Do We Need Another ‘Week’?

It seems it’s always this week or that week so do we really need another one? Let’s see. Book Week Scotland, from 26 November to 2 December 2012, is Scotland’s first national celebration of books and reading. With a traditionally Londoncentric publishing industry, perhaps it is good to remind ourselves of more local literary talent, historically and now, and to give a thankyou push to Scottish publishers

Organised by Scottish Book Trust, who have  fought the Scottish literary corner through various incarnations, it should provide a reminder to readers, including Book Groups (when did yours last read a Scottish author?) that there is an abundance of home grown talent we shouldn’t overlook.

Yes, we have the ‘big names’ whose work has even made it onto film, many of whom have even succeeded in writing in fairly broad Scots at times,  but look at this programme of events which includes 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.

Fortunately in this day of the e-reader, nothing beats a good picture book, especially if it floats in the bath, or has touchy feely characteristics and one of the highlights of the Book Festival is a pack of three free picture books, Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell and Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner, for all Primary 1 schoolchildren in Scotland.

The Festival has been coming together for months now (years if you go back to dreams) and part of this effort has featured
a collection of stories and poems written by a number of celebrities and ‘ordinary’ people, in association with BBC Radio Scotland and entitled My Favourite Place. 150,000 free copies are being given away at a number of interesting places, including Calmac Ferries but you can also read all the entries here.

The programme seeks to miss nothing and no-one and will also represent Scotland’s diverse communities. For example, 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, Shetland Arts is coordinating read-aloud sessions by local primary school pupils in care homes Scottish Refugee Council and Words per Minute are hosting a Live Literature event celebrating refugee writing.

So will it be just another Book Festival or will it be different enough to justify its budget? It certainly sounds fun so tell us what you think.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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