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Press release: 2020 Scottish Book Trust Awards announced

Champions of reading and writing recognised across the country

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has announced the winners of the Scottish Book Trust Awards 2020. The awards recognise those who have inspired a love of books in children across the country through their hard work and commitment to building a reading culture in schools, libraries and the local community.

Author, poet and publisher Matthew Fitt has been honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award, in association with Browns Books for Students. He co-founded the award-winning Itchy Coo imprint eighteen years ago with author James Robertson, with the aim to produce high quality Scots language books for young readers. Matthew has also been recognised for his fantastic work in promoting Scots language across the schools of Scotland: in the last two years alone, he has delivered 64 Live Literature sessions visits to over 4,800 young people.

Matthew Fitt, winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award, said:

“I couldnae believe it. There’s surely hunners mair deserving writers oot there. But I’m very grateful to Scottish Book Trust for this. It’s an invaluable organisation that does so much to get kids reading. And it’s pure magic for Scots and a’ the braw bairns and weans that love reading in Scots to be recognised in this way.”

Yvonne Manning, Principle Librarian of Children’s Services for Falkirk Council, has been recognised with the Learning Professional Award, in association with Browns Books for Students. She was nominated for the award by her colleagues, who have described her as an “inspiration to all who work with her.” Yvonne’s passion and hard work has encouraged countless children across Falkirk to read for pleasure, which has also had a significant impact on every educational establishment in the Falkirk Council area. She will receive £500 worth of books to help continue her outstanding work within the library service and local community.

Yvonne Manning, winner of the Learning Professional Award, said:

“I’m completely thrilled and overwhelmed to hear that I had been chosen for the Learning Professional Award. I am passionate about literacy, especially the power of reading for enjoyment and storytelling, and to be given this recognition by the inspirational and wonderful Scottish Book Trust is something quite magical.”

The recipient of the inaugural Bookbug Hero Award is Myra Mains: Senior Library Assistant for Young People’s Services at Inverclyde Libraries. Myra was nominated by her colleagues and has been described as the ‘smiling face of Inverclyde libraries’. She was one of the first in her community to complete Bookbug training back in 2011, and since then has been programming and delivering sessions to their youngest citizens and their families, as well as mentoring and supporting other staff to do likewise and creating partnerships with other groups in the community. Myra has helped 6,053 Bookbug Sessions to take place in Inverclyde, sharing the benefits of stories, songs and rhymes with 184,073 children and parents.

The Bookbug Hero Award is run in association with Walker Books, and Myra will receive a bundle of picture books worth £500 to support her work with families and the local community.

Myra Mains, winner of the Bookbug Hero Award, said:

“I am absolutely delighted to receive the Bookbug Hero Award. It’s an honour to have been involved with the Bookbug Programme over the last 10 years. Sharing stories, songs and rhymes is fun but Bookbug is so much more: I love having the opportunity to play a part in sharing the many benefits Bookbug provides families, both in libraries and also when out and about working with partners. ”

Marc Lambert, CEO at Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Congratulations to the three winners of the Scottish Book Trust Awards 2020. Every year, we celebrate individuals who have impacted on their local community and beyond, inspiring readers and writers of all ages across Scotland. We would like to thank Matthew Fitt, Yvonne Manning and Myra Mains for being the pillars of reading culture within libraries, schools and communities.

Thanks also to our sponsors Browns Books for Students and Walkers Books, for making the Scottish Book Trust Awards possible.”

Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books for Students, said:

“Once again, it is such a honour to be a flagship sponsor of the Scottish Book Trust Awards! The work that the trust does in promoting literacy throughout Scotland is unparalleled and everybody involved in making these awards possible, this year in particular, should be extremely proud. Generations to come will remember this time not only for the good but will show and how everyone came together in communities all over Scotland, but how the promotion of reading for pleasure thrived and lives continued to be transformed from a socially acceptable distance.”

Jane Winterbotham, Publishing Director at Walker Books, said:

“Myra embodies the true sense of community that sharing stories can create, and has obviously played a key role in supporting a huge number of families in vulnerable situations. Her infectious passion for her role together with her dedication and hard work to improve children and young people’s lives, are humbling to see. We’re delighted to support the Bookbug Hero Award and recognise people such as Myra who are making a huge difference.”

Highly Commended

Learning Professional Award

Emma Philips, English Teacher at Dunfermline High School, was praised by her colleagues for her involvement with the First Minister’s Reading Challenge, and has founded initiatives such as Literary Nibbles, where pupils and their families are invited in to school to sample a range of reading options.

Bookbug Hero Award

Kirstie Burns, Volunteer Bookbug Session Leader in Renfrewshire was recognised for delivering Bookbug Sessions in her local library, which are adored by all the families who attend. Kirstie’s passion and enthusiasm for Bookbug has encouraged family bonding and created a love of stories, songs and rhymes for all the children who attend.

Ishbel Campbell, Volunteer Gaelic Bookbug Session Leader was praised for changing the lives of families on the island of Tiree through the delivery of Gaelic Bookbug Sessions in her spare time. Ishbel has brought families out of social isolation to engage with each other and create new friendships while enabling children to experience a new language through the use of stories, songs and rhymes.

Jodie Reeser, Family Support & Kinship Team Manager, Social Work in East Ayrshire has been instrumental in instilling the Bookbug ethos into the whole Children & Families team in her social work department in East Ayrshire. Jodie’s enthusiastic and positive approach has encouraged parents in the most difficult of circumstances to engage in stories, songs and rhymes with their children in a fun and nurturing manner.

Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests, please contact Keara Donnachie on keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 07956 773 749.