A national reading celebration: Culture Secretary reveals full programme for Book Week Scotland

More than 350 free events are planned for Scotland’s first national celebration of reading, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced today.

Ms Hyslop was at the National Library of Scotland to unveil the full programme for Book Week Scotland, organised by Scottish Book Trust and taking place between November 26 and December 2, 2012.  

A diverse programme of book-related events will be held across the nation, including several hosted by some of Scotland’s best-loved authors.

Highlights will include:

  • a pack of three free picture books for all Primary 1 schoolchildren in Scotland
  • a pop-up book festival at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow
  • the distribution of 150,000 free copies of My Favourite Place – a collection of stories and poems written by the people of Scotland
  • a national Reading Hour on St Andrew’s Day
  • A band of volunteers, aged from five to 75 years old, will form a ‘League of Extraordinary Book Lovers’ to answer book-related questions and make reading recommendations throughout the week. 
  • Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) Scotland will open its Transcription Centre in Partick, inviting people to learn how to produce a book for someone with sight loss, or create a piece of work in Braille.
  • author-led events will include Iain Banks in Loch Leven, Val McDermid in Orkney, Debi Gliori in Carnoustie, Janice Galloway in Benbecula, Christopher Brookmyre in Greenock, Vivian French in Glenrothes, and many more.

Speaking at today’s event, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:

“This excellent programme is bursting with fantastic opportunities for everyone in Scotland, of all ages and with all interests, to embark or continue on a reading journey.

“Book Week Scotland will be Scotland’s first national celebration of reading. It will encourage the whole nation to embrace reading’s unique capacity for personal enrichment, education, solace, pleasure and growth.

“The week will also provide a platform – during the Year of Creative Scotland – for the people of Scotland to celebrate our exceptional literary talent, our history of literary excellence and our rich creativity.”


Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:         

“Book Week Scotland has been designed to be as accessible, entertaining and beneficial as possible to the people of Scotland. Hundreds of partners across the country and beyond the cultural sector have contributed enthusiastically to this joint enterprise.

“At a time when changes in the world of publishing tend to dominate the headlines, our message is simple: reading is one of humankind’s greatest inventions and is here to stay.

“Reading is entertaining, informative, and enormously beneficial to the individual and so to the health of a national culture. Scots are readers and Scotland is a reading nation. This is a celebration of that, and of the enormous writing talent we are lucky enough to have at our fingertips.”


Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said:

“Book Week Scotland is a national celebration of books and reading, in this the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.  We encourage as many people as possible to get involved, read, share and celebrate the enjoyment of getting lost in a book, new or old.  As a nation we have an abundance of literary excellence and rich diversity across all genres, this is a great opportunity to explore your imagination through the written word.”


Notes to Editors

Initiated by the Scottish Government, Book Week Scotland will be delivered on behalf of Creative Scotland by Scottish Book Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland.  Partners include Scottish Libraries and Information Council, Publishing Scotland, National Library of Scotland, and Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature. 

The development of Book Week Scotland was supported with £150,000 from Creative Scotland’s National Events programme, which is funded by the National Lottery.

My Favourite Place

My Favourite Place is a collection of inspiring stories about places in Scotland written by the public and featuring original commissioned artwork and contributions from some of the best-loved names in arts and literature including Michael Palin, Alexander McCall Smith and Alasdair Gray. More than 150,000 copies will be gifted in public libraries, bookshops, National Trust properties, ferry terminals and more than 60 Specsavers stores across the nation. The book will also be available as a downloadable eBook and audiobook. 

The Reading Hour

At 11am on Friday 30th November – St Andrew’s Day – thousands of people across Scotland will stop what they are doing, pick up a book and participate in a collective celebration of reading. Everyone in the country will be encouraged to take the opportunity to read for pleasure or participate in an activity linked to reading.

Scottish Book Trust and National Museums Scotland have arranged a special Read-In event in the heart of Edinburgh, to coincide with the Reading Hour. Each will celebrate the joy of reading, sharing and listening to stories with a host of authors. Alexander McCall Smith will read stories for grown-ups , under-fives will be treated to stories by Lari Don, and there will be a Bookbug session with songs and rhymes for younger children.

The Bookbug Primary 1 Family Pack

Every Primary 1 child in Scotland (more than 60,000 children) will receive a collection of three free picture books from leading Scottish authors, to help create a lasting link between reading at school and reading with the family at home.

The League of Extraordinary Booklovers

A book-loving band of volunteers have been selected to help answer book-related questions and make reading recommendations to the people of Scotland throughout the week. The League members are aged from 5 to 75 years old and are from across Scotland.

Book Week Scotland Pop-Up Festival

Glasgow’s Mitchell Library will host a packed programme of events on Saturday December 1 – a full day of author visits, writing workshops, literature debates and the Young Writers Conference. The pop-up festival will feature authors including Iain M Banks, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Mairi Hedderwick. Waterstones’ CEO James Daunt will also be there.

Inclusion and diversity

The Book Week Scotland programme is designed to be inclusive and accessible to all. Events designed to appeal to some of Scotland’s hard-to-reach communities include:

  • The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland is opening the doors of its Transcription Centre in Partick during Book Week Scotland and inviting the public to find out how to produce a book for someone with sight loss, understand how reading aloud to others can be of benefit, and even learn how to create a piece of work in Braille.
  • Shetland Arts will coordinate read-aloud sessions by primary school pupils in local care homes.
  • Scottish Refugee Council and Words Per Minute will host a live literature event, celebrating refugee writing.

Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers in a number of projects including skills development, works closely with schools to create resources for teachers, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to millions of people worldwide.

The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 is spotlighting, celebrating and promoting Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage, and positioning Scotland as one of the world’s most creative nations to audiences at home and across the world. Through a dynamic year-long programme of activity we are celebrating our world-class events, festivals, artistic and cultural heritage. Visit www.creativescotland.com for more information.

Photographs from today’s launch are available on request. Photos and profiles of the members of the League of Extraordinary Book Lovers are also available.

For more information, visit www.bookweekscotland.com. Follow @BookWeekScot on Twitter, check out the #BWS2012 hashtag or visit the Book Week Scotland Facebook page facebook.com/bookweekscotland.


Lisa Gillibrand – Scottish Government:  0131 244 3177 / 07867 390283

Pauline Kelly – Scottish Book Trust: 0131 524 0175 / 07780 724526

Pauline Kelly

Media enquiries to Pauline Kelly, PR Manager pauline.kelly@scottishbooktrust.com.