Book Festival launches 2018 Schools Programme

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As Scotland's Year of Young People continues, the Edinburgh International Book Festival has launched its 2018 Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, with a challenge to pupils to consider the concept of Freedom.

Running alongside the full Book Festival, the Festival's School Programme (20-28 August) features a wide range of great events for school children from P1 to S6. Topics covered will include the environment and the oceans, vampires and fairy tales, and graphic novels and comics. The programme also includes a fully interactive event specially created for pupils with severe learning disabilities.

Janet Smyth, Children & Education Programme Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: 

The Baillie Gifford schools programme is the single most effective way the Festival has of reaching readers from across Scotland and from all backgrounds and introducing them to the power of stories and the joy and excitement of a live author event.

Last year's Schools Programme welcomed nearly 15,000 school pupils, teachers and helpers from across Scotland and the North of England, and organisers are hopeful of another huge success this summer.

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Big name authors lined up for the programme include David Walliams (above left), Emily MacKenzie (above centre), Ade Adepitan (above right), David Almond, and Francesca Simon who will be taking on the Vikings as one of a number of authors bringing history to life for schools audiences. Terry Deary (Horrible Histories) will be exploring the First World War, while Theresa Breslin looks at Mary, Queen of Scots. There will also be lots of laughter with the likes of Tracey Corderoy, Steven Butler, Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick featured.

Performance poet and musician James Carter will also be appearing, including at an event for pupils with severe learning disabilities, featuring a gentle but fully interactive presentation of rhythmic poetry.

Marking the Year of Young People, the concept of Freedom forms a major part of the Schools Programme, in a strand created in collaboration with young people from Edinburgh's Craigmillar area. Julia Green and Elizabeth Laird will feature at a special event for P6-S1 pupils, while aspects of Freedom will also be explored by writers such as Brian Conaghan, William Sutcliffe, Jason Reynolds and Amnesty International.

On 28 August, the Book Festival's Charlotte Square Gardens site will be opened exclusively for Primary School groups in the Baillie Gifford Schools Gala in an end-of-festival opportunity for young readers to take over from the grownups. Throughout the Schools Programme, schools can purchase discounted books in advance of their visits, and the Festival’s Baillie Gifford Transport Fund is available to schools that need financial assistance to apply to have their travel costs reimbursed

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Every pupil attending a Book Festival Schools Programme event will also receive a £3 book voucher to use in the Festival's extensive bookshops, including the UK's largest specialist children’s bookshop.

The vouchers are made available through the support of Baillie Gifford and the firm's Sponsorship Manager, Samantha Pattman said:

Through our sponsorship of the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme, The Book Festival is able to provide schools from all over Scotland with high quality educational experiences which enthuse children and young people about books and reading, in turn supporting their learning.
Via the provision of the Baillie Gifford Transport Fund we are also committed to removing financial barriers to attendance, while sponsorship of the Baillie Gifford Schools Gala Day will enable us to provide a truly memorable, interactive experience for over 3,000 primary school pupils.

To ensure that no-one misses out, Edinburgh International Book Festival is fully accessible and the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme is open to all students. There is a Changing Places Toilet on site and all venues and bookshops are wheelchair accessible and infra-red audio loops for students with hearing difficulties are available. The Festival can also provide a British Sign Language interpreter given prior notice.

Janet Smyth added: 

During the Schools Programme, Charlotte Square Gardens is alive with young voices discussing books, writing, ideas and which flavour of ice-cream to enjoy - essentially making it the perfect school trip.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival Schools Programme takes place from Monday 20 August to Tuesday 28 August and more information can be found at

The Festival's public programme runs from Saturday 11 August to Monday 27 August with full details to be announced on Thursday 7 June 2018. Further information can be found at

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