Books - Book Week Scotland

On the first day of Book Week Scotland 2016 (21-27 November) yesterday, Scottish Book Trust  shone a spotlight on the reading habits of the nation...

Book Week Scotland, the nation’s fifth celebration of books and reading, got underway yesterday by announcing the results of a recent Ipsos MORI Scotland survey of 1,000 adults, which showed that just over 1 in 4 Scots (27%) who read for enjoyment said that crime/thrillers, books which fictionalise crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives topped their choice of reading or listening genres. The next most popular genre were science fiction/fantasy and biography/autobiography, both at 10%, followed by historical fiction at 9%.

While the crime genre was the most popular among readers of all ages, the second most popular genre among young readers (aged 16-34) was science fiction/fantasy (15%), while readers aged 55 and over chose historical fiction as their second preference (14%).

The survey also revealed that eight in ten Scots (79%) read or listen to books for enjoyment and that 39% do so either every day or most days. Additionally, among those who read or listen to books for enjoyment, 50% read or listen to more than 10 books per year.

Of those people who never read or listen to books for enjoyment, 71% said that they have read a newspaper in print over the past 3 months.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “It is hardly surprising that the country which gave us Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Iain Banks, Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre and many others has bred a generation of crime enthusiasts. We are a nation bursting at the seams with hard boiled literary talent, and if recent releases such as His Bloody Project are anything to go by, that isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

“It’s also very heartening to see that almost half of Scottish people read a book for pleasure most days or every day. Reading has many proven health benefits, not least stress reduction and memory improvement, but above all it is a really enjoyable pastime. Whether you like to read books, magazines, blogs, newspapers or comics, use Book Week Scotland as the opportunity to cement your reading habit and to try something new.” 

Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust aim to deliver a feast of activities and events across the country this week, all rooted in the central theme of Discovery. The key focus of the week will be a rich and varied events programme for all tastes and ages. Author events will abound with the UK’s best-loved writers and illustrators visiting libraries in every local authority, a programme funded by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), and appearances from Lisa McInerney, Jenni Fagan, Jill Mansell, Simon Scarrow, Isabel Greenberg, Clare Mackintosh, Jodi Picoult, Alexander McCall Smith, whose event is programmed by East Lothian Libraries, and Liz Lochhead and Christopher Brookmyre, whose events are programmed by Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival. Well-known personalities such as Nick Crane and Tony Robinson will also make special appearances in locations across the country, and Will Self will appear at a sold-out event in Glasgow, discussing the Science of Stories.

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of SLIC, said: “Scotland’s public libraries attract over 40 million visitors every year so it is not surprising that the Book Week Scotland events in libraries attract top authors and large audiences. All 32 local authority library services have pulled together a stellar line up with Jodi Picoult, Alexander McCall Smith and Jenni Fagan amongst others making appearances. For the first time this year the Scottish Library and Information Council is also supporting Book Week Scotland events in Further Education College libraries with Christopher Brookmyre and Tom Foster in this line up. Book Week Scotland sees library users celebrate their love of reading within their local communities. The Scottish Library and Information Council is pleased to work with Scottish Book Trust to deliver events in libraries to further interest people in their reading journey as part of Book Week Scotland.”

As part of the theme of discovery, a brand new Book Generator quiz is now available on the Book Week Scotland website, enabling participants to uncover the perfect book match for themselves or the ideal present for a friend.

Booklovers far and wide can also take on a Reading Dare, with the joint aim of helping others to begin or continue their reading journey, and of challenging themselves to try something new. Those who need some inspiration can visit to try out the Reading Dare randomiser, which might suggest anything from gifting a book to a stranger, to proposing to the person you love with a line from your favourite poem.

To ensure that Book Week Scotland is accessible to as wide a range of people as possible, there will also be an outreach programme working with 20 local and national organisations. These partnerships will be tailored to specific audiences, and will include Dyslexia Scotland, the Scottish Prison Service, 5 local authority Community and Learning Development teams and organisations like Fare Scotland, Sunny Govan FM, the Maker’s Bistro, Open Book and many others. Participants will take part in a range of activities including finding out what friends and family like to read and gifting a specially chosen book, running book/film discussion nights, sharing and celebrating adult learners’ reading achievements, running a “write to recovery workshop” to encourage people to use creative writing to improve mental wellbeing and a “Reading, Writing and Self-Management” event to celebrate people using reading and writing to manage their long term health conditions.

For those who have an interest in discovering new writing talent, 150,000 free copies of a short story and poem collection written by the people of Scotland, Secrets and Confessions, will be handed out this week via libraries, bookshops and other outlets or it can be downloaded FREE as an e-book here.

School pupils across the country can also get into the Book Week Scotland spirit, with the three free picture books shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize gifted to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland in the Bookbug P1 Family Bag, and free bags of books, writing materials and counting games gifted to all Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils. The bags, produced in partnership with Education Scotland and Scottish Government as part of Read, Write, Count, provide fun materials for children to share their learning at home. Additionally, children in schools across the country can tune in to watch award-winning children’s author and Ruby Redfort creator Lauren Child in a special free Authors Live webcast on Thursday at 11am. Several secondary schools will also enjoy a personal visit from hip hop artist Dave Hook of Stanley Odd fame, who will tour schools around the country during the week.

The week will conclude with the unveiling of the nation’s 10 favourite Scottish book to screen adaptations – will cult movie Trainspotting triumph, or will Robbie Coltrane’s Gruffalo snap up the top spot? Voting is open until 5pm GMT tonight at – film, TV and book fans can choose their number one page to screen adaptation from an eclectic shortlist of 40.

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2016 and how you can get involved, visit, where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area, vote for your favourite book to screen adaptation and discover all sorts of ideas to help you celebrate and share whatever it is you love to read.

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported, along with a Reading Champions programme in libraries, by £200,000 from Creative Scotland, Book Week Scotland is planned and delivered by Scottish Book Trust. Book Week Scotland in public libraries and Further Education College libraries is funded by the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Images - Book Week Scotland, Creative Scotland
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