Getting ready for BOOKMARK 2017
Children enjoy authors’visits before the main festival
Excitement is building for the 2017 BOOKMARK festival, which takes place in less than two weeks time.
The Blairgowrie, Rattray and the Glens book festival gets under way next Friday, October 6 and features a range of wellknown and esteemed writers, including award-winning novelists Christopher Brookmyre and Rachel Crowther, Bloody Scotland crime writing festival co-founder Lin Anderson, former MP Alan Johnson, Great British Bake Off contestant Flora Shedden, Martin Bell OBE and former Edinburgh Makar Ron Butlin.
And as part of the build-up to the main event at Blairgowrie Community Campus, a pop-up shop has opened on the High Street in Blairgowrie.
The shop will be open until the festival itself and will be selling tickets for all the events as well as some books from previous BOOKMARK events such as the James Jauncey event in August.
Displays have also gone up in Blairgowrie Library and shop owners in the town are being encouraged to ‘paint the town red’ in celebration of the popular annual event.
Chair of the BOOKMARK festival, Janey Lambie, says that ticket sales for this year’s events are going well.
She said: “Alan Johnson is a big seller, closely followed by Martin Bell, so we would encourage people to get their tickets for those events in particular as soon as possible.
“We are really pleased with our new partnership with Horsecross this year, which has proved to be an easy and efficient way for people to buy tickets to the festival through our website and also at the Concert Hall in Perth.
“And we were delighted when Gwilym Gibbons, the chief executive of Horsecross Arts, announced last month that they would be happy to continue this partnership next year as well.”
As part of the run up to this year’s festival, the BOOKMARK committee is hosting a volunteers’ evening at Blairgowrie Library for the team of helpers who ensure that the event runs smoothly every year.
Janey went on: “The partnership we have with Blairgowrie Library is just brilliant as well.
“They have had displays of the authors’ books that they have available and are providing the venue for our volunteers’ evening.
“We are obviously in the same business of providing a service to people who want to learn and develop their own imagination so it is a natural partnership and hopefully it is encouraging more people to use the library.”
The festival’s authors in schools programme is also well under way in the run up to the festival, with three popular children’s authors leading sessions with hundreds of primary school pupils from across east Perthshire this month.
In the first event, held last week, pupils in primary three and four classes at four east Perthshire schools heard from Edinburghbased Mike Nicholson, who won the Kelpies Prize for new Scottish children’s fiction in 2005.
He chatted to the children about his Museum Mystery Squad series and signed almost 130 copies of his books for excited youngsters.
Liz Mason is the authors in schools coordinator for BOOKMARK.
She said: “Mike is a really lovely chap and gave a very energetic and interactive presentation with colourful graphics.
“The children thoroughly enjoyed the event and were all really good, asking interesting questions, and were delighted to get their new books signed by the author.”
BOOKMARK favourite Lari Don was back at the festival as part of the authors in schools programme, speaking about her Spell Chasers series to pupils in primary five, six and seven, and on Thursday Emily Dodd - one of the screenwriters for CBeebies science programme Nina and the Neurons - will speak to chldren in primary one and two about her new picture books.
Liz added: “This year, around 750 children in east Perthshire will have the opportunity to meet a real live author through this programme, which is just fantastic.
“We are very grateful to the Rotary Club of Blairgowrie for supporting the authors in schools programme this year, it is such a worthwhile initiative and one that we will certainly be looking to run again next year.
“Thanks must also go to Jaclyn Meikle and her team at Blairgowrie Community Campus, and to all the teachers and helpers from the participating schools for making it all possible.”
The BOOKMARK festival takes place on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7 at the Blairgowrie Community Campus.
Tickets are available now from Blairgowrie Library, phone 01250 871305, online at www.bookmarkblair.com, or from the shop at 17 High Street, which is open six days a week from 10am until 4pm until the festival starts.
Popular Author Mike Nicholson and Liz Mason, BOOKMARK authors in schools co-ordinator, with pupils from Kirkmichael, Newhill, St Stephen’s and Rattray Primary Schools. Picture by Richard Wilkins
Display Blairgowrie Library