Ten-year-old author set to star alongside famous festival faces

Rebekah McCrorie, aged 10 from Prestwick, will be reading from her newly published debut book Monster, Monster!
Rebekah McCrorie, aged 10 from Prestwick, will be reading from her newly published debut book Monster, Monster!

A ten-year-old author will star alongside some of the most famous writers at Wigtown Book Festival.

Mairi Hedderwick, Debi Gliori and Vivian French will be joined by one of Scotland’s youngest authors, Rebekah McCrorie, aged 10 from Prestwick, who will be reading from her newly published debut book Monster, Monster!

Her appearance is part of wide and varied children’s programme, and there is also Wigtown: The Festival, a whole series of events and activities for 13-25 year olds.

Rebekah’s book, soon to be available from Waterstones in Ayr and High Street in Prestwick, is about a little girl who believes that a monster is hiding in her bedroom.

Dad Tom, a graphic designer, helped out by creating beautiful illustrations that show the monster exactly as Rebakah imagined it to look.

Mum Gayle said: “Rebekah loves writing stories and we were blown away by this one. It really holds your imagination and has a great twist, so we thought it had all the makings of a popular bedtime storybook.

“She loved working with her dad and was very firm about when he had got the pictures right. It was quite magical for all of us to watch them bring the book to life.”

The family hope the story will help children with nighttime worries – in fact it turned out that before writing her story when she was little Rebekah used to stuff things under her own bed because she was scared that there might be a monster trying to get out. Rebekah has had around 100 copies of the book printed and has opened a business bank account where she is saving the proceeds.

Rebekah, who is already at work on her next book, will be reading from Monster, Monster! at Tuck in Tales on Saturday 23 September at Curly Tale Books at 5.30pm.

Adrian Turpin, Wigtown Book Festival Artistic director, said: “One of the joys of the festival is that we have famous authors rubbing shoulders with others who are just starting out. What we really want to do is celebrate imagination and creativity and one of the most important parts of that is to do everything possible to encourage young readers and nurture new writers. There will be lots going on to help children and young people who want to follow in Rebekah’s footsteps and learn to write or create their own illustrations.”

Highlights from the children’s programme include include Mairi Hedderwick telling tales of Katie Morag, there will also be Matthew Fitt reading from his Scots translations of Roald Dahl stories like The Eejits, Geordie’s Mingin Medicine, and Chairlie and the Chocolate Works.

Adults and children alike will love Philip Ardagh’s tour of The World of Moominvalley, complete with maps, family trees and surprising facts. Discover the characters, share their adventures and learn about their creator, Tove Jansson. Vivian French and Debi Gliori will help children devise their own characters and stories (from the horrid to the awesome) at a workshop called Superheroes vs Monsters.

Dear Dinosaur will see Chae Strathie revealing the unusual friendship between Max and T Rex, who write letters to each other. There’s also plenty with a specific Dumfries and Galloway feel.

A Booktown Bookshelf sees local authors Hazel Stevens, Sandy McKnight and Mary McIlwraith celebrate their new children’s books. Tony Bonning will present Dumfries & Galloway Folk Tales – a chance to hear legends of strange beasts and folk. Among them the men and women capable of tricking the Devil himself, and the tale that inspired Robert Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter.

And locally based storyteller Anne Errington will be presenting legends of gods, fairy folk and other supernatural beings from across the globe. Many of the young adults’ events are hands on, such as the Writing Masterclass with poet Nadine Aisha Jassat who explores issues of gender-based violence, anti-racism and Islamophobia in her writing. She will encourage participants to commit their thoughts to the page. Debi Gliori & Vivian French are on the agenda again, with a session for young adults to devise a character and create an exciting and original story. Then there’s How To Draw with Shoo Rayner who shares the basics of drawing, including the best materials to use and top tips for getting your work out there.

And the Comics Panel will be a chance to learn how to survive and thrive in the comics industry with hot tips from Gary Chudleigh and Alan Grant. Comics writer John McShane leads the discussion.

Wigtown: The Festival (WTF) events and main programme events are free to those under 26 as part of the festival’s mission to encourage young readers and writers. Many of the WTF events might also interest older folk – and ticket prices are pegged at a fiver for them.

A ticket-buying adult must accompany under-12s. Under-2s who do not need a seat are free. Ages in listings are for guidance only.