Friday, October 7, 2016

The Launch of Book Week Scotland

The day started here. My local train station at quarter to six in the morning.
On route to Edinburgh for the launch of book week!

And by mid day, we were sampling genre themed cake ( you do appreciate how hard I  research for this MIE blog and how I suffer). This was horror cake, you can just make out the teeth in the middle.

 At the mid day reception, we had aroma books.... here is the sign for the classic Sunset Song.

And here was the smell...  straw, fields, hay... it was all there.

So what were we doing? We were launching Book Week Scotland which runs from  21st -27th November this year. It celebrates  books and reading ..where ever you are. A bit like this blog. 
Obviously I have been involved in Book Week as a writer. It tends to be the week that we are out doing events every night, often turning it into a wee tour before heading home. The events are in libraries, well funded, well attended and always fun.

This year I was honoured to be an ambassador  for the event. That involved getting to Edinburgh very early in the morning and  posing around an old (1962) routemaster London bus. As you know, I was at Uni in London and spent many a journey hanging off the back of
these, swinging around, defying gravity and any health and safety regulations.

Look where the bus is going- Narnia, Baker Street and Neverland!

Graeme McCrae Burnet, Pamela Butchart and I had to give a wee speech once we got back to the reception. First we had a very welcome cup of hot coffee.  Rob MacDougall took the good pics, I took the dodgy ones.
As an ambassador we had two tasks. What book would we give the world? What reading dare would we set during book week?
Pamela is a children's writer. That is her in the foreground in the colourful dress, a dress made of pictures of sewing machines through the ages.
As a children's author, she choose the picture book about a cat that had been there 'all her life'. Her challenge was to read a picture book, everyday for a week.

Graeme, at the end - not running for the bus at all- chose a book full of stories, each of them three sentences long. His dare was to read out loud in a public place to the person sitting on your left. Indeed, there was a story teller in the lift at the reception, just reading out loud. We didn't want to leave the lift after the doors opened. We wanted to know what happened!

More cakes... a grey one for Goths and a bright red one for the crime writers.

And more cakes - romance with all those flowers? A poetry cake?

Some facts; over the last few years Scottish book trust have given away 938 852 books to encourage reading.  The website has had 2 million hits from around the world the social media presence grew to over 85 500. These are the people who ran our recent media lab. They are good!
And there is bookbug for the under 5's.
The new writers award; 91 one writers have benefitted from it, including yours truly. The money helped me travel back and forward to London at the start of my writing career.

 I listened to the stories with interest; Bookbug is for the under 5's. Every library here has a Bookbug corner but it also helps kids affected by parental imprisonment.  How better can a Dad bond with his child during their weekly family meeting other than reading to them?
And of course. Bookbug is not only about literacy, it's about neuroscience and understanding the world around us.
 Meanwhile, what was my book that I would give to the world? The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy of course. It has that stark warning in it; anybody capable of becoming president should automatically prevent them from being president...

And my dare? Was to give yourself time to read THAT book you have always wanted to read, and read it.  Them give it away to somebody, a complete stranger. I think that book for me might be Gorky Park. It's sitting on my bookshelf right now, shaming me!

So guess what I am off to do right now...

Caro 07 10 16


  1. My guess: you're off for a visit to the loo. Do I win? What's the prize? No, wait, I'm not sure I want to know. Just remember: the US Postal Service doesn't allow the mailing of hazardous materials.

  2. I'd love to be at one of these Scotland events. With Caro as guide, how could one go wrong?

  3. There I was trying to write a blog about books and writing and clever stuff. And it descends to toilet humour immediately. It's a good job I know my place!!!

  4. What a wonderful description of a critically important event. Can you all come to New York and teach us how to do it here. I despair for large tracts of USA ever wanting to encourage reading. But it would work in NYC, I think. To that end, I am forwarding this blog to the President of the Board of the New York Public Library.

  5. I loved Gorky Park, but somehow any park your busload of colorfully out-fitted, serious-minded, confection-oriented crew settles upon (to undoubtedly regale and terrorize the country folk), strikes me as the place to be. Viva Ambassador Ramsay.

  6. Love the reading week. Wish that happened in the States. Only we just commemorated Banned Book Week, a reminder of an awful occurrence here, where all books should be available to everyone.

    The Goth cake? Awesome.

  7. I would have loved to see the literary fiction cake. Still trying to imagine what it'd be.