Book Week’s Scottish digital festival returns

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former Scotland footballer Pat Nevin are just two of the big names taking part in this year’s Book Week Scotland Digital Festival.

Book Week Scotland’s award-nominated event will return for a second year, after the success of 2017’s inaugural virtual event programme.

After engaging over half a million people last year during the week that celebrates all things reading and writing, the charity Scottish Book Trust has unveiled a series of new and exciting online events taking place between 19-25 November 2018.

Things are even set to get rebellious this year, with a rabble-rousing line up as part of Book Week Scotland’s 2018 theme of ‘Rebel’. Featuring the First Minister, top football pundits like Pat Nevin and well-known authors and poets like Maggie O’Farrell, Joseph Coelho and Kevin Williamson, the week has as something for everyone.


On Monday 19 November, the week starts with a debut film from Scottish Book Trust showcasing the charity’s key areas of work. ‘I Read’ features a poem written by Edinburgh poet Tom Pow especially for the charity.

Then on Monday evening, ‘Scotland’s Greatest Football Rebel’ kicks off live at 7.30pm on Facebook. In partnership with Nutmeg Magazine, a panel including: Pat Nevin, former Scotland international and BBC pundit; Alan Pattullo, top Scottish sports journalist and biographer; Ginny Clark, former sports editor at Scotland on Sunday; Daniel Gray ‘Saturday, 3PM’ author, and Chris McQueer, rising star author of ‘Hings’ and ‘HWFG’, will debate who Scotland’s greatest football rebel is.

Poet Thomas Clark will also perform a selection of work inspired by the beautiful game. Online viewers will be able to interact digitally with the event throughout the evening and will be able to vote for their own greatest football rebel via Facebook Live. Buy tickets for the event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre here.


On Tuesday 20 November, Scottish Book Trust will encourage the public to take part in #BookWeekScotlandSpinePoem: can you spell out a poem by stacking your books? Send your pictures to @BookWeekScot on Twitter or Instagram (@scottishbooktrust).

In the evening, top poets Michael Pedersen, Tom Pow, Nadine Aisha Jassat and JL Williams will do battle. Starting at 7pm, the 2018 Book Week Scotland Poetry Slam with be themed around ‘Rebel’. Returning champion, Katie Ailes, will open the night. Hosted by Edinburgh City of Literature’s Sian Bevan at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, this promises to be a pulsating night of competitive live poetry. Viewers can tune in via Facebook Live.


It’s all about Wikipedia on Wednesday 21 November. Delphine Dallison, Wikimedian in Residence at Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), will host a livestream workshop about using Wikipedia like a rebel. Delphine will set tasks and answer questions from the public via Facebook Live from 11am.


On Thursday 22 November, schools across Scotland can tune into BBC Authors Live with Joseph Coelho from 11:am. The poet and author will share his picture book If All The World Were and will talk about how to create poetry. Classes can register via Scottish Book Trust’s website and can submit questions for the author through Twitter (#BBCAuthorsLive).

The winner of the Rebellious Reads of the 21st Century vote will also be announced via social media. With a record number of votes received this year, since the beginning of October, the public has been voting for their favourite non-fiction Rebellious Read of the 21st Century via Scottish Book Trust’s website. Titles in the running include Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey, I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla. Members of the public can continue to cast their vote until midnight on Wednesday 21 November.

In the evening, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell will be in conversation at an exclusive event at Stirling Castle. The event itself sold out 48 hours after tickets went on sale, but the public can still drop into this exclusive event online. The First Minister and Maggie O’Farrell will discuss what being a feminist means to them, and how their reading lives have shaped their identities. The event will be held in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), and Scottish Book Trust will live-stream the event via Facebook.

Former Scotland international winger Pat Nevin (left), pictured with Andy Murray (Photo: Pat Nevin/Twitter)


Pamela Butchart, award-winning children’s author of The Phantom Lollipop Man, will take part in a live twitter Q&A with primary schools at 10am via the First Minister’s Reading Challenge using #PamelaBookChat.

At 11.30am, author and illustrator of Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve, will take over. Tweet your questions to @philipreeve1 for our @FMReadChallenge Twitter Q&A tagged #PhilipBookChat.

Watch the ‘Story of Rebel Inc’ as Scottish Book Trust takes activist Kevin Williamson and writer Jenni Fagan around Edinburgh to revisit famous landmarks from one of Scotland’s most important literary magazines. Williamson launched Rebel Inc., which was one of the first places to publish Scottish writers such as Irvine Welsh, Laura Hird, Alan Warner and Toni Davidson. Later Williamson joined forces with Canongate Books to create the Rebel Inc imprint, which published 52 titles, mixing Scottish fiction with the international counter-culture and the politics of dissent. The video will be published across social media and Scottish Book Trust’s website.


On Saturday 24 November, Scottish Book Trust will search for your rebellious #HiddenBookTreasure. Tweet about an under-the-radar book that more people should really read using the hashtag, to @ScottishBookTrust.

Well known book bloggers will also share their Hidden Book Treasures: Simon Savidge, previous judge of the Costa Book Awards; Jen Campbell, poet and author of Franklin’s Flying Bookshop and Jean Menzies, podcaster of That’s Ancient History.

In addition to the Digital Festival, hundreds of free events and activities will take place all across the country for Book Week Scotland. View the full programme of events here.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘At Scottish Book Trust, one of our key aims as a charity is to create digital content that can be accessed by all. The Digital Festival allows us to reach a more diverse audience from the comfort of their own homes. We hope even more people will take part in the Digital Festival this year, and we look forward to the public’s interactions via our social media channels and website.’

Mairi Kidd, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, said: ‘The Digital Festival takes Book Week Scotland onto new platforms, meaning that more people across Scotland and further afield can join in with our national celebration of reading.

‘Getting to meet authors and illustrators can be a powerful way into books and the Digital Festival brings a host of amazing events right into readers’ homes, including the exclusive evening at Stirling Castle with Maggie O’ Farrell and the First Minister. It’s especially great to see the sport world getting in on the action, inspiring more Scots to give reading a try.’

Ali Bowden, director of Edinburgh City of Literature, said: ‘It’s fantastic that Scottish Book Trust run a Digital Festival as part of the Book Week Scotland celebrations. I love the variety of what’s on offer and that we can all be part of it, just by hopping online and firing in our questions and photos, and sharing our comments and thoughts.’

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £26,000 from SLIC, Book Week Scotland 2018 will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust from 19 November – 25 November.

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2018 and how you can get involved, visit where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area.