Award winning illustrator visits Northern Ireland schools

Catherine Rayner
Category: Press Releases

Award-winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner will visit schools in Northern Ireland as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. From 25 February – 1 March, Catherine will visit nearly 700 pupils from 10 different schools in Newry, Londonderry and Belfast.

The Children’s Book Tour is supported by Scottish Friendly and organised by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing. Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tours visit both primary and secondary schools, and have enthralled more than 100,000 children with visits from over 100 individual authors since they began in 1998.

Catherine Rayner studied Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. She fell in love with the city and still lives there with her husband and young son. She finds huge inspiration in her pets and often uses them as models. Catherine has also spent hours and hours watching and sketching tigers (in freezing temperatures) at Edinburgh Zoo. Her books have been nominated for several awards, including the UK Literary Association Awards and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

During the Scottish Friendly Children Book Tour, Catherine will focus on a selection of her picture books including Solomon and Mortimer, Smelly Louie, and Abigail. Catherine will work with the pupils on drawing and illustrating, giving step by step guides so they can draw characters from her books. She will also give insight to how she produces her characters by sharing her sketchbooks so they can see how characters develop – with a focus on how many mistakes she makes, and there’s no ‘right’ way to create a picture book.

Book Trust Northern Ireland and Education Authority Northern Ireland partnered with Scottish Book Trust to assist contacting schools and communicating information about the tour.


Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We’re delighted that Catherine Rayner is joining us on the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour, and we’re sure the students will be captivated by her beautiful picture books. Catherine is a wonderful storyteller and her books are sure to inspire the next generation of illustrators.”


Kevin Brown, Communications Manager at Scottish Friendly, said:

“It’s a privilege to have Catherine with us on our third visit to Northern Ireland, following Lari Don and John Fardell’s tours. Not only will Catherine be reading from her books, she will encourage interaction, sharing techniques on how to draw the characters she’s created and ensuring the children get the most out of her sessions.”


Touring Dates

Monday 25 February

9.30am – 10.30am: The Drelincourt School

1pm – 2pm: Bessbrook Primary School


Tuesday 26 February

9.30am – 10.30am: St Joseph’s Convent PS (closed to press)

1pm – 2pm: Killean Primary School


Wednesday 27 February

9.30am – 10.30am: Sion Mills Primary School

1pm – 2pm: St Eugene’s Primary School


Thursday 28 February

9am – 10am: Aghadrumsee Primary School

12.50pm – 1.50pm: St Tierney’s Primary School


Friday 29 February

9am – 10am: Cliftonville Integrated Primary School

1pm – 2pm: Scoil an Droichid


Notes to Editors

For all press queries, please contact: Keara Donnachie or call 0131 524 0184


About Scottish Friendly

Scottish Friendly, one of the UK’s largest mutual life offices. At Scottish Friendly we believe saving and investing should be for everyone, which is why we offer a range of affordable investment and savings products to help individuals and their families achieve their financial goals.

Scottish Friendly has sponsored the programme for the past 20 years, touring some of the finest children’s authors and illustrators including former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Melvin Burgess, Steve Cole, Michael Morpurgo and Sophie McKenzie.


About Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.     @scottishbktrust