What to Love About Book Week Scotland

Fiona Hyslop and The League of Extraordinary Booklovers
Category: Reading

Book Week Scotland – our first national celebration of reading – will capture the country’s collective imagination this week.

Scottish Book Trust have created a diverse and innovative programme of events,  bursting with fantastic opportunities for everyone in Scotland to enjoy and celebrate reading.

From Kirkudbright to Kirkwall, there’s something to whet every appetite, regardless of age, ability or reading preference.

I’ll be taking a tour of Scotland through the pages of ‘My Favourite Place’ – the specially commissioned collection of excellent poems and stories written by the people of Scotland about their most-loved parts of our nation.

With a number of Burns events in my diary for January, I will be revisiting the work of our national poet and seeking out some of his best quotes.

Books are an art form in themselves but also can form memories for readers about where they are read.  I will be sharing memories with my younger son during Book Week Scotland, when I'll introduce him to my favourite children's book, The Last Wolf of Scotland by Michael Morpurgo.

I first discovered this brilliant book in Ullapool, bought it in the great book shop at The Ceildh Place, and read it to my older son, aged 5 at the time, in the upstairs lounge as we watched for the ferries to arrive.

I'll be asking the League of Extraordinary Book Lovers for advice, inspiration and recommendations on what to read next.

On St Andrew’s Day, I’ll be joining Scots up and down the country who plan to celebrate our national day by attending one of the many Reading Hour events being held throughout Scotland.

This weekend I’ll proudly attend the Mitchell Library’s pop-up book festival.

Book Week Scotland will be a truly inclusive celebration. It will encourage everyone in the country, of all ages and with all interests, to embark or continue on a reading journey – and in doing so, to embrace reading’s unique capacity for personal enrichment, education, solace, pleasure and growth.

Book Week Scotland will be a major highlight of 2012 – The Year of Creative Scotland, and a platform to celebrate our exceptional literary talent, our history of literary excellence and our rich culture.

The Scottish Government is firmly committed to increasing learning through the arts and culture, and to promoting the value of taking part in cultural activity.

Through Book Week Scotland, I hope to engage the whole of Scotland in these important aims.

Happy reading.

Favourites from the Culture Secretary's bookshelf

Fiona Hyslop's ten top texts

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
A Century of the Scottish People 1830-1950 - T.C. Smout
English History 1914-1945 - AJP Taylor
Vanished Kingdoms 'The History of Half-Forgotten Europe' - Norman Davies Allen Lane
To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora - T M Devine, Allen Lane     
The Last Wolf of Scotland - Michael Morpurgo
The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini Bloomsbury
Katie Morag and the Lost Teddy - Mairi Hedderwick. Published by red fox picture books
The Complete Works of Burns - published by Geddes and Grosset

Fiona Hyslop

Fiona Hyslop is Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.