A NEW online course linked to the James Tait Black book prizes, presented annually by the University of Edinburgh, has been launched.

The winners of the 2017 prizes will be announced on August 14 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the new course, which is free, develops the partnership between the university and the festival and is entitled "How to Read a Novel".

Course leaders from the university’s Department of English Literature will give participants and introduction to the four key elements found in most fiction – plot, characterisation, dialogue and setting.

The course, hosted by the FutureLearn platform, is the latest in a series of open online courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) from the university, which to date have been taken by more than two million people.


THE AUTHOR of The Gruffalo has added her voice to a national campaign which champions Scotland’s library services.

Julia Donaldson, pictured, is supporting the Libraries Matter campaign from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS), which asks candidates standing in the local government elections on May 4 to protect the library budget and support professionally staffed school libraries.

She said: "Reading broadens the mind, stimulates the imagination and increases literacy. And librarians and libraries are the most important people and places for fostering a love of reading. In particular, school librarians, who develop close relationships with the pupils, often can suggest just the right book to a child from a home where there are few or no books, instilling what can become a lifelong love of reading."

Donaldson also penned an open letter to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last year, despairing about the closure of Argyll & Bute’s school libraries.


PLATFORM in Easterhouse, has announced the line-up for its Outskirts festival for which returns on April 22.

With a line-up of artists representing music, performance, film and visual arts, Outskirts occupies areas of the building not normally used for performances and art installations.

Steev Livingstone of the band Errors and Suse Bear, of Tuff Love, will perform Easterhouse Conversation, a collaborative composition commissioned by Platform, and award-winning performance maker Nic Green presents Cock & Bull, which was originally conceived on the eve of the 2015 UK general election and sees three females convene to perform their own, alternative, party conference.

In the lead up to festival, artists Pester & Rossi have been working in collaboration with their Glasgow based band Fallopé & the Tubes, artist collective Ortonadon, Sally Hackett and Nu Generation, a teenage art group based at Platform. A series of events from the duo, accompanying an exhibition at Platform, will lead to a new piece of live work to be seen for the first time at Outskirts.