Claire Askew appointed to lead new book project

Craigmillar has been selected as the first Reading Community in Scotland. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Craigmillar has been selected as the first Reading Community in Scotland. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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EDINBURGH’S first “reading champion” has been revealed in a bid to encourage people of all ages to take an interest in books.

Claire Askew, a poet, writer and creative writing teacher, will take up her post in March next year after Craigmillar was named as one of the country’s first Reading Communities.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop was at Craigmillar Library today to launch the initiative and also kicked off local celebrations for Book Week Scotland 2015.

Set up by the Scottish Book Trust, special “reading champions” will lead the country’s four Reading Communities and will be tasked with delivering innovative projects with local communities.

Ms Askew said she was looking forward to getting started.

She said: “I am so pleased to have been selected and I’m especially pleased that I’ll get to work alongside the brilliant team at Craigmillar Library.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture convener, said: “Craigmillar being named as one of the first Reading Communities in Scotland is excellent news.

“This is a fantastic initiative and I am sure that it will help us to encourage people to make books an even bigger part of their everyday lives.

“Reading is such a wonderful pastime and, thanks to the Capital’s public libraries, you can take books home free or read them online. I would encourage everyone to visit their local library today and find out just how much they have to 
offer people of all ages.”

Edinburgh’s libraries will host an array of authors throughout Book Week, who will be giving free talks about their work.

Writer Cathy Rentzenbrink and Douglas Lindsay will be reading copies of Journeys, which is being given out free during the week, on a tram at Edinburgh Airport this Friday.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “I am delighted to announce our Reading Communities for 2016. We had a really high standard of applicants but I am sure the four areas we have chosen will deliver some really creative and collaborative projects with their dedicated reading champions, to involve and inspire their local communities.

“Scottish Book Trust also looks forward to working with the champions and the libraries to engage local people with our programmes including our annual story gathering campaign and Book Week Scotland.”

Tickets for events are available at www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk

newsen@edinburghnews.com