Banned books, the Roman Empire and lost mermaids

Authors urge Scots to discover where reading can take them at the Book Week Scotland 2016 programme launch.  Credit:  Rob McDougall photographer.

Authors urge Scots to discover where reading can take them at the Book Week Scotland 2016 programme launch. Credit: Rob McDougall photographer.

The Roman Empire, banned books, prohibition cocktails and lost mermaids will all be making an appearance in Fife as part of Scotland’s fifth national celebration of books and reading.

Working with a range of partners, the Scottish Book Trust is delivering a feast of activities for all ages across the Kingdom for the 2016 edition of Book Week Scotland.

Youngsters are invited to get involved in this year's event

Youngsters are invited to get involved in this year's event

This year’s central theme is Discovery with the Fife events taking place from November 21-30.

One of the first events which is sure to be a hit with book fans is The Roman Empire Comes to Fife ... with Simon Scarrow in St Andrews. This is happening on Tuesday, November 22 at 2.30pm.

The former teacher and bestselling author is talking about his latest book in his bestselling Eagles of the Empire series. Readers will be transported back to AD 54 when the soldiers of the Roman army were patrolling a growing Empire.

His historical fiction series brings to life the characters of Cato and Macro who first appeared in Under The Eagle and they are back again in Simon’s latest novel Invictus.

One of the more unusual events is Banned Books and Prohibition Cocktails. It is taking place at Kirkcaldy Galleries on Friday, November 25 at 7.30pm.

One of the more unusual events is Banned Books and Prohibition Cocktails. It is taking place at Kirkcaldy Galleries on Friday, November 25 at 7.30pm.

He said: “I have never been to Fife before and I am looking forward to it. It is always a pleasure to step away from the laptop and talk about books and history with others who share my interests.

“At the event in St Andrews I will be happy to talk about my latest book, and history in general, but the best part of any event is when people ask questions and open up the debate. That’s when the really interesting things emerge.”

Another session which will prove to be popular is Skelp the Aged in Kirkcaldy. The event is taking place in Windmill Library at the new Windmill Community Campus on Tuesday, November 22 November at 7pm.

Fifers are invited to join talented comedy writers John Duigan and Ian Hopkins as they introduce their latest writing project, a wickedly comic novel, Skelp the Aged.

Find out more about the talented duo who began their comedy writing career with Not the Nine o’clock News. Ian, who went on to write for Spitting Image and Naked Video, and John, are appearing for one night only.

As well as the adults, there are also events for children and two of them are taking place at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther on Saturday, November 26. Lost Mermaids and Magic Fish: Traditional tales with Sheila Kinninmonth is on at 10.15 am (aimed at three to six year olds) and 1.30pm (seven-12 year olds).

Sheila said: “I was delighted to be asked by the Scottish Fisheries Museum to help them celebrate Book Week Scotland by sharing some Traditional Tales of The Sea. We hope that by listening to and interacting with the stories the children will be encouraged to seek out similar tales to read and listen to and by including the craft activity hope they are inspired to retell the stories and perhaps create their own.”

One of the more unusual events is Banned Books and Prohibition Cocktails. It is taking place at Kirkcaldy Galleries on Friday, November 25 at 7.30pm.

The best of Speakeasy-era swagger is coming to Kirkcaldy Galleries for an indulgent evening spent exploring the best of prohibition cocktails, accompanied by readings from the most forbidden of banned books.

These books are so scandalous staff can’t reveal the list of readings without the secret password ... it will be on your ticket.

Jenny Yardley, supervisor at Kirkcaldy Galleries, said: “The staff at the Galleries can’t wait for Book Week Scotland to get started this year – our customers have been very excited about the idea of drinking prohibition cocktails in a library!

“Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of reading that lets book lovers get together and share their love of reading. It’s our chance to showcase what we do and make people sit up and take notice of the fantastic things going on in their local library.

“We would encourage every Fifer to come along and challenge their perception of what they think a library service is all about. This year, you can laugh along with two of the writers from Spitting Image and Not the Nine O’clock news or toast a great evening with a prohibition cocktail in Kirkcaldy Galleries. It’s Fife’s Book Week Scotland!”

Other Book Week events

Other events taking place across Fife during Book Week Scotland include: Men With Coconuts: Book Week Scotland in Rothes Halls, Glenrothes on November 23. After a hugely successful Fringe Festival, the award-winning musical improv comedy troupe present new spins on well-known stories and characters from literature. Also An Afternoon with international bestseller Jodi Picoult in Hope Park and Martyrs Church, St Andrews on November 26 and Thorfinn the Nicest Viking author David MacPhail will be at Cupar Library on November 23. For the full list of Fife events taking place during Book Week visit www.scottishbooktrust.com.