Go nuts for Arran’s first children’s book festival

The Wee Mac Book Festival logo features a squirrel reading a book.

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By Colin Smeeton

A concerted effort is being made by a steering group of volunteers, in collaboration with the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust and the McLellan Arts Festival, to host Arran’s first children’s book festival known as Wee Mac Arran.

Already scheduled to take place over two days starting on Friday September 11, the first day will be exclusively for young people at schools and nurseries on Arran and the second will be open to the public and visitors.

The idea of hosting a book festival on Arran has been talked about many times before over the years but for various reasons it never reached fruition. This time however, when children’s author Alison Page brought together a steering group in February last year the overwhelming response was that one should be organised, the only question would be how to fund it.

Alison said: ‘Our children and young people living on Arran can’t easily attend mainland book festivals. Due to transport and time logistics, many miss out on seeing and hearing authors/storytellers/illustrators and this wonderful, more relaxed, literary experience which stays with you all your life.

‘How we fund Wee Mac is still another big question and much of the last year has been spent applying for funds which will allow us to proceed in September. We are relying on sponsorship via numerous grant and funding applications that we have made, and are still making, to support the festival.

‘Whatever the results of this the steering group all agreed there should be no cost barrier to a child, young person or family attending so Wee Mac sessions will be ticketed but free to attend.

‘Huge thanks for the support we have already received from North Ayrshire Council, The Arran Society of Glasgow and Caledonian MacBrayne and the National Lottery.

Events on Friday September 11, which are for Arran pupils, will take place at Arran High School, the Arran Heritage Museum, Brodick Hall and Arran Library. Library events, including BookBug, will be open to the public.

On Saturday September 12, all of the events will be in the Brodick area and are open to Arran families and any visitors to the island.

A great line up of Scotland’s finest authors, illustrators and storytellers have already agreed to attend Wee Mac Arran and there will also be a number of drop in events which will include Bonnie the PlayTalkRead bus at the car park at Brodick Beach, Therapet trained ‘Scooter’ will be at Arran Heritage Museum -where children can read their favourite story to him in the bathing hut – and there will also be sensory storytelling in a yurt.

Details of the Wee Mac programme will be announced in the Banner, on social media and on the website at www.weemacarran.scot nearer the time and as they are confirmed.

A CalMac representative presents the Arran Theatre and Arts Trust with a donation for the Wee Mac book festival. No_B09weemac01

The Wee Mac steering committee meet at Arran High School to discuss the book festival. No_B09weemac01

The Wee Mac book festival logo. No_B09weemac03