Book Week Scotland launches new Virtual Festival

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Category: Press Releases

Packed menu of online events includes Q&A with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

  • Watch Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Doug Johnstone play Cluedo
  • BBC Authors Live with Phil Earle
  • Cook-along videos inspired by Scottish literature
  • Live-streamed Poetry Slam programmed by Edinburgh City of Literature
  • Live Twitter Q&A with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 
  • Facebook live-steaming event with Bernard MacLaverty
  • Vlogger Unboxing Game featuring Jean Menzies, Simon Savidge and Jen Campbell

This year, Book Week Scotland will launch its first-ever Virtual Festival to run alongside the nationwide activities and events. Taking place from 27 November to 3 December, the week will be packed with free, digital events that everyone can enjoy and take part in.

The Virtual Festival will begin with Crime Writers Play Cluedo on Monday 27 November. Watch bestselling authors Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Doug Johnstone pit their knowledge of the criminal mind against each other. The writers will also discuss their own plots and favourite ‘whodunits’.

On Tuesday 28 November, Phil Earle’s event for P4 – S1 students will be broadcast live across the UK as part of BBC Authors Live. Phil will be speaking about his hilarious Storey Street books and offering his best tips on writing stories. The author will also answer questions from pupils across the country.

In the evening, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will take part in a live Twitter Q&A all about her love of reading. Members of the public can submit their questions via Book Week Scotland’s (@BookWeekScot) Twitter. Follow the Q&A by searching for #FMBookChat. Also on Tuesday, pull up a virtual seat for a battle of rhymes at our Poetry Slam, programmed by Edinburgh City of Literature, hosted by writer and comedian Sian Bevan and featuring poets Jenny Lindsay, Harry Giles, Andrew Blair and Katie Ailes. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook.

On Wednesday 29 November, cook along with The Edinburgh Food Studio as chef and co-owner Ben Reade creates a three-course meal inspired by Scottish literature: a starter from Peter Pan, a main course from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and for dessert, a Treasure Island theme.

On Thursday 30 November, tune in to BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth show to find out Scotland’s favourite song inspired by a book. Listen now to the ‘Top 40’ playlist on our website or Spotify: voting is open until Tuesday 28 November, 5pm.

On Friday 1 December, well-known book vloggers Jean Menzies, Simon Savidge and Jen Campbell will compete in an unboxing game. Each booktuber will have three sets of clues and must piece them together to guess the famous books, for points. Viewers can also play their own unboxing challenge on the Book Week Scotland website.

On Saturday 2 December, tweet your #BookWeekScotShelfie and show us your bookshelf to win prizes! Also, at 3pm, explore storytelling with Bernard MacLaverty with our Facebook Live broadcast from The Kelvin Hall.

Finally, on Sunday 3 December, we encourage you to switch off your internet, put your feet up and read a good book.

Book Week Scotland is now in its sixth year and is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing. In addition to the virtual festival, hundreds of events and activities will take place all across the country, during the week.


Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We’re delighted to add a digital strand to this year’s Book Week Scotland, and we have a fantastic line-up of authors and well-known personalities. Fitting perfectly with this year’s theme of Nourish, there is a feast of virtual events that are sure to cater to any palate. We hope to spread the celebration of Book Week Scotland through the power of social media and reach an even wider audience.”


Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said:

“Digital channels, from streaming to social media, are opening up access to literature for an ever-expanding audience and Creative Scotland is pleased to support Book Week Scotland’s first ever Virtual Festival. The range of events on offer – from bestselling authors to vloggers and streamed poetry slams – is enabling audiences from across Scotland and beyond to not only experience and enjoy live literature, but to actively participate. Scottish Book Trust aims to change lives through reading and writing, and this welcome digital addition to their highly successful Book Week Scotland programme allows the magic of books to enter into a broader spectrum of Scottish lives.”


Ali Bowden, Director of Edinburgh City of Literature, said:

“It’s fantastic to see Book Week Scotland events which can be enjoyed by people wherever they are. We’re excited about working with Scottish Book Trust to create the first ever Book Week Scotland poetry slam: it promises to be an excellent event which can be enjoyed by all our sister Cities of Literature online.”


Notes to Editors

For more information or images please contact Keara Donnachie, Press Officer, on or 0131 524 0184.

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 though 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


Book Week Scotland was initiated by the Scottish Government and is supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding, and £24,000 for events from Scottish Library and Information Council.

For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit Follow @BookWeekScot on Twitter, check out #BookWeekScot or ‘like’ the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.


Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and


The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information services. It leads the implementation of Ambition and Opportunity: A strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015–2020, develops innovative projects like Film Education in Libraries and provides support for libraries in the form of advocacy, consultation and research. It administers Scottish Government funding for public libraries (Public Library Improvement Fund) and funding for the wider library and information sector (Innovation and Development Fund). It supports public libraries to participate in Book Week Scotland by providing Scottish Book Trust with event funding for every public library service and Further Education College Libraries.


Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust

The City of Literature Trust is an independent company and charity in Edinburgh which was established following Edinburgh’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. The City of Literature title was devised by the Founding Trustees who conceived the title as permanent and non-competitive, recognising outstanding excellence in the field of literature.

The Trust runs campaigns and projects to shape and transform the literary city, and creates networks and spaces to connect people. Their aim is to ensure everyone everywhere has opportunities for literature to be part of their lives, creating learning, wonder and joy. The Trust generates creative and economic benefit for the city, and profiles Edinburgh internationally as a leading literary city.             @EdinCityofLit