BOOKS: Free online events to mark Book Week Scotland

Above (top): Chris McQueer. Below: Graeme Armstrong; Sarah Jane Douglas; Peter May;  Tom Palmer;  Mandy Haggith; Jan Stepek; Denise Mina and Dumbarton and Vale of Leven libraries.

By Lauren Crooks

West Dunbartonshire Libraries and Cultural Services have organised a fantastic line-up of free online events to celebrate Book Week Scotland.

The packed schedule includes talks from popular crime writer Denise Mina and author Graeme Armstrong talking about his debut novel,  The Young Team, which looks  at growing up within a gang culture and drugs.

During the week – which runs between 16 – 21 November – book lovers will also have the chance to hear from novelist and poet Mandy Haggith, and Sarah Jane Douglas will talk about her powerful memoir, Just Another Mountain, which explores her and her mother’s personal journey with cancer.

Award winning author, Peter May will be discussing Lockdown, his highly prophetic crime thriller which predicted a world in quarantine and Martin Stepek will talk about Mindfulness as a way of coping with the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Younger residents will enjoy a talk from Tom Palmer on his latest book, After the War.  The novel  is based on the real life events around the child concentration camp survivors and Glaswegian writer and spoken art performer Chris McQueer  will talk about his writing career which started by creating short stories on Twitter.

Councillors Ian Dickson and Iain McLaren, of the Corporate Services Committee.

Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “This year’s events will be held online and I’m sure the exceptional mix of talented authors and inspirational speakers will attract a large audience. Having an award winning author and mindfulness teacher talking about how to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic will be a very popular topic given how our current lives are affected with the virus.   We are absolutely delighted to have two events this year for our younger audience and also welcome Sarah Jane Douglas who will give a very personal account of living with cancer.”

Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, added: “Once again we have a great range of talent lined up for this year’s Book Week Scotland sessions.

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus restrictions, all of this year’s events will be held online and residents will be able to catch the events at a time suitable to them.

 Our staff have done a great job in securing high profile speakers and award winning authors for the programme which will ensure the event’s  popularity continued. I would encourage residents to take the time to watch the great acts we have lined up. ”

Digital Book Week Scotland programme. 

Monday,  16 November 7pm Denise Mina will be  talking about her latest novel, The Less Dead.  Denise  is one of Scotland’s greatest contemporary crime writers and a favourite of our audiences. Her debut Garnethill was published to great acclaim and she has published 14 novels and also writes short stories, plays and graphic novels. A wonderful speaker as well as being a superb novelist – this is an unmissable event for all lovers of crime fiction.

Tuesday, 17 November, 7pm Graeme Armstrong will be talking about The Young Team, his extraordinary debut novel, which has been compared to Trainspotting. Graeme, originally from Airdrie, says his own teenage years were spent within North Lanarkshire’s gang culture. He was inspired to study English Literature after reading Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting at just sixteen. He defied expectations and studied English at Stirling University after overcoming his own struggles with violence and drug abuse. Graeme visits schools and prisons and promotes an anti-violence message as well as abstinence-based recovery. This is a great opportunity to hear from a wonderful new voice who genuinely is in touch with the harsh realities of life for many young people.

Wednesday, 18 November  7pm novelist and poet Mandy Haggith will be reading from her poetry collections. Mandy is a writer based in Assynt, in the north-west highlands of Scotland. Her work includes poetry, fiction and non-fiction and is mostly concerned with trees, bears and the sea. She has shot her video outdoors with the beautiful backdrop of Assynt – this will be a real treat for all poetry and nature lovers.

Thursday 19 November 2pm we are delighted to offer our schools a virtual author visit for Book Week Scotland with the wonderfully talented and inspiring Tom Palmer. Tom is the hugely popular author of many books featuring war, spies, history, the RAF, ghosts, detectives, rugby and football. His latest book, After the War, is based on the real life events around the child concentration camp survivors who came to the Lake District nearly 75 years ago, known as the Windermere Boys. With probing questions provided by our school pupils, we can’t wait to hear Tom talk about his books, writing, and of course football!

Thursday 19 November  7pm Sarah Jane Douglas will be in discussion about her powerful memoir, Just Another Mountain, which explores how she dealt with the loss of her mother to breast cancer at the age of 24 and then had to face the challenge of her own diagnosis 20 years later.  Sarah found solace in the Scottish mountains – you can now join her on her extraordinary personal odyssey.

Friday 20 November 2pm joining West Dunbartonshire Libraries and our associated secondary schools, for another of our digital events is Glaswegian writer and spoken art performer Chris McQueer. Chris began his writing career creating short stories on Twitter, which later led to the publication of his hugely successful books Hings and HWFG. With a dark humour, intimate use of the Scots language, and relatable subject matter he’s become a huge hit with teenagers and book group aficionados alike. Discussing his writing influences, his books, and more, this is sure to be a pure magic event with a gallus performer.

Friday 20 November 7pm Peter May will be discussing Lockdown, which is his highly prophetic crime thriller that predicted a world in quarantine: London, the epicentre of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus. Peter is the award winning author of the highly acclaimed and best-selling Lewis Trilogy and has sold more than 4 million copies of his books worldwide.  Saturday  21 November at 7pm Martin Stepek  will be talking about Mindfulness as a way of coping with the Coronavirus Pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all of us and many people are experiencing anxiety and stress. Martin is one of Scotland’s foremost teachers in Mindfulness and a published author in the field. He has been practising Mindfulness for over 20 years ago and teaching it since 2004. This event will be of value and help to every one of us who is struggling with these very challenging times.

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