Monday, 4 August 2008

The Book Festival and beyond

Hi All – I’m Jasmine and I organise events and tours here at the Scottish Book Trust.

When we go on tour during the year with an author or illustrator, we do spend a lot of time with them. It’s great, because normally we get on really well. But imagine spending 12 hours a day with somebody you have never met before (also imagine that from the author’s point of view!), there are times when you run out of things to say. That’s where reading comes in handy. You can just read the author’s book(s) and have lots to talk about. Not that you wouldn’t read that particular book anyway, but it gives you a reason to read it NOW instead of letting it sink to the bottom of the ocean of all the books ‘I really wanted to read but did not get time to’.

I really like my job. Think of all the questions you might have about an author or their work; you would normally have to ask in front of lots and lots of people after an event. I can just ask them on the drive to the venue, over lunch or dinner, or just during the set up and sound check or waiting for the audience to sit down. You really get to know the author a little bit better.

July and August are quiet months when it comes to tours and events – the schools are on summer holidays. There is, however, the fantastic Edinburgh International Book Festival to tide-over anybody who can’t live without live literature. And because they bring such great authors to Scotland, we all thought it would be a shame not to show them some other parts of the country! That’s why Scottish Book Trust got together with Sara from the Book Festival and we came up with the Outreach Programme, taking six authors out of Edinburgh on six different days to do events in schools round the country – hopefully to a place near you!
Some of the books I have read in ‘preparation’ for the Outreach Events have already provoked lots of questions. Take Sophie McKenzie’s new book Blood Ties. It’s a fast-paced thriller about a boy trying to run away from the bodyguard he does not even know he needs (and that’s only the beginning). Why did Sophie chose a boy and a girl as main characters? How much research did she have to do for the book? Or Blood Child by the award-winning Tim Bowler – a novel about a boy who lost his memory, and is scared of what he finds out about himself. Has Tim based the plot of the story on a real event? How involved is he in the design of the covers of his books? Even TIM, Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven – a brilliant read that celebrates the destruction of London (to save the world, of course!). Why does Sam want to destroy a city so badly? How come the first defender of the world was a giant Kraken, but the next one is a dinosaur?

I have only mentioned a few, but if you want to know more about the authors we are taking on Outreach, have a look here. If you're curious about the answers, get in touch – I’ll let you know.

Children's Programmer

Interesting observation of the week:The biggest Christmas seller has already been found – 4 months before Christmas! JK Rowling’s Beedle the Bard is already in’s number one spot! If you are after another bestseller and can’t wait until Christmas, what about teenage author Stephanie Meyer’s new book, Breaking Dawn? It’s the fourth book in her fantastic Twilight Saga. Have a look.

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