Monday, 7 December 2015

Book Week Scotland 2015 – that’s it for another year!

The authors have come and gone, crafts have been crafted, food cooked, plays played and poems read. The events were taking place county wide and this year we branched out to use even more venues out with our libraries. 

The Week kicked off with all the pupils at Kings Meadow and the primary 4-7s from St Mary’s and the Compass School file into the Corn exchange in Haddington – they just kept on coming and we realised to our dismay that the 450 seats we’d set out weren’t going to be enough. Luckily the 2 Steves (Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore) had no difficulty performing to an audience of 500! Elsewhere Mac and Bob entertained primary 2 and 3 pupils in Musselburgh library, Judy Hayman came along to the John Gray Centre to tell more dragon tales, the Muddy Buddies helped the kids take over Dunbar library, where the teddies also slept over after watching Muppet treasure island and lots of Dads felt the Force when they joined in with the Star Wars party at Longniddry library.

We were delighted to welcome Mark Beaumont, long distance cyclist and adventurer, to the Brunton, Musselburgh where 170 folk enjoyed hearing about Mark’s exploits cycling the world and rowing, and capsizing, in the Atlantic. One of his most recent endurance feats was cycling the new Scottish North Coast 500 (mile) route in less than 38 hours – without stopping!

St Mary’s Parish church in Haddington provided the atmospheric setting for our Urban Noir evening in the company of crime authors Arne Dahl, Eva Nolan and Stuart Neville. This heralded the start of our mini crime festival which also featured Ann Cleeves who enthralled a capacity audience in Port Seton Centre, Lin Anderson visiting past haunts in Tranent, and Ed James, along with Len Wanner, who ended their own tour of East Lothian on the Saturday night at Cockenzie House.

This year our Reader in Residence, Hannah Lavery, who is also director of CoastWord based in Dunbar, organised several events with words and songs featuring Michael Pedersen,  Rita Bradd, Rachel McCrum, Kirsty Law, Catherine Simpson, Colin Will, Firefly Forty Five – to mention only a few! Thanks to the Dunmuir Hotel in Dunbar for hosting some of these events and to Village pub theatre who came along to North Berwick library to perform some appropriately themed literary and library plays.

Professional chef and food writer Christopher Trotter extolled the virtues of kale at Simon’s Kesley’s bookshop in Haddington; AnneMarie Allan told of the Witches of East Lothian and local author David Robertson spoke of George Seton, 5th Earl of Wintoun who was tried for treason for joining the Jacobites, but escaped from the Tower of London and ended up in Rome, where he died in 1749. Closer to home locals enjoyed seeing pictures and sharing memories of life and history in East Linton.

Happy timing saw 2 John Gray Centre events take place during Book Week Scotland - Ruth Boreham delivered a fascinating talk about the role of women in society and the JGC development officer and art historian, Ola Wojtkiewicz discussed Symbols in Painting.

Some staff from Haddington library were very pleased with the Christmas decorations they made under the watchful eye of Abby Ingham, although they probably didn’t quite match up to the arrangements demonstrated by Erica of Haddington!

Around 1460 people attended 30 events so it’s been a busy time, but hugely enjoyable and a massive thanks to all our speakers and guests and of course to all the library staff, our Reader in Residence and all the helpers for making this the most successful Book Week Scotland yet!




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