 29th November at 3pm! Book a place now.

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

Author Catriona Child at South Queensferry Library

The sporting gene runs in the Child family. Eilidh is a Commonwealth Games silver medallist and sister Catriona, author of Trackman, has drawn on her experiences swimming for her club and university for her latest novel Swim until you can’t see land.

The book contrasts the struggles of injured swimmer Hannah Wright with the life of Marièle Downie, a wartime spy.

Hannah is forced to give up a promising career as a professional swimmer at the age of just 21, and is adjusting with difficulty to her narrowed horizons.

Meanwhile the wartime exploits of Marièle – who is now frail and old – unfold and she is revealed as a woman of extraordinary spirit.

Catriona will be at South Queensferry Library on Wednesday 26th November to read from and talk about the novel at a free Book Week Scotland event – reserve your place today.

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

Join writer and illustrator John Fardell at Sighthill Library

John Fardell is the author of the adventure trilogy featuring The Seven Professors of the Far North, The Flight of the Silver Turtle, and The Secret of the Black Moon Moth. 

He loves to visit schools and libraries, talking about his writing and encouraging kids to make comics and books.

John will be at Sighthill Library on Monday 24th November at a special Book Week Scotland event for readers aged 8-11.

To book a place at this free event phone 0131 529 5566 or email

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

Dictionar o the Scots Leid

Yaise the updatit online Dictionar o the Scots Leid wi freens. Ye micht be interestit in the history o the leid, Scots buiks or yer ain faimlie’s wirds an phrases.

Staff frae Scottish Language Dictionaries wull be free tae help an answer onie questions aboot their darg.

Staff frae the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection wull be on haun tae. Book Week Scotland publications wull be available for ye tae enjoy, they aye include some scrievin in Scots.

Central Library, Tuesday 25th November, 2- 4pm. Book noo.

Find out about other Book Week Scotland events and activities.


‘A book of death and fish’ author Ian Stephen at McDonald Road Library

“I think it’s a landmark in Scottish literature and in contemporary fiction” 

When a book get praise like that from the great Robert Macfarlane you know you’re dealing with something special.

And Ian Stephen’s ‘A book of death and fish‘ is a very special piece of work indeed.

A vivid portrait of the highlands gradually and beautifully takes shape as protagonist Peter MacAuley sits down to write his will.

Ian will be visiting McDonald Road Library for a special free Book Week Scotland event on Tuesday 25th November at 6pm.

Be there – book a place now.

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



Meet Doug Johnstone

There are many strings to Doug Johnstone’s bow.

Author of five books , including the brilliant, guess-until-the-very-end Gone Again:

 ‘a fast-paced thriller with a very human touch’ (Ian Rankin)

Doug also writes book reviews for publications like The Big Issue and The Independent on Sunday.

Also, he’s a musician and songwriter.

Also, he’s got a PhD in nuclear physics.

Also, he’s a co-founder of Scotland Writers FC.

Also (we’ll stop now), he’s joining us for a special free event.

As part of Book Week Scotland Doug will be at Portobello Library on Tuesday 25th November at 7pm.

Book your place.

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

Gavin Francis, author of ‘Empire Antarctica’, at Central Library

“Empire Antarctica” is the embodiment of everything I admire in travel writing – a great journey, intense isolation, wide reading, vivid writing, scientific research, and something in the nature of an old-fashioned ordeal. I loved this book” – Paul Theroux

“A beautiful hymn to limitless solitude…  His bracing year spent among emperor penguins presents an ordeal that is also a joy. And it’s beautifully written on every page” – Tom Adair, Scotsman Books of the Year.

Empire Antarctica is a stunning book which recounts what it’s like to be a doctor in the last great wilderness on earth.

Its author, Gavin Francis, will be talking about the book at a special free Book Week Scotland event at Edinburgh Central Library on Saturday 29th November at 2.30pm.

Don’t miss this. Book your place now.

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

Exciting news for Stockbridge Library

Stockbridge Library has been selected as one of five libraries in Scotland to benefit from a new permanent artwork as part of Book Week Scotland 2014.

Stockbridge Library

The purpose of the installation, which will be unveiled on the first day of Book Week Scotland on 24 November, is to make libraries more visible in their own communities and to raise awareness of them as important assets for local people to enjoy.

The artwork will be created by Glasgow-based artist Rachel Barron and will be inspired by Jackie Kay’s poem Dear Library.

Dear Library highlights the important role that libraries can play at every stage of an individual’s life, from childhood to old age.

Rachel has been given one verse of the poem to inspire her, which is written from the perspective of an expectant mother, and it is hoped that the resulting artwork will encourage the community to visit their library to begin or continue their reading journey.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener for Culture and Sport, said: “I am delighted that Stockbridge Library has been selected for this project in support of Book Week Scotland 2014. Naturally, Edinburgh’s public libraries champion reading all year-long with a host of activities to help people develop a love of books – but we are also proud to welcome a number of cultural and community events through the doors of Edinburgh’s libraries. We hope this event will entice people to visit their local library in Stockbridge to view Rachel’s art, and let people realise how much more there is to their local library.”

Sophie Moxon, Deputy CEO of Scottish Book Trust, the organisation delivering Book Week Scotland, added: “Following the success of our Reading Murals project in 2013, we are delighted to be unveiling five original artworks by young artists in libraries across the country for Book Week Scotland 2014. Jackie Kay’s ‘Dear Library’ beautifully illustrates the knowledge, inspiration and comfort that libraries can provide for people of all ages and we hope the artworks will too.”

Commenting on the commission, artist Rachel Barron said: “I am delighted to be part of the Artwork for Libraries project, as this is my first opportunity to create a permanent artwork within a public space. I am really looking forward to meeting and engaging with the local community in a series of creative workshops inspired by my current practice and vision for the permanent artwork.”

Rachel lives and works in Glasgow and Gothenburg, Sweden. She graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art’s Painting Department in 2011, and since then she has exhibited across Scotland. Her work encompasses print, sculpture and installation through exhibitions and participatory projects that engage directly with the public. Recent projects have transformed gallery spaces into live print workshops, which invite the public to participate by contributing their own artwork to the exhibition display. She aims to encourage artistic expression within people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities; providing the opportunity and environment to uncover the creative potential in everyone.

The other four artworks to be unveiled will be in Musselburgh, Saltcoats, Lennoxtown and Shetland.

Find out more at the Book Week Scotland website

Top authors join us for Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland is nearly here. It’s like a mini book festival – but it’s free! How’s this for a line-up?

Kirsty Gunn (The big music)

Lin Anderson (Torch, Final cut, Picture her dead, Easy kill…)

Tony Black (Long time dead, Murder Mile, Gutted, Paying for it…)

Karen Campbell (This is where I am, Shadowplay, The twilight time, After the fire…)

Chris Dolan (An anarchist’s story: the life of Ethel MacDonald, Redlegs)

Lesley Riddoch (Blossom: a journey beyond independence)

James Robertson (The Professor of Truth, The Testament of Gideon Mack, And the land lay still, The Fanatic)

Tracey S Rosenberg (The girl in the bunker)

Plus, The Scotch EggHeads Scottish Book Quiz and a session on How to get published in association with publishing Scotland.

If you’re very lucky and extremely quick you can still grab a free place to see the authors listed above in libraries throughout Edinburgh. Just click on the author’s names for venues, times, and booking information.

And visit the Book Week Scotland site to see what else is happening throughout the country. Take a look too, at this selection of reading ideas from our friends at Publishing Scotland – look out for their pop-up bookshop in Central Library from 25 to 30 November