Baillie Gifford Schools Programme Launch Event Highlights

We were delighted to see so many teachers, librarians, education professionals and authors from all over Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife at our Schools Programme Launch event a couple of weeks ago, all gathered together in Edinburgh Academy’s stunning main hall to celebrate the release of the Book Festival’s 2018 Baillie Gifford Schools Programme.

Our Children & Education Programme Director, Janet Smyth kicked off proceedings by giving a quick run-through of events to look out for in this year’s programme. A couple of events she particularly highlighted were:

  • Small Country, Big Performance with Gaël Faye (27 Aug, 12.00pm) – Rwandan-French hip-hop artist Gaël brings to life his book Small Country, detailing his childhood experience of fleeing the Rwandan genocide. A unique event for S4-S6 pupils.
  • Philip Ardagh & Elissa Elwick: Barking Up the Wrong Tree (28 Aug, 11.45am) – this hilarious author-illustrator duo share stories from their madcap adventure series in a madcap event featuring lots of props and puppets. For P2-P4 pupils.

Janet also talked about some of the ways in which the Book Festival can help make a trip more affordable for schools and pupils, including our transport fund, £3 book voucher for all pupils who attend, and a 25% discount on books ordered in advance of the Festival. All of these schemes are made possible thanks to our Lead Sponsor, Baillie Gifford. You can find out more on our Visiting With Your School page.

We then welcomed Dougie Irvine from Visible Fictions Theatre Company on stage to talk about a special event in the programme, which sees them teaming up with much-loved author Cathy Forde. Cathy is adapting her fantastic breakthrough novel, Fat Boy Swim, into a stunning play with songs, produced by Visible Fictions. You can see an exclusive preview of extracts from the play, featuring a cast of actors and musicians, before putting your questions to the creative team (23 August, 10.30am). See page 20 of the Schools brochure for more details.

Next up were our Year of Young People co-programmers, a group of school pupils aged 8-14 from Craigmillar in Edinburgh who we’ve tasked with co-designing a strand of events at this year’s Book Festival exploring the concept of Freedom. They spoke about the process behind designing their events, before revealing the first event in their strand: Islands and Oceans with Julia Green & Elizabeth Laird (23 August, 11.45am). See page 21 of the Schools brochure for more details.

Finally, Edinburgh-based author Mike Nicholson gave us a whistlestop tour through a typical schools event – introducing the audience to his Museum Mystery Squad series and telling lots of awful jokes! You can catch his event on Baillie Gifford Gala Day (28 August, 12.15pm), a special day at the Book Festival when Charlotte Square Gardens is transformed into a magical space exclusively for primary schools. See page 32-33 of the Schools brochure to find out about all the free entertainment and wonderful author events which take place on Gala Day.

It was great for Book Festival staff to be able to meet and talk with teachers over a glass of wine after the presentations.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along, as well as to our speakers and Edinburgh Academy for hosting.

Booking is NOW OPEN for the 2018 Baillie Gifford Schools Programme. You can find more information on How To Book here.

Download a copy of the brochure by clicking this link.

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact our Schools Booking Co-ordinator at or on 0131 718 5651 (Tuesdays and Thursdays only).