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Press release: Book Week Scotland launches 2020 programme

Book Week Scotland will take place Monday 16 November - Sunday 22 November 2020

Scottish Book Trust has today launched Book Week Scotland’s 2020 programme, which focuses on the theme of Future. Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has worked closely with partners to ensure the celebration will go ahead this year in a digital format due to the current pandemic.

Book Week Scotland is the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing and it returns for its ninth year from Monday 16 November to Sunday 22 November. Although there will be no face-to-face events this year, the Digital Festival(this will open in a new window) has a stellar line-up including award-winning author Denise Mina; actress and comedian Ruby Wax; bestselling crime writer Louise Welsh and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

To kick off the programme, writer Luke Winter joins Book Week Scotland for Dial a Story, a live writing service that will take place in Edinburgh on Monday 16 November. Stationed at the Scottish Book Trust phonebox, Luke will be available to write personalised stories on his typewriter, which will be mailed to the participant. Members of the public can call Luke on 07818 173 266 between 11am and 2pm.

There will also be the opportunity for the public to take part in an online treasure hunt via Scottish Book Trust’s social media for the chance to win a Zoom appointment with Luke Winter. During the session, he will write a unique story for the winner: a perfect Christmas present for a loved one or friend.

An avid reader herself, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will join #BookShelfChat: sharing favourites from her own bookcase. The public are also encouraged to join in on Tuesday 17 November by sharing photographs of their own bookshelves using the hashtag.

Libraries and community groups across Scotland are also taking part in Book Week Scotland, with digital events in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.

50,000 free copies of the Future book, which includes real life stories from people around the country, will be available from libraries and other community venues during Book Week Scotland. A selection of 30 stories are featured in the book, which also includes work from author Abir Mukherjee of A Rising Man and poets Romalyn Ante of Antiemetic for Homesickness and Dean Atta of Black Flamingo.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Book Week Scotland will look different this year. However, we’re still excited to present a diverse and engaging programme with some of the biggest names in the Scottish literary scene and beyond. Whether it is joining our Digital Festival, reading the Future book or voting for the novel that sums up 2020, we hope everyone is able to take part this year in some form. Thanks also to our partners for working hard to make Book Week Scotland possible despite the difficulties.”

Viccy Adams, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland said:

“Book Week Scotland connects people and communities across the country with the joys of reading for pleasure every year and sparks the imagination of the nation. In these difficult and uncertain times, this programme will help people access the solace and support that books bring into our lives and homes."

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) said:

“SLIC is delighted to support Book Week Scotland. The power of literature has never been more important than in 2020. While library buildings may have closed during lockdown, readers still managed to turn to books as a welcome escape from the pressures of the pandemic and we witnessed an unprecedented spike in downloads of our digital reading resources. As such, I’m sure there will be a big appetite for Book Week Scotland’s Digital Festival. Libraries across Scotland are enthusiastically planning online content. There are some terrific names on the programme and it will provide the perfect opportunity for people of all ages and interests to engage, learn and be inspired by the joy of reading.”

Book Week Scotland event highlights

Monday 16 November

11am – 2pm: Luke Winter will be available via telephone (07818 173 266) or by visiting the Scottish Book Trust phonebox (George IV Bridge, outside Bank of Scotland). The event will operate within COVID-19 restrictions.

12.30pm: Scottish literature and slavery – a walk along tour with the Edinburgh Caribbean Association. Lisa Williams, director of ECA takes playwright and poet Hannah Lavery on a literary-inspired tour of the capital city. The event will explore Edinburgh's deep connections with Africa, Asia and the Caribbean from the 16th century to the present day.

Tuesday 17 November

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins #BookShelfChat with a tour of her bookshelf.

8-bit game ‘Robert Burns Saves the World’ featuring Scottish literary characters launches – play as Jackie Kay, Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson, Nan Shepherd and many more notable figures.

8pm: Comic writer Neil Slorance hosts Comic Jam via Twitch.

Wednesday 18 November

Book Week Scotland vote result announced: if 2020 was a book, what would it be?

12.30pm: Author Ross Sayers has a rallying cry for young writers in a new film.

8pm: Award-winning author Denise Mina in conversation with Red Handed, true crime podcasters Suruthi Bala and Hannah Macguire.

Thursday 19 November

12pm -2pm: The popular #ReadingLunch returns! The public are encouraged to post their lunch and their current read on social media with the hashtag.

4pm: Writing The Cutting Room: a film premiere featuring behind the scenes stories from Louise Welsh’s debut, award-winning novel.

8pm: New Suns, Different Futures Faridah Àbíké-Íyímíde and Andrea Hairston, chaired by Nyla Ahmad, discuss the anthology which showcases emerging and seasoned writers of colour telling stories of speculative fiction.

Friday 20 November

10am: Punching the Air: award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Dr Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five discuss their powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated – chaired by award-winning author Patrice Lawrence.

12.30pm: See You in 10 Years: a film exploring the journey with Scottish Book Trust, patron Val McDermid and National Library of Scotland, who have worked together to develop a time capsule that will include writing from young people of Scotland. Glasgow Artist Ali Forbes has been commissioned to design the capsule.

4pm: Big Book Week Scotland quiz: join Scottish Book Trust for this fun literary quiz to fundraise for the charity.

Saturday 21 November

#BookSwoonScotland: join in online and post the best book covers you own.

4pm: Writing Disabilities in Fiction: author Ever Dundas and crime writer Nell Pattison discuss the barriers they have faced during publication and what equals good representation in fiction.

Sunday 22 November

10.30am: Futures, Connecting and Faith with author Leila Aboulela and poet Nadine Aisha Jassat.

4pm: To the Future with Love – actor and comedian Ruby Wax ends the week on a high with historian and author Rutger Bregman, hosted by writer Heather Parry.

On all week

The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour will run from Monday 16 – Friday 20 November with Robin Stevens, author of the best-selling Murder Most Unladylike series. Robin will be beaming digitally into 60 schools across 22 Scottish local authorities. For schools not attending the virtual tour, they can still take part on Twitter with a murder mystery takeover including fun activities for the classroom.

British sign language and closed captions will be available for all the panel events.


Notes to Editors

Please direct all media requests to PR and Marketing Manager: Keara.Donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or call 07956 773749.

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust runs Book Week Scotland. A national charity changing lives through reading and writing, Scottish Book Trust inspires and supports the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Book Week Scotland

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £24,000 from SLIC, Book Week Scotland 2020 will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust from 16 November – 22 November.

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2020 and how you can get involved, visit www.bookweekscotland.com(this will open in a new window) where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area.

Creative Scotland

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.

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC)

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), for school libraries (School Libraries 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.