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Craigmillar Book Festival

The annual Craigmillar Book Festival brings the excitement and inspiration of books and ideas, reading and writing to people of all ages.


Craigmillar Book Festival 2016

Craigmillar Book Festival 2016 was a dynamic and successful community event.

There were 1133 individual attendances (920 children and young people and 213 adults)

We delivered a programme of public events, all of which took place in Craigmillar library and all of which were well attended. These events included a meet the writer with John Fardell; a creative / illustrator Super-Super-Hero Workshop  with Marcus Oakley; Performance poetry with Aitch Giles and  puppet making and storytelling with Flotsam and Jetsam.

We also delivered 24 school and nursery sessions across five local schools and three local nurseries. These events ranged from practical writing workshops with our festival patron Janis Mackay  to storytelling and singing with Chae Strathie to spooky ghost stories with Alex Nye  to hilarious tales of real life mis-adventure with Kirkland Ciccone to Science and nature with Emily Dodd and many other highlights in between!

The majority of our programme was presented in partnership with Craigmillar Library who provided spaces and organisational support, making the library a lively central ‘hub’. Events that did not take place in the library were brought directly to the children themselves in school and nursery settings.

In 2016  our festival also included two special launch events, one for nursery age children who enjoyed a story telling performance from much loved Macastory and one for Castlebrae High School students and invited guests from the community and across the literacy sector.

‘It was a brilliant experience for the children and inspired a lot of
them.’ (Teacher)
‘Not only did we learn how to write a book, we also got to draw.’ (Child
‘Many of them seem inspired to do some writing themselves.’ (Teacher)
‘I liked it because it was challenging.’ (Child p5/6)
‘They love listening to stories so to have someone who actually writes
stories reading to them is a real treat’ (Teacher)
‘I liked it because it’s cool.’ (Child P4)
‘Thank you, it was a wonderful experience’ (Teacher)

Craigmillar Book Festival 2015

Craigmillar Book Festival 2015 involved 700 children in 30 events and was a great success for children, families and writers.

We were delighted with how well the Book Festival went and would like to share with you some comments from authors, teachers, and, most importantly, children who attended some of the 30 events that we held this time around. From pirate tea parties to creative writing masterclasses for nine year olds in Craigmillar Castle to Chae Strathie's Storybot on tour and Barry Hutchison's quest to create new monsters with the children of Craigmillar, there was plenty going on across the community in November 2015.

We were also pleased this year to get a record-breaking 300+ entries for the Nick Sharratt illustration competition - see our news page of 29th February 2016 for the winning entries.

But don't just take our word for it that the Festival went well. Here are some quotes from the evaluation slips that were filled out by children and their teachers or parents after the events –

"Meeting Nick Sharratt was brilliant. The children love his stories, so it was fantastic to meet someone whose books we have and read in school" P2 teacher 
"Nick Sharratt is fantastic and amazing. He is funny and good at drawing" P2 pupil
"Funny and fabulous and the best bit was when Nick Sharratt challenged Miss Karam," P3 pupil

"We thoroughly enjoyed the session this morning. Chae Strathie's stories were great and the way he involved the children totally engaged them. Thank you for organising this event and well done for such a good morning" P2 teacher
"I thought that Chae Strathie was awesome. The best bit was he told us stories, he showed us his robot. We drew a monster and he sang songs with us and his guitar." P2 pupil
"I thought that Chae Strathie was excellent, amazing." P2 pupil

"It was fun to see my favourite author, Vivian French. She was very funny and I am working on a monster book." P5 pupil
"I think Vivian French's visit was spectacular! She was really nice." P5 pupil
"I loved it soooooooo much!" P5 pupil

"Brilliant! Cathy MacPhail is such an inspiration! Thank you!" S1 teacher
"She was amazing!" S1 pupil
"Cool" S1 pupil
"I think the session with Cathy was exciting." S1 pupil

"I thought Barry Hutchison was amazing!" P3/4 pupil
"Awesome because of the chicken-headed dragon-thing character we made with him" P3/4 pupil
"I really really liked it. It was one of the best things. I really want to buy The Moon Headed Ghoul-Thing book and Invisible Fiends. Barry Hutchison is really funny and I would love to see him again." P5 pupil

"I think Allan Burnett's visit was a brilliant thing with lots of facts. I loved the stories in the books. Overall it was amazing" P7 pupil
"I think it was fascinating and cool." P7 pupil

On the Metaphrog 'Make Your Own Mini-Comic' workshop drop in family event at the Library:
"Just brilliant!"
"Thanks for that - we loved it!"
"Makes you realise you can do it."
"Could you do it again but have it last longer?"
"I got my book signed by the actual author."

The work we do is only possible as a result of generous support from the Robertson Trust, The Dr DavidSummers Charitable Trust, the Ernest Cook Trust, the Christina Mary Hendrie Trust, St James's Place Foundation and Scottish Book Trust and donations from Nairn's Oatcakes, Bentley Edinburgh and the Cruden Foundation.

Craigmillar Book Festival 2014

Nearly 900 people took part in the 18th Craigmillar Book Festival in November 2014, meeting Scottish writers, storytellers and illustrators and engaging with Scottish literature. 

The visiting authors, storytellers and illustrators were Eric Brennan, Lari Don, Ruth Kirkpatrick, Janis Mackay, Jonathan Meres, Metaphrog, Alison Murray and Nick Sharratt

In the words of some young participants -

' I think it was amazing because I met an author'
' It was brilliant because we got to design characters'
' Jonathan was very funny and that made me think that his books are funny –now I really want to read it.'
' I think this is the best day ever.  I felt excited because we got a book.'
' It was fantastico, good, amazing, brilliant.'

'We're looking forward to working again with all our supporters, funders and partners to celebrate books, reading and writing at the next Craigmillar Book Festival which will run in November 2015!



Craigmillar Book Festival November 2013             Craigmillar Book Festival Logo

Programme of Events

Monday 18th            Sylvia TroonSylvia Troonsally

Tuesday 19th           Sally J. Collins

Wednseday 20th      John Fardell

Thursday 21st         Sylvia Troon      

Friday 22nd            John Fardell                John FardellGill Arbuthnott

Monday 25th          Sylvia Troon 

Wednesday 27th     Matthew FittMatthew Fitt

                                Gill Arbuthnott 

Thursday 28th         Matthew Fitt                  

Friday 29th              Sylvia Troon

Saturday 30th         Tam Dean Burn  a Craigmillar Books for Babies event    Tam Dean Burn


My Own Book

Our annual book gifting scheme for 2016 / 17 is currently underway!  

At this stage we have worked with five classes from P5  to First year, across four schools with a total of 122 pupils due to receive books this term. Each of the pupils was individually consulted with as well as enjoying a group session where books and reading were discussed. Celebratory book gifting sessions are scheduled to take place before the end of term at which each child will receive their book. And follow up activity will take place over the summer and into next term at which we will talk with the children about their book choices., workshop the idea of critical review and reading for pleasure (and where the two meet) and invite children to feedback on their book choices and publish some of their reviews on our website.

Creative Residences Programme

In 2015/16 we ran two Creative Residencies

Read Write Count Family Puppet Making and Story-telling with Flotsam and Jetsam Puppets (Allie Cohen)

Flotsam and Jetsam delivered nine events with a total of 287 individual attendances. This includes 217 participating children aged 4 – 8, 53 parents / carers and 17 siblings (brought by parents / carers). 

The events took place across three local primary schools, one local family centre and Craigmillar library.

This residency was created in collaboration with our partners in the Family Learning Team in Craigmillar. Together we identified a need to support Read Write Count activity in the area – engaging both children and their families, particularly at nursery to primary one transition times and outside of the school environment.

Writing our own Story with Vivian French

Acclaimed Scottish Writer Vivian French worked with 25 pupils in Primary 7 at Castleview Primary School over six weeks to create a beautifully written and illustrated Manga style story with the children.

This story was inspired by the Japan topic that the children were learning in class that term and the children were fully engaged in creating the story. Vivian French noticed that there was a strong desire among the class to engage in comic book drawing and recruited an illustrator to join her in the class.

At the end of the six weeks the children enjoyed a Japanese inspired party including a performed reading of their story and Japanese sweets and snacks to share. This went so well that the whole class were invited to our Festival launch event at Castlebrae Community High School and two class members read out an extract from the story in front of a crowd of over 100 young people and invited guests.

Going into 2017 / 18 we also have an exciting collaboration with our friends at Edinburgh Art Festival and Napier University School of Computing, Centre for Interaction Design, working with poet Georgi Gill and P5 at Niddrie Mill Primary School to create an interactive, psycho-geographic map of Craigmillar. 

Craigmillar Books for Babies


Craigmillar Books for Babies encourages and supports parents and carers to share books, rhymes and stories with their babies and toddlers.  It promotes reading as a relevant and worthwhile source of pleasure which enhances children's early development and nourishes family and community bonds.

Find out more at or you can contact the project directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0131 621 2621.

Funded by:

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Contact Details

Castlebrae Community High School
2a Greendykes Road
Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
EH16 4DP

Registered Charity No.: SC027495
Company No.: 182226


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