We organise and run weekly shared reading sessions for a diverse range of community and public participants across Scotland. Part of a book and a poem are read aloud during these relaxed and informal sessions, with an Open Book Lead Reader on hand to help guide the discussion. We also regularly run creative writing sessions for our readers, using the material the group is reading as inspiration to create new writing. We also arrange and fund visits by these groups to the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, and the Wigtown Book Festival in September, linking the authors we see on the visit to the reading materials we use in our sessions. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Open Book also presented three shared reading sessions for the public at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as a part of their workshop programme.
In addition to the weekly groups and annual visits to book festivals, Open Book offers other regular opportunities to our readers. Open Book group members attend additional author visits, plays at the Lyceum Theatre, participate in the Luminate Festival, creative writing workshops during Book Week Scotland and host World Book Night events (often organised and executed entirely by the members of one of our community groups). As Open Book grows, these additional opportunities form an increasing part of our annual programme.
Book Festival Visits
“The whole [visit to the Edinburgh Book Festival] day was quite delightful. It was pretty near perfect.”
“Feel privileged to have visited with the Glasgow Women’s Library group and be guided throughout, and looked after by volunteers. Thank you Open Book for a fab times.”
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for having us – truly wonderful day!”
“Very grateful to my companions today and for Open Book for arranging.”
“Just to say thank you for a day to treasure.”
“I am increasingly disabled and need to have a purpose to make me get out; the hour I spend with Open Book is rewarding and restorative.”
“Oasis in the day for story and poetry and reflection.”
“I just want more of this.”
“The Open Book reading group is a fantastic way to overcome social isolation and surround yourself with many beautiful words.”
“Now I can’t imagine my life without it.”
“I participate in Open Book as someone with considerable and worsening mobility problems….. I can only attend with substantial support from the charity and its leaders…..It’s good if someone keeps and eye out for me….for an hour or so, I am both soothed and stimulated by reading and good discussion, and the gap between me and others disappears… I believe it is a significant part of my sense of well-being and I am grateful for all it offers.”
Open Book’s current groups:
Glasgow Women’s Library
National Library of Scotland
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Scottish Poetry Library
The Stove (including Multicultural Organisation)(Dumfries and Galloway)
National Galleries of Scotland
Kaos Café (Dumfries and Galloway)
Prince’s Trust (Pilot)
Health Related Groups
St Joseph’s Care Home
Eric Liddell Centre
St Andrew’s Hospice, Airdrie
Astley Ainslie (Pilot)
Grassmarket Community Project
WHALE Arts, Wester Hailes (Residency)
HMP Low Moss
HMP Edinburgh (proposed pilot)
Syrian Women’s Group
Maryhill Integration Network
International Women’s Group
Shakti Women’s Aid
East Meets West
Bethany Christian Trust
Deaf Action Scotland
Marjorie was born in New Orleans, spent her childhood in Tehran, and lived in San Diego, Washington DC and New York before moving to the UK in 1999. She holds a BA in English Literature, a JD in law, and an MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry). Marjorie’s poems have won prizes, been widely published in journals and anthologies in the UK and USA, appeared in The Scotsman, and been performed on BBC Radio 4. She is the founder of The Belonging Project and regularly performs her work, most recently at the Edinburgh International Festival, the St Magnus Festival, the Scottish Parliament, StAnza, the Rosslyn Chapel, the Dundee Literary Festival, the Wigtown Book Festival and Jupiter Artland, where she was Poet in Residence from 2014- 2016. Currently on her bedside table are Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1 and Claire Askew’s This Changes Things.
Claire moved from Carnoustie where she grew up to Edinburgh to study law. After a brief spell working in London she settled back in Edinburgh where she lives with her husband, three kids and resolutely no pets. Trying to dispel the theory that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Claire is attempting to learn the flute and enjoys (occasionally) dusting off her hockey stick for a game. She is particularly interested in how the enjoyment and benefits of shared reading are increased by engaging the readers in creative writing (a theory advocated by Marjorie for years!) Currently on her beside table are a prized second-hand copy of Tim Seibles poetry collection Fast Animal, Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See and a brilliant book light that she was given for Christmas and which means she can stay up reading far later than she ought to without disturbing her long suffering husband.
Open Book runs four weekly drop-in sessions in Edinburgh, which are open to everyone:
Tuesdays 10:30-11:30am in the cafe of the National Library Scotland
Wednesdays 1-2pm in ‘The Space’ at the Scottish Poetry Library
Thursdays 10:30-11:30 at the Botanic Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens
The third Wednesday of the month 10.30 – 12.00 in the National Galleries (beginning 18th April 2018)
Feel free to join us!
Open Book also regularly runs creative writing workshops with our public/drop in groups and other weekly groups. Check our Events page for details.
Download our Get Involved Form
Once complete, please upload your form here:
23rd February (Friday) – an East Meets West meeting between women of Maryhill Integration Network, International Women’s Group, The Welcoming and a Syrian Group at the Scottish National Gallery.
11-27 August – Open Book will have several days out at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and will deliver several shared reading sessions as a part of the public programme.
21-30 September – Open Book will have another day out at the Wigtown Book Festival for our readers in Dumfries and Galloway
4 December (Tuesday) – A public session celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass Strike for Freedom: Slavery, Civil War and Emancipation, including input from Professor Celeste-Marie Bernier.
7 December (Friday) – East Meets West meeting at the National Library of Scotland