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More than just a book fest

THE WORD festival in Aberdeen goes from strength to strength, with a schools programme this year on May 8-10 leading up to the main event on May 11-13.

The festival attracts a line-up of 60 international and Scottish authors and poets in readings, lectures, debates, word and music events, children's workshops, art exhibitions and film screenings.

More than 10,000 visitors attend the weekend to see top names such as David Lodge, Lionel Shriver, Deborah Moggach and Louis de Berni res. Among them will be hundreds of children packing out the Storytelling Teepee and Imagination Tent for rhyme time, rap workshops or more literary laughs with writers such as Jeremy Strong and his killer tomatoes.

Interactive sessions from the Natural History Centre and TechFest will address the questions "Does anything eat wasps?" and "Why don't penguins'

feet freeze?". And top children's authors, including Julie Hegarty and Frank Rodgers, will lead colourful storytelling sessions with puppet shows and swashbuckling adventures.

In the schools programme, Julie Bertagna will cater for various ages on Tuesday to Thursday, with readings for P1-3s on The Ice-Cream Machine and a preview for S1-2s of Zenith, the eagerly-awaited sequel to her novel Exodus.

Debi Gliori will return this year to share her picture book No Matter What with the P1-3s and entertain P6-7s with tales of the bizarre Strega Borga clan from Deep Fear, one of last year's finalists in the Scottish Children's Book Awards.

Theresa Breslin will read to P5-7s from Dream Master and to S1-2s from The Medici Seal, an exciting tale of politics and intrigue in the world of Leonardo da Vinci.

Scots is particularly prominent this year, with Tuesday and Wednesday sessions for P5-7s on Fae aa the Airts: Tales tellt in oor ain Doric. And for secondary pupils hoping to get into print, the winners of Oor Wey O Spikin, the Scots essay-writing competition sponsored by The TESS, will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

* www.abdn.ac.ukword

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