Book Week Scotland & The League of Extraordinary Book Lovers

Yesterday morning I attended the launch of Book Week Scotland which was announced by Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Culture Secretary.

I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Miriam from the Istanbul Review dressed up as a member of the ‘League of Extraordinary Book Lovers’ (see below pic).  The League consists of members of all ages, from 5 to 75, who will appear in a puff of smoke on street corners handing out book recommendations during Book Week Scotland.

I quite liked the TV advert for Book Week Scotland which features locations in Scotland but with signposts for a number of well known fictional locations. The advert asks ‘Where Will You Go?’.

I for one can certainly recommend fictional worlds as an alternative to an expensive foreign holiday, it is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly and you don’t have to pay ridiculous roaming charges to get a 3G signal.

I even got given a ‘Krypton’ sticker perhaps due to my uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent (well, I wear glasses). Another thing I have in common with Clark is that he is apparently now a blogger. Yes, it’s being reported that he’s left the Daily Planet to start a blog, because DC Comics are keen to represent the real world in their latest storylines.

I hope they explain how he actually makes a decent living blogging, which has so far escaped me. But then he is Superman so he can probably type faster than me.

The Details

The event takes place between 26th November and 2nd December and is organised by the Scottish Book Trust who have made sure there are loads of ways to get involved.

They’re giving away free picture books to all Primary 1 schoolchildren in Scotland, and 150,000 copies of the book ‘My Favourite Place’ which is a collection of stories and poems written by Scottish people.

As well as contributions from some famous names, including Michael Palin and Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat (I wonder if it’s toned down from his usual work), many of the entries are the winners of over 1,000 entries to a creative writing competition on BBC Radio Scotland. You can read all the entries here.

Physical copies of the book will be distributed widely, including at Specsavers shops (!) and MSP offices across the country, and there will also be a free ebook and audio book. There’s also a national Reading Hour on St Andrew’s Day where people are encouraged to go to the library to show their support for reading.

For more info see the Scottish Book Trust website.

 Update: Let me know in the comments ‘where you will go’ for Scottish Book Week (thanks to Pauline from SBT for asking first!)

North Edinburgh News – Social Media Workshops (#NENgage)

NENgage is “a new social media project which offers free training to community groups, local citizens and activists in how to use social media and online tools” in the Inverleith area of Edinburgh.

It’s being funded by local news publication The North Edinburgh News and lead by multimedia journalist Tom Allan and multi-talented writer/presenter Emily Dodd, both of whom regularly work for the BBC and a number of other organisations.

I’m volunteering at two of the sessions, and also helped Tom and Emily film four short videos to promote the events – you can see the first two of these below.

The other volunteers helping out include my pals Blythe and Miriam from Lunchquest/The Istanbul Review on the 6th, and Michael MacLeod from STV Local (and previously The Guardian Edinburgh) on the 13th.

I believe there are still places left for both of these workshops so if you’re based in North Edinburgh, particularly the Inverleith area, do come along!

Sharing Your Story – An Introduction to Blogging – 6th September 2012

Go here for more info and to sign up.

Video Blogging: Inverleith Flash Mob – 13th September 2012

Go here for more info and to sign up.

Edinburgh Freelance Fridays – Tweet for a Treat!

Edinburgh Freelance Fridays is a monthly night arranged by local freelancer Emily Dodd and held at Sofi’s Bar in Leith. I’ve been along to a few of them and always had a good time.

It’s an informal social gathering which is open for anyone who freelances whether full or part-time. In the video below, a short extract from the Ditch the Day Job Diaries Episode 7, Emily talks about how the idea came about.

This week I will be hosting the event from 5:30pm onwards at Sofi’s so I would love to see you there! Not only that but  Sofi’s will very generously be giving away a free Tunnock’s Teacake to anyone who tweets about the event and uses the hashtag #edff and mentions @sofisbar in the tweet. And don’t worry, Emily will still be attending – she’ll be along a little later on.

If you’ve been before and enjoyed it you could tweet about the event beforehand (hint retweeting this post counts but don’t forget the hashtag and to mention @sofisbar), or if you’re there and having a good time you could tweet on the night. Either way, you will get a tasty treat :)

For more details see Emily’s blog. She has also interviewed a number of local freelancers, some of whom are regulars at the event.

You can also read Emily’s Clear-Minded Creative Types interview on this blog.

Fight for Creative Freedom in Edinburgh!

I recently left my full-time job because I wanted more creative freedom. However here in Edinburgh we are being threatened with new laws which could completely limit the ability of artists and DIY promoters to put on events, even if they’re free. Please sign the petition and help us let the council know this is not acceptable.

Below is from the organisers of the petition – I have copied and pasted it verbatim because I couldn’t improve on it:

Tomorrow, City of Edinburgh Council will decide whether to introduce a licence fee on small-scale free events that previously did not need one.

Thanks to you and 17,000 others who have signed Kris Haddow’s petition, Glasgow announced they will not be introducing licence fees for public events which are temporary or free of charge.

But Edinburgh Council have been stalling and will make a decision at their committee meeting tomorrow.

Will you help tell Edinburgh to scrap the arts tax? There are four things you can do right now:

1. Send a tweet to Edinburgh Council – just click the link below:
.@Edinburgh_CC Please support Edinburgh’s grassroots arts and culture – #ScrapArtsTax at tomorrow’s council meeting

2. Send a Facebook message: type “@The City of Edinburgh Council” into your Facebook status update and select from the list that appears. Then write a message asking them to scrap the arts tax tomorrow.

3. Not on Facebook or Twitter? Please continue to share the petition via email – with every new signature, Scottish Councils & the Scottish Government receive a message calling for them to scrap the arts tax.

4. If you live in Edinburgh: contact your local councillor to tell them to scrap the arts tax.

Enforcing a licence on free entertainment could cripple grassroots arts and culture in Edinburgh, a city internationally renowned for its Fringe Festival and arts heritage, at a time when under-resources artists are already striggling to raise funds.

Thanks for being part of this,

– Brie and the Change.org team

PS – If you want to stay up-to-date with the campaign to stop the arts tax in Scotland you can join the Facebook group that’s been started here.

Also if you’re in Edinburgh tomorrow night and are a freelancer, why not go along to Edinburgh Freelance Friday, organised by Clear-Minded Creative Type Emily Dodd. It’s always a good night. Unfortunately I can’t make it this time but will be around for the next one.