Over 200 Book Festival events for young people

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The 2018 Edinburgh International Book Festival has begun, and alongside the programme for adults the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme is back with a huge range of events for children and young adults, including performances, workshops, picture books, readings and storytelling.

In keeping with the Book Festival’s Freedom theme, the programme will see guests as diverse as Chelsea Clinton (above left), Michael Morpurgo (above centre), and the family of Nelson Mandela (including Zindzi Mandela, pictured above right) taking part in events designed to challenge young audiences and explore the concept of freedom.

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

This year’s theme of Freedom is particularly pertinent to children and young people. Freedom - or its curtailment - is often the core of much of the fiction for youngsters as characters test boundaries, explore their worlds, define their identity, face challenges and overcome fears often reliant on their own resourcefulness.
Across the programme we explore all this from picture books to performances, debates to workshops. Children today have the freedom to read across platforms, genres, cultures, fiction and non-fiction some of the best contemporary writing. It’s a hugely exciting time for children’s books and we are very excited to have so many excellent authors join us to meet their reading public.

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Highlights from the programme include events celebrating the contributions of women and exploring the fight for equal rights. Chelsea Clinton, Holly Webb (above left) and David Roberts (above right) will each appear to discuss their books, while a free drop-in event entitled ‘Votes For Women’ will encourage children to craft their own sashes, placards and rosettes in this centenary year for women’s suffrage.

Another centenary being marked in the children’s programme is the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. My Grandad, Mandela, co-authored by Mandela’s daughter Zindzi and great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziweline, answers 15 questions from children about Mandela’s time in prison. The Mandela family will visit the family unit at HMP Shotts for a special event for inmates and their families.

In a celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, the Codename F strand of the children’s programme has been co-designed by a group of young programmers aged 8-14 from schools in Edinburgh’s Craigmillar. The project, which is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 fund and managed by EventScotland, will include appearances from David Walliams, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and more, as well as a day of drop-in activities which aim to challenge perceptions of how children and young people engage with society.

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Elsewhere, a range of events for teenagers and young adults will see the appearance of Juno Dawson (above left), whose latest novel Clean explores heroin addiction, and radio/TV presenter and writer Gemma Cairney (above right).

A debate between award-winning writers Steven Camden, Brian Conaghan and Jason Reynolds will discuss the pertinent issue of the importance of writing sensitive male characters. And a series of events for young adults with learning disabilities includes a sensory drop-in event and a specially created Sensory Verses event with poet James Carter.

Over 200 events are taking place across the Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme, catering to children and young adults of all ages, abilities and interests. 

Edinburgh International Book Festival runs until 27 August - find full information and book tickets at edbookfest.co.uk

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