Bearsden Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson launches Wee Write!

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The author of children’s bestseller The Gruffalo yesterday launched Scotland’s first book festival for kids.

Julia Donaldson MBE unveiled grand plans for Wee Write!, Glasgow’s book festival dedicated to children and young people, at the city’s Mitchell Library.

The former Children’s Laureate, from Bearsden, also signed copies of books for fans as part of Book Week Scotland, which runs from November 25 - December 1.

Glasgow will host Wee Write! from March 5-11 next year and the new festival is expected to attract audiences of around 12,000 to more than 100 events.

The week-long celebration of books and reading has been created by the organisers of Aye Write! – Glasgow’s annual book festival which returns for its ninth outing next April.

Aye Write! has always included an exceptional programme of events for children, families and school pupils of all ages. But Wee Write! will be Scotland’s first major stand alone book festival for children, young people and families.

Mrs Donaldson, said: “I’m delighted to see this initiative coming from Glasgow Libraries service. All the children’s authors I know are great entertainers. Children love meeting them and are often then inspired to become lifelong readers. I think ‘Wee Write’ is a great name too!”

Karen Cunningham, Head of Libraries and Cultural Venues and Director of Wee Write!, said: “Wee Write! aims to make reading and writing fun for children, young people and families in Glasgow. 2014, when we host the Commonwealth Games, seems to be the ideal time to launch this exciting new festival. It is important that children and young people are at the centre of Glasgow’s celebrations.”

All Wee Write! events - with the exception of a huge World Book Day celebration - will take place at the Mitchell Library and many will be open to the public. Full details are to be announced in early 2014 when tickets will also go on sale.

Wee Write! will also include a free schools programme dedicated to engaging pre-school, primary and secondary pupils, and aimed at bringing books to life for a new generation of readers.

The programme will comprise an exciting range of inspiring author events such as the Biggest Book Show on Earth, celebrating World Book Day on March 6.

This single event, taking place at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, will see 2000 primary school children celebrate reading and books through a broad range of stimulating and imaginative activities including events with several renowned children’s authors.

Wee Write! will also host the awards ceremony for the 2014 Scottish Children’s Book Awards, another special event that will give school audiences the opportunity to engage with authors. The awards shortlist was voted for by school children, teachers and librarians. Shortlisted writers will be appearing on the day.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “It’s wonderful that Glasgow are launching, in this important year, Scotland’s first book festival dedicated entirely to children and young people’s reading. At Scottish Book Trust, we are delighted to be associated with Wee Write! when we host the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in the city on March 5, celebrating the best of Scottish children’s writing’

All the latest news about Wee Write! can be found online at www.ayewrite.com