Scottish Friendly brings Mr Gum writer to classrooms nationwide

Press release – 13th June 2011

Mr Gum author in live nationwide storytelling broadcast

  • Calling schoolchildren of all reading abilities to watch online if they dare
  • Scottish Book Trust’s 8th featured author promises to “break the internet with laughter… for educational purposes”
  • Watch his official online invite for a sneak preview
  • Over 265,000 schoolchildren have taken part to date in Meet Our Authors

Children across Scotland are in for a treat next week when Andy Stanton will broadcast directly to classrooms as part of the ongoing Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors programme. The award-winning Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors programme is run by Scottish Book Trust, Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing and sponsored by Scottish Friendly Assurance, one of the UK’s leading providers of tax-free family investments, and funded by the National Lottery through the Creative Scotland Inspiring Communities Fund.

During the online broadcast Andy will captivate his audience with anecdotes from his popular maverick Mr Gum books, tips on storytelling, a sprinkling of hilarity, and a lesson aimed at encouraging reluctant readers to read more and create their own stories in particular. The award winning children’s author will appear live on the 16th June at 11am in a direct webcast to tens of thousands of students. It promises to be a truly quirky and unforgettable lesson as Andy’s style has been described as “somewhere between Monty Python and Roald Dahl”. It will be suitable for children aged 7 and upwards and hosted on the BBC at: It will also be available on BBC’s red button service and via Glow, the Scottish schools intranet.

Andy created Mr Gum following a varied career as a film script reader, a cartoonist, and an NHS porter, after which he turned his focus to writing children’s books. Mr Gum first came to notoriety in his debut tale You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! in 2006, illustrated imaginatively by David Tazzyman. The rollercoaster adventure of Polly and Mr Gum went onto to win both the Redhouse Children's Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book with Pictures later that year. Andy’s creative partnership with David Tazzyman has also won them the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the books have been shortlisted for a multitude of awards over the years. After securing such widespread acclaim, Andy has turned his focus to achieving his ultimate ambition: “attempting to make children's insides explode from laughter during a school day”.

The Meet Our Authors programme includes an exclusive series of authors’ events streamed live over the internet to provide young people, parents and teachers with the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s leading children’s writers. The programme is the first of its kind in the UK. Anyone can sign up to watch and it is completely free.

Mr. Stanton commented: “I'm really looking forward to my Meet Our Authors event. It's an absolutely amazing opportunity to get thousands of kids around the country thinking about books - reading them, writing them and just plain loving them. Plus I get to run around a stage for half an hour, acting like an idiot. What could be better than that?!”

Andy will be the seventh author to take part in the Meet Our Authors programme which began in March 2010 with former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, followed by author of The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and then a second Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo. Most recently Charlie Higson, Eoin Colfer, Jacqueline Wilson and James Mayhew have all taken part, broadcasting to over 265,000 children across the UK during the events.

Jasmine Fassl, Children’s Programme Manager at the Scottish Book Trust, commented: “Scottish Book Trust is thrilled that Andy Stanton will be taking part in Meet Our Authors. The webcast format is the ideal way to breakdown traditional barriers of distance and giving schoolchildren everywhere the chance to learn and take part in something unique. Storytelling is such a vital step in our intellectual development, so it is great to hear firsthand what inspires the masters of the trade.”

Calum Bennie, marketing manager of Scottish Friendly, sponsor of Meet Our Authors, said: “Authors have the ability to motivate young readers towards better standards of literacy and leave an enduring legacy in our lives that cannot be measured. We are proud to support the Meet Our Authors programme because it gives readers of all abilities around the country a valuable insight into why reading and writing are so important whether you are 7 or 70 years old.”

Scottish Friendly was established in Glasgow back in 1862. Today, the financial services provider has over 500,000 policy holders and is dedicated to the provision of services and products from life cover to child savings. If you want to find out more about Scottish Friendly Assurance, please visit:

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