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Glasgow set to celebrate its literary riches

Over 7,000 schoolchildren are expected to participate in Glasgow's first book festival, Aye Write!, which starts tomorrow.

The week-long festival, which is set to become a biennial event, celebrates writing and illustration, especially Glaswegian, and aims to encourage more reading, writing and creativity within all sectors of the Glasgow community, particularly children.

Glasgow schools will benefit from free workshop sessions with some of the leading writers and illustrators in children's literature, including Phillip Ardagh, Julia Donaldson, Frank Rodgers and G. P. Taylor. There will be more than 70 weekday sessions for schools, each lasting an hour.

Award winning author Alison Prince will talk to S1 and S2 pupils about her books and the process of writing and finding ideas. Glasgow writer Cathy Forde will talk to the same age group about the inspiration behind her latest novel, Skarrs, and how she got under the skin of a troubled teenager and former prisoner of war to write about their experiences. Juliet Gardiner will talk to older children of her research and writing on Britain during the Second World War.

Organisers at Glasgow City Council are confident the programme will be entertaining, inspirational and fun enough to engage young people, stimulate creativity and entice them to read more. At least 28 nursery schools, 42 primaries and 14 secondary schools have made bookings.

One of the festival themes is fairy tales, fantasy and magic, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.

The festival also includes a number of free film screenings for schools at the Glasgow Film Theatre. The films include Finding Neverland, an account of J. M. Barrie's creative journey to bring Peter Pan to life, Shrek, Big Fish, Pinocchio and Roberto Benigni's Italian (with English subtitles) version of Romeo and Juliet.

The festival is also being seen as an ideal opportunity to introduce children to the Mitchell Library, where most of the hour-long sessions will take place.

The council is funding school transport to the event as part of its Class Connections programme.

In addition to the weekday events for pupils, there will be puppet shows for after-school library clubs and weekend sessions for children, at a small cost.

The adults' programme of more than 60 sessions features a mix of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, screenwriting and graphic novels.

Speakers include William McIlvanney, Iain Banks and Louise Welsh.

Aye Write!, tel 0845 330

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