Literary treasures at your finger tips

Denyse Presley

This year's Edinburgh Book Festival, from August 12-28, promises to be full of treasures. The festival is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson's birth in the city. Michael Morpurgo will give a tribute and the Ted Jacobs Band from California will present a musical interpretation of A Child's Garden of Verse.

Children will get the chance to design and produce their very own books and personalised bookmarks using an old letterpress printer.

In a series of discussions about formative books, called Writers as Readers, Helen Dunmore will share stories and recollections with Joan Lingard, who will be launching her latest novel, Natasha's Will. Poets also get in on the act. Roger McGough will eulogise about one of his favourite books, The Beat Scene. For younger poetry lovers, Michael Rosen will be launching his new collection, Centrally Heated Knickers.

Points North is the first in Egmont Books's new Blue Mammoth imprint. Dedicated to publishing Scottish stories, the anthology includes top Caledonian talent such as Candia McWilliam and Chris Dolan.

Dick Bruna, creator of that sweet rabbit Miffy, is now nearly 80 years old. He will be travelling from the Netherlands especially to be a the Edinburgh festival. As well as being involved in events for tots, the esteemed illustrator is due to attend an evening session for teachers.

If you are often faced with a room full of stroppy teenagers reluctant to pick up a book, Barrington Stoke may have the answer. It will be launching its new teenage list at an evening session presented by children's author Vivian French and Patience Thompson, for the publishers. The list features six titles by leading authors, including French and Bernard Ashley. All are written from a teenager's perspective and concern themselves with teenage anxieties, incorporating their own style of humour. Barrington Stoke recruited the design agency Navy Blue to create jackets which resembled mainstream adult fiction or CD covers.

Philip Pullman will be introducing The Amber Spyglass, the final part of his sophisticated trilogy His Dark Materials.

Entry to the festival is free. Discounts on books from the children's tent on presentation of a valid teachers' union card: 10 per cent off three to five books, 20 per cent off six or more. Festival brochure, tel 0906 553 5060 later this month; schools' guide, tel 0131 228 5444, fax 0131 228 4333.

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Denyse Presley

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