An average day working at the Scottish Book Trust feels like quite an indulgent and exciting experience, as I get to talk about, and encourage other people to get involved in, two things I love very much: reading and writing. As PR Assistant for the Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour, it's easy to be enthusiastic about the work done to bring authors into schools with the aim to inspire young readers and writers. However, it's not every day I get to announce that a Children's Laureate is joining the tour, meeting and speaking to teenagers across Scotland and providing them with a very memorable experience.
As part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour, run by Scottish Book Trust, Malorie Blackman will take part in a series of free events for young people across Scotland. She will be discussing some of the issues that she has tackled in her work, such as racism in her 'Noughts and Crosses' series, war in 'Noble Conflict' and teenage pregnancy in 'Boys Don’t Cry' and its companion novel, 'Heart Break Girl', soon to be released on the 22nd May.
Malorie has used science fiction to explore social and ethical themes, most notably in her 'Noughts and Crosses' series, which depicts a fictional racist dystopia. In this alternative history, African people (referred to 'Crosses' in the novel) have gained technological advantage over Caucasians (Noughts) and the Crosses have sought to make Noughts their slaves. By the start of the first novel, slavery has been abolished but there still exists segregation between the two ethnic groups in society. The racial segregation depicted in the novel is similar to that which resulted from the Jim Crow Laws enacted in the United States between 1876 and 1965. The lead characters, Sephy and Callum, are best friends, though their relationship is frowned upon by society, because Sephy is a Cross, the daughter of a wealthy politician, and Callum is a Nought. It appears that Malorie sees speculative fiction as a way of commenting on our past and present and possibly the future.
Malorie, acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers, published her first book at the age of 28 and has since written over 60 books. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award. She has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
As Waterstones Children’s Laureate for 2013-15, Malorie aims to be a voice for children’s books, stories and for reading. She hopes to encourage more children, and in particular young adults, to read more and find pleasure in reading. She was honoured with an OBE in 2008 and received the Eleanor Farjeon Award in 2005, both in recognition of her contribution to children’s literature.
As Children’s Laureate I am so looking forward to my Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour of Scotland this May and I can’t wait to chat to as many children and teens as possible about one of my favourite subjects - books and reading!
-- Malorie Blackman, commenting on her upcoming tour
The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour is run by Scottish Book Trust, Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing and is sponsored by Scottish Friendly, Scotland’s largest mutual with over 150 years of experience. The main aim of the Tour is to encourage children’s love of literature through inspirational author visits, which bring their books to life.
Malorie will visit four cities in Scotland between Monday 19th and Thursday 22nd May, stopping at venues in Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are likely to be signing opportunities - so keep an eye on the Novel Ideas Facebook page because I'll be letting you know the details when they become available!
Next on the touring programme is Children's author, Chae Strathie, who will be visiting schools in Brighton and Hove in June 2014.
- The Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour, organised by Scottish Book Trust, has been running for sixteen fruitful years! It tours throughout Scotland’s urban, rural and remote communities and visits every single Scottish local authority on a three year cycle. Every year we bring the best writers living and working in Scotland down into England to inspire English pupils.
- Scottish Friendly Assurance is a progressive and modern financial services group. It provides investors and their families with a wide range of products. Scottish Friendly is very invested in the community and works with Scottish Book Trust to provide fresh and exciting content, including daily author blogs from the road, on their website.
- Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland, developing innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read, write and be inspired by books. After every tour the Scottish Book Trust’s website features case studies and resources to show the impact of the tour on the pupils we visit.
Listing image: Manchester Literature Festival / Miriam Rune