Scotland's Makar Liz Lochhead is Scottish Friendly's Burns Day 'Meet Our Author'

Press release – 20th January 2012

Scotland’s Makar, or national poet, Liz Lochhead, is to give a live broadcast to children across Scotland during a special Robert Burns celebration on Thursday 26 January at 11am. The Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors Special Event, run by Scottish Book Trust, will be broadcast live from BBC Scotland in Glasgow and will be available afterwards for free from the Scottish Book Trust website.

Poetry enthusiasts are invited to watch live as Liz discusses why Burns means so much to her, as well as treating us to some readings of her own poems featured in her collections Liz Lochhead: Selected Works, Colour of Black and White and Dreaming Frankenstein. The event is suitable for P6-S4 (age 9-16) pupils and fans of Robert Burns, Liz Lochhead or lovers of poetry.

Liz Lochhead, Scottish Makar, commented: “I am very much looking to forward to taking part in Scottish Friendly’s Meet Our Authors event, which will be principally concerned with celebrating the poetry of Robert Burns, our greatest ever and our own National Poet. Poetry -- and his poetry in particular -- is at the heart of Scotland’s culture, and this event will be a wonderful opportunity to encourage thousands of Scottish children to further enjoy the reading of it, the saying of it out loud, and the learning of it off by heart.  And then perhaps to be inspired to have a go at writing themselves.”

The event will not only be attended by children from Girvan Academy, Oban High School, and High Mill Primary School, but will also be broadcast live over the internet to over 10,000 thousand children across the UK on from 11am. The broadcast will be most suited to children from P6 – S4 and any fan of Scottish poetry.

The award-winning Scottish Friendly 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. Run by Scottish Book Trust, Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing, the programme is the first of its kind in the UK. Anyone can sign up to watch and it is completely free.

Calum Bennie, Marketing Manager at Scottish Friendly, remarked: “The Scottish Friendly Meet Our Authors events aim to inspire literacy and creativity in young people across the UK and I have no doubt that the Scottish Makar’s appearance will do exactly this. We encourage poets of all ages to watch online and look forward to seeing the questions people post during the online webchat after her talk.”

Chris Newton, Acting Children’s Programme Manager of Scottish Book Trust, added: “Liz Lochhead is one of the foremost experts on the legendary work of Robert Burns and what it means to a whole nation. To hear her recite her own poems in parallel with those of Burns will be a rare literary treat, and one which will inspire many young poets in Scotland, as well as appealing to older fans.”

Liz will be the twelfth 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 450,000 children across the UK during the events.

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