What We Do

We organise and run over 1200 shared reading and creative writing sessions each year, for a diverse range of community and public participants across Scotland.  During our relaxed and informal shared reading sessions, part of a book and poem are read aloud, with an Open Book Lead Reader on hand to help guide the discussion. We also run regular creative writing sessions, using the material the group is reading as inspiration to create new writing.

Every year, we arrange and fund visits by our groups to book festivals and other literary events across Scotland, including Edinburgh International Book Festival, Wigtown Book Festival, Paisley Book Festival, Granite Noir, StAnza, Ullapool Book Festival, and St Magnus Festival. Open Book also regularly offers additional author visits and opportunities to participate in special projects and performances. 

Listen to Co-Founder Marjorie talk with Richard Holloway about what we do at Open Book.

The Team

Marjorie Lotfi

Director and Founder

Marjorie was born in New Orleans, spent her childhood in Tehran, and lived in New York before moving to the UK in 1999. A former corporate lawyer in New York and London, Marjorie is now a writer, a Director for Open Book and a Co-Chair of StAnza, Scotland’s international poetry festival. Her first collection of poetry. The Wrong Person to Ask, is published by Bloodaxe Books, and she is an Editor of New Writing Scotland.  Marjorie’s a keen runner and wild swimmer, and currently on her bedside table are Zaffar Kunial’s England’s Green and Claudia Rankine’s Plot.

Claire Urquhart

Director and Founder

Claire studied law in Edinburgh. 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. Claire is also a Trustee of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Currently on her bedside table are The Art of the Glimpse, edited by Sinead Gleeson (which may take some time), and Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes.

Jess Orr

Operations Manager

Jess is Operations Manager at Open Book, coordinating the daily running of all our groups and our training programme, as well as organising annual visits for groups to literary events across Scotland. She also runs two groups, at the Grassmarket Community Project and LGBT Health and Wellbeing in Leith. Outside of Open Book, Jess is a freelance Project Manager and Programmer, as well as an English tutor. 

Kirsten Murray

Social Media Officer

Kirsten is Social Media Officer for Open Book. After graduating with a post-grad in Comics Studies in 2013, she worked for Titan Publishing and DC Thomson’s comics departments where she edited beloved brands including Doctor Who, The Broons and Oor Wullie. As well as keeping on top of marketing trends, Kirsten continues to edit graphic novels and project manages participatory arts projects spanning creative writing, film and video games. When she’s not at her desk, Kirsten loves reading, writing and roller skating.

Amy Life

Office Administrator

Amy is the Open Book Office Administrator. She has just finished her degree in French and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh where she campaigned against gender-based violence and wrote for The Rattlecap Magazine. Amy enjoys long country walks, getting stuck into a good book, and nights at the Jazz Bar. She also hopes to have her own herb garden one day. 

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