There’s nothing quite like curling up and reading a good book on a dark winter’s day.
So it’s only fitting that Book Week Scotland is staged every year not long after the clocks go back and we’re all going into hibernation mode!
Organised by the Scottish Book Trust, the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing returns for its eighth year from November 18 to 24.
Hundreds of events will be taking place all over Scotland – from intimate community gatherings to flagship events with well-loved authors.
And there are ten events this year in the Falkirk district for readers of all ages to enjoy.
They include a visit from Emily Dodd whose Crime Squirrel Investigators book has been a big hit with primary school children.
Emily will help P2 pupils from Beancross Primary School hunt for the naughty nut thief on Wednesday, November 20, in Grangemouth Library.
Sadly the event is a closed shop so, while the library has already fielded calls from other interested parties, only the lucky wee ones from Beancross will be able to meet the popular CBeebies screenwriter.
Likewise, artist Kate Leiper hopes to inspire a select group of talented S3 pupils at Polmont’s Meadowbank Library on Thursday, November 21.
She’ll lead a session on book illustration, chatting to S3 pupils studying art.
There are still a handful of limited places for young people of a similar age. Call the library to reserve a place on 01324 503870.
Pre-school storytime events have also been organised in a number of local libraries.
Meantime, adults who want to make a date with thriller writers Doug Johnstone and Helen Fitzgerald can do so but they better get their skates on as free tickets for the event in Falkirk Library on Thursday, November 21, from 6.30pm to 8pm, are being snapped up fast.
It’s no surprise as Doug and Helen are two of Orenda Books’ finest thriller writers.
Doug will discuss his new book, Breakers, an extraordinary novel that manages to be both a tense psychological thriller and a deeply moving story of a good kid in the wrong family.
His partner in crime Helen, author of the novel which was adapted into the BBC drama The Cry, will also present her new novel, Worst Case Scenario. It’s a dark and humourous psychological thriller about a Glasgow probation officer dispensing her own justice.
With conversation being at the heart of this year’s Book Week theme, craft lovers who enjoy a blether are well catered for with three events lined up.
The Chronicles of Yarnia will offer participants a chance to have a chat, while also working on their needlecraft.
This free event will be held in Larbert Library on Wednesday, November 20, from 2pm to 3pm.
There will also be a Crafternoon in Bonnybridge Library on Thursday, November 21, from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and a Knit and Knatter in Denny Library that day from 2pm to 3pm.
It may seem like an eclectic mix of events but that’s what Book Week does best, according to Mairi Kidd, Creative Scotland’s head of literature, languages and publishing.
She said: “From the Gruffalo to gardening and crime to cookery, there’s something for everyone during Book Week Scotland.
“There are so many ways to get involved, online or in venues across the country – from telephone boxes to local libraries, where you’ll find books in English, Gaelic, Scots and other languages as well as audio books, e-books, braille books and more.
“With a huge range of partners hosting an incredible programme of events, we hope the whole country has a blast blethering about books.”
The aptly-titled book, Blether, featuring 30 stories submitted by members of the public and well known faces such as Still Game actor Jane McCarry and Hings author Chris McQueer, has also been published to coincide with this year’s programme.
Some 100,000 free copies will be available in libraries and community venues or to order via the Scottish Book Trust’s website.
Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “I hope the people of Scotland enjoy Blether, a collection of tales which celebrates the difference a simple blether can make to our lives.
“We are celebrating the theme of conversation in all its forms this year, from a wee blether to the life changing heart-to-heart.”
Space to connect with others
Scottish Book Trust launched Book Week Scotland’s 2019 programme with a little help from comic book artist Frank Quitely of DC Comics All Star Superman and Batman and Robin fame.
Arguably, though, libraries are the main stars of the show, supporting a range of special events in communities all over the country.
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), said: “Libraries across Scotland will be joining in the Book Week Scotland celebrations, meaning everyone has the opportunity to get involved.
“Libraries offer the perfect place to celebrate the joy of reading and, with a range of digital resources available, people can use their local library to get involved in the Digital Festival too.
“In keeping with the Year of Conversation, libraries are trusted spaces where people can connect with others and engage in new experiences.
“So get along to your local library and get involved.”
Book Week Scotland also features a fundraising initiative, Big Book Swap, to support the Scottish Book Trust.
Readers can join hundreds of schools, workplaces and community groups on Friday, November 22, by donating £1 to swap their books. The money will help the Trust support people in Scotland to reach their true potential through reading and writing.
To sign up and receive your free fundraising guide, visit www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland/the-big-book-swap.
The full programmme for Book Week Scotland 2019, with events all over Scotland, is available online now at www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland.