Scottish Book Trust Reader in Residence for East Lothian Libraries 

October is here and I can’t quite believe it! My residency is going so fast and so it feels a good point, whilst I am so in the middle of it all, to take a moment to reflect on what has gone and what is yet to come.

There are many elements to my residency and I am really enjoying the challenge of offering something meaningful to as many groups and individuals as I can. Although, I am Reader in Residence for East Lothian Libraries and I do have events planned for North Berwick later in the year and hope to do some county wide activities for Book Week Scotland, we felt that it would be more beneficial if I concentrated my efforts to one community and one library and with my association with CoastWord, Dunbar was the logical choice. We hope that the projects begun here, will be ideas for other libraries within the county to try and I will be spending much of the latter part of my year reporting on the projects started here in Dunbar and hopefully passing on lessons learnt and sharing our successes.  

Summer Reading programme was my first project after starting and we had lots of fun with Lego Clubs and Storycraft. The sessions were always oversubscribed and we have started a weekly club as the schools have gone back and it remains a highlight of my week along with a series of workshops with primary pupils and a lunchtime creative writing club at Dunbar Primary School. To celebrate National Poetry Day we recorded some of the group reading their poems and you can listen to them by playing the files below. 

I had thought from the outset that one of the things I could do successfully and would have the most impact would be in creating a programme of events to attract adult audiences to the library and also in terms of creating a legacy, support and grow an audience for CoastWord. I had from my research for the festival and in preparation for this role understood there to be a desire for theatre, spoken word, music and the cabaret nights that had been at the heart of CoastWord from its humble beginnings in 2013. I also knew from informal conversations that many had not yet heard of CoastWord or were unsure if it was for them. I hoped in the programme ‘Dunbar Library After Hours’  we would be able to attract a new audience to the library and also to the festival. In supporting and growing an audience for the library, for CoastWord, and in establishing an exciting and stimulating venue for writers and readers in Dunbar, I hope to create a strong legacy of engagement and enjoyment within the library, with CoastWord and with similar events. For I think an important part of my role is to support the library to retain and assert its place as a cultural hub and I think that the events we have had so far have been successful in reminding people about the possibilities of their library and provided a welcome opportunity to come together as a community, to celebrate, to learn and to participate.   

The first of our After-Hours nights was hosting the wonderful Mill Girls on Tour. The theatre company arrived just after the library closed and in a few short hours we had a theatre set in the heart of the library. The audience packed in and it was a wonderful night. I was really pleased that the concept of the night worked so well.


In September we had the Village Pub Theatre for our second After Hours. The event was sold out and in hour after the library closed we were all set again for theatre. The company had been with us all day rehearsing for their script in hand performance and there was a real buzz about the night. The theme of literature and libraries really worked in the setting and was as usual a great mix of short plays. The event had a real sense of celebration about it.  The Village Pub Theatre will be returning to East Lothian with Sssh! in November for Book Week Scotland in North Berwick Library. 

October is set to be a really busy month. As part of the programme, I have connected with Luminate, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and Glasgow Women’s Library to bring four really exciting events to Dunbar. The first is the Coorie in with Liz Lochhead for Luminate on the 17th October. Tickets are selling fast and we have only eight left! We then have Women Write Day on the 24th October with the Glasgow Women’s Library, Kirsty Logan and Village Pub Theatre’s Sophie Good, again we have only a handful of tickets left for this day of workshops. The following week we have two events as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. First we have a fantastic event called Push Me, Pull Me with The Writing Mums, singer-songwriter Polly Phillips and guest poet Jenny Lindsay exploring depression, motherhood, mental health and gender, and then on the morning of the Friday 30th October, we have a very special tea party and workshop hosted by The Writing Mums called Keeping Mum; the secrets we keep.

Please have a look at what is coming and how to book in to Dunbar After Hours here, we have a packed October and exciting plans for Book Week Scotland in November.  

Book Week Scotland 2015

Scottish Book Trust's Reader in Residence Programme 2015

Monday 23rd  - Sunday 29th November  

Monday 23rd November

Reading Cafe on Tour with debut author Catherine Simpson reading from her new novel Truestory.

The reading cafe is a relaxed event with home-baking, a cuppa, a reading and a chance to discuss the work read, this one will be very special as we have Catherine Simpson to read from  Truestory  and discuss the inspiration behind the novel.

About the Novel and Author



Alice's life is dictated by her autistic son, Sam, who refuses to leave their remote Lancashire farm. Her only time 'off' is two hours in Lancaster on a Tuesday afternoon - and even that doesn't always pan out to be the break she needs. Husband Duncan brings Larry, a rootless wanderer, to the farm to embark on a money making scheme they've dreamed up. Alice is hostile but Larry beguiles Sam with tales of travel in the outside world and, soon, Alice begins to fall for him, too. By turns blackly comic, heart-breaking and heart-warming, Truestory looks at what happens when sacrifice slithers towards martyrdom. By turns happy and sad, ultimately it is a tale of hope.

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson has been shortlisted in the Mslexia Novel Award, the Asham Award, Bristol Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award.


Dunbar ( Venue to be confirmed)

£free you can book in here from November 

Tuesday 24th NovEmber

In the spaces between them...

Hannah Lavery, writer and reader in residence at East Lothian Libraries and founder of CoastWord and CoastWord’s Writing Mums comes to North Berwick for Book Week Scotland, to deliver a writing workshop for mothers and grandmothers. The workshop will be full of short writing exercises which will give you some tools and inspiration to write and share your stories and experiences.

1:30- 2:30pm

North Berwick Library

£2 book here or at North Berwick Library 

Village Pub Theatre at North Berwick Library


A selection of short plays from Leith's Village Pub Theatre collective. Performed script in hand, these are spontaneous moments of raw drama from some of Scotland's most exciting emerging playwrights. Expect a mixture of black comedy, poetic melancholy and all things in between as we treat you to a curated collection of literary and library themed plays.              

...they’re creating a brand new vortex of powerful theatrical activity...everyone who enjoys the raw energy of theatre should sample it ****, Scotsman

7:30pm- 9pm

North Berwick Library

£5 book here or at North Berwick Library

Wednesday 25th November

Reading Cafe on Tour at Dunbar Primary Nursery with Dunbar Lifeboat Crew

Morning at Dunbar Primary School

Books and Baking at the Ridge Cafe

The lovely folk at the Ridge Cafe will be taking their inspiration from children’s fiction and with their helpers be baking some story inspired treats.

Come and join in the baking book fun!


Ridge Cafe, Bleachingfield Centre, Countess Crescent  Dunbar.

Booking essential for children 7+.

Book at the Ridge Cafe

Thursday 26th November

‘My Book’ Showcase at Dunbar Primary School

The pupils of P4 and P5 of Dunbar Primary School celebrate the launch of their own books, created in workshops with Hannah Lavery, in a series of showcases throughout the day. 

‘Journeys’ with poets Rita Bradd, Rachel McCrum and singer songwriter Kirsty Law  

Come listen to how the sea, the coast, seaside towns, travelling and journeys have influenced and informed their work.

Rachel McCrum

Kirsty Law

Rita Bradd

7:30pm - 9pm  

Dunbar Library

£5 tickets from Dunbar Library and here 

Friday 27th November

Family Friday Flicks

Come and enjoy a wee story and the family film, Muppets Treasure Island, in Dunbar Library on the evening of Friday 27th. Bring your teddies for their Sleepover and dress up as a Pirate or your favourite story character for chance to win prizes.

Tickets £2 and includes a wee cup of popcorn.   

Muppets Treasure Island

In the hands of Kermit and Co, the classic Robert Louis Stevenson adventure becomes a comedy treat: a big-budget pirate musical with lashings of trademark Muppet lunacy. Young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) is given a map to buried treasure and sets sail with Rizzo the rat, Gonzo and Kermit to claim the loot. The voyage is anything but smooth sailing when the conniving crew, headed by dastardly Long John Silver, turn against them. Chaos, celebrity cameos and song-and-dance numbers ensue.

Film recommended for 5+, and contains a couple of uses of mild bad language.

Dunbar Library

5:30pm - 7:30pm

Tickets £2 for a child and accompanying adult from Dunbar Library and here 

Saturday 28th November

Kids Take Over The Library with Muddy Buddies, Book Bug, Lego Club and Story time. 

Come and take over the Library with the Muddy Buddies popping up with stories and fun activities, Book Bug, Treasure Hunts, Lego Club, Princess and Pirate Fancy Dress Storytime and much, much more...  

Dunbar Library

10am- 12pm

£Free, with booking for Lego Club, booking available at Dunbar Library from November. 


Have a look here for our CoastWord Book Week Events.