Tag Archives: wee write

Children’s Book Festivals

One of the marvellous things about being invited to a book festival is meeting the organisers behind it.

Usually there is a small committee of dedicated individuals who come together as a team to bring books to young readers. Often there is a chairperson who helps keep everything flowing in one direction. Quite a tricky task when you think of the logistics. 

Folk organising Book Festivals manage to be in ten places at once, all the while never once complaining (in earshot), always smiling (in, er, eyeshot). This is quite an achievement. They also have the herculean task of remembering everyone’s names. Or correctly typing out millions of Name Badges. They must ensure we writerly types get to where we are meant to be. Plus keep us fed and watered, calm and focussed.

Some authors can be terrified of the whole ‘standing up in public’ thing, being introverts who’d rather hide behind words or the organiser. 

Occasionally, one or two authors can be grumpy ‘Do I really have do this?’ types. Known to grumble when asked to sign old copies of books that young fans bring in. They reluctantly read out a few sections from their books. Wearily answer ‘the same old questions‘, then scarper to the Green Room to eat all of the chocolate digestives.

The majority of authors get a buzz from interacting onstage with kids. By the end of each session, we are glowing with pride at a job well done. Whether performing in front of four kids or four hundred, we give it our all. Then collapse in a corner…and sign books. Then collapse in another corner.

I am blown away by the energy and enthusiasm that Book Festival volunteers bring to each Book Festival.

When organisers gather together the right mix of authors, illustrators, poets, storytellers, etc., they help generate a fabulous sense of ‘bookfestivalness’ – if that’s a word. (If it isn’t, it should be!)

Organisers lay the groundwork for this magic to happen. Which is why I thought I’d write a few words &  say a big

THANK YOU!

Islay Book Festival Postcard Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat
Islay Book Festival
Off The Page Book Festival Dunblane Stirling Library Service  Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat
Off The Page Festival
Reimagination Book Festival Edinburgh Book Festival Glenrothes Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat
ReimagiNation: Glenrothes
Ness Book Festival Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat Inverness
Ness Book Fest
TamFest Festival Kyle Centre Ayr Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat
TamFest
Byres Road Book Festival Glasgow Alan Dapre Childrens Author Porridge the Tartan Cat
Byres Road Book Fest

Wee Write! 2017 – Alan Dapre

wee write 2017 alan dapre
Back in 2015, I met the organiser of Wee Write! at an event where new books from Floris were being showcased. It seemed quite surreal to be chatting about half a dozen books I had not yet written. At that time, I was working on my first title – ‘Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Brawsome Bagpipes’ – and creating the style for the series.

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The six Porridge books can be read in any order, as they feature recurring characters but stand-alone plots.

Just before the first two books were launched (Feb 2017) I was invited to take part in the Wee Write! schools programme. A great idea that brings schools into the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. It costs schools nothing and the children get lots from the experience. A morning – or afternoon – off school to watch authors and, in my case, engage in some silly wordplay and enjoy plenty of interaction. Yes, if you come to my event then be prepared to volunteer.

Nearly 180 pupils, teachers and helpers filled a large space inside the library, overlooked by big windows and curious office workers. Helped by Janette (an experienced  librarian) and knowledgeable technical staff, I was able to prepare my presentation and props in no time at all. The worst bit was hanging around the back of the projector while I was being introduced. As ever, I couldn’t resist a bit of silly shadow hand puppetry and that got the kids laughing.

wee write book festival 2017 Alan Dapre author

The stage was set for me to start. I was soon chatting about how my Porridge books came about. I then gave the children wee snippets about characters – aided by Yuliya Simona’s brawsome illustrations – and introduced Porridge (in soft toy form).

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Plenty of noisy fun ensued with fast-paced tongue-twisters,

alan dapre tongue twister brawsome bagpipes porridge the tartan cat

and kids running about the stage sorting out muddled-up words. A lot of Porridgy goodness was somehow spooned into one hour. At one point, we created our own crazy competitions – aiming to be as daft as Gadget Grandad’s Scottish Shed Racing Championships. There was also a lively joining-in session where children danced around and mimed tapping along to a noisy tripe writer. Next we explored together facts that sound like a load of old (typed) tripe but are actually true!

floris, tripewriter, alan dapre, porridge the tartan cat,

The hour flew by and everyone was hoarse and happy by the time my event ended. A short Q & A brought out some very good questions. “What’s my favourite book?” I was asked. I replied that it’s any book that’s being read. Books are meant to be read, to stimulate and engage.

Judging from the reaction of staff and the kind comments afterward, the children went away motivated and excited. If libraries and authors can get children enthused by the written word then we are all onto a winner.

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Wee Write! is in someways an off-shoot of Aye Write! but it has its own special atmosphere. It offers a wee glimpse of the magic of books – and writing – to any kids (young or old) lucky enough to attend.

I loved it. Good job too because I did it all again that afternoon.

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