Libraries and Festivals

Write to Excite - or Fright!

Had a really good morning at Larbert High School, where I was made very welcome by the pupils, staff and their Librarian Calum Smith, who had arranged the visit in the first place. Enjoyed sharing my ghostly secrets with the audience, and watching their eyes grow fixed and saucer-like with delighted fear when I read bits of DARKER ENDS to them in the dark. I love ending a short passage on a cliff-hanger, and then closing the book… They had so many questions, including one who asked “Is it worth it but?” and “How much do you get paid per book?” Ah, I can work that one out even though I don’t – strictly speaking – have a full Maths O Level. It’s 10%. 79 pence per copy!!!! Wooohoooo! Believe me, I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to be doing what I love, and what I have a passion for. Life is too short to spend it otherwise.

Also this spring time, I’m looking forward to taking part in the AyeWrite Festival in March – the big Mitchell Library Theatre is all mine for the day. I get to be all miked up again and speak to people on headsets looking serious. “Camera 2. Can we have camera 2!” I shall be strutting my stuff there on Friday 4th March to two audiences of wonderful Glasgow school-children, S1s and 2s.

Then in April we have the second Yay Festival for Scottish authors, schools, parents and teachers – the brain child of my dear friend Kirkland Ciccone, author of three YA books, the latest being NORTH OF PORTER. He had the brilliant idea to set up this first ever Book Festival for Scottish YA/Teen fiction, as the equivalent festival down south didn’t invite a single Scottish author. So, Kirkland thought, why not make our own? And he did! And he’s so good at it! He made everyone laugh as usual, and it was the best, most relaxed event I’ve been to. We all mixed in together, pupils and authors, drinking tea, eating sausage rolls, buying and signing books. I felt rather smug because I was in the inglenook, with a little stove next to me, and a coffee machine nearby, and I got to watch all the drama from my corner and chuckle to myself as voices were raised… in happiness and glee, I might add. It was great fun, and each author got to do their bit before 200 pupils in all.

Just want to add that without the efforts of such people, literacy for young people in Scotland would suffer, and at the risk of sounding repetitive, we truly NEED our librarians in schools, in local communities. Without them, we’re taking away a basic human right from the most vulnerable.

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