Book festival opens new chapter

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The first Borders book festival created exclusively for young people saw more than 1,000 under-18s enjoy meeting and working with seven authors.

The events took place in Peebles at the Eastgate Theatre, the high school, primary schools and the local library.

Called Read-a–licious, the festival ran from November 25 to November 27 and celebrated both Peebles Creative Place 2014 and Book Week Scotland.

The authors taking part were Kenneth Steven – who said it was a sheer joy to read and tell stories with primary school classes – Lari Don, Dan Freedman, Vivian French, Lilian Ross, Barry Hutchison and Emily Dodd.

In addition,Edinburgh
illustrator Dave Sutton held 
a character workshop.

Dave, who is the illustrator for Mac and Bob, The Unexpected Visitor, by Borders author Alan Windram, said: “Thanks to everyone who came along...laughed at my drawings and created such amazingly idiosyncratic, wonderful and personal characters – and gave them stories.”

Dave also illustrated many of the sessions including Boogie with Books for pre-school children and Barry Hutchison’s Eastgate Theatre session when Barry explained the best thing about being a writer: “Well, I get to sit around and imagine a lot. I spend one hour writing and six hours imagining.”

Anyone expecting a book festival to be quiet and studious was in for a huge surprise as children interacted with the writers, sang in Scots with writer and performer Lilian Ross, danced with Alex Emerson at Boogie with Books, created
 a sound tunnel full of spooky sounds with Moira Morrison and generated a huge rhythm section playing on over
 35 drums led by Nomad Beat’s Alison Cameron.

As part of Book Week Scotland, first year Peebles High School pupils designed new covers for established or
imagined books. A judging panel led by Dave Sutton 
decided James Culshaw’s design for Adventures in Kowaehai was the one that best met the brief. James was awarded a signed book by Dan Freedman and vouchers for the theatre.

Read-a-licious was the latest event in the Peebles Creative Place 2014 calendar. Co-ordinator Alex Emerson said:“Read-a-licious brought a selection of the finest, most imaginative writers into our community and the response of our young people excited and inspired every one of them. The children taking part in the workshops were full of enthusiasm, fresh ideas and fun.

“I hope the Read-a-licious 2014 Festival is the first of many.”