It could be Chris Guthrie of Sunset Song, Duncan Thaw of Lanark, or perhaps Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Rebus.

Book Week Scotland, which launched this morning, is looking for Scotland's favourite literary character from a Scottish book as part of this year's celebrations.

The programme, a celebration of books and reading, which runs from November 24 to 30, also features hundreds of free events across the country, a giveaway of free books and the unveiling of five large art installations.

The programme has the work of libraries as its focus, and readers will also be asked to write a "love letter" to their local library by post or email, with Jackie Kay, the leading Scottish poet and writer having written a five part poem to a library.

This poem forms the basis for the artworks which will appear in North Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh and The Shetland Islands.

The week of events, organised by Scottish Book Trust, will also unveil the results of the reader's poll on the nation's favourite character from a Scottish book, with a short list of 50 characters.

These include Peter Pan, JK Rowling's Harry Potter, the Gruffalo, Precious Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Begbie from Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting and Hit Girl from Mark Millar's Kick Ass, among many others.

Around 150,000 free copies of a short story and poem collection, Scotland's Stories of Home, will be distributed throughout the week via libraries, bookshops and other outlets. Schools will also receive an e-publication featuring Scottish pupil's stories of home.

Three free picture books will be gifted to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland: Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins, Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray and Lost for Words by Natalie Russell.

The events are funded by £250,000 from Creative Scotland.

Sophie Moxon, acting director of Scottish Book Trust, said: "It is well known that a love of reading brings lasting social and emotional benefits, helps build families and, at its most powerful, transforms lives.

"We also know that a love of reading is one of the great levelers in society, representing an opportunity for everyone to have an equal chance at success.

"But reading is also just finding a book that you enjoy and losing yourself in it. Or snuggling up with your child and a picture book for the pure pleasure of being close to each other. W

"We will celebrate all these aspects of reading during Book Week Scotland, and we will provide opportunities for everyone, at every stage of the reading journey, to get involved."

Leonie Bell, director of creative development at Creative Scotland, said: "Book Week Scotland 2014 offers a programme for book lovers, whether it's the magic of words, the wonder of libraries or the worlds within books.

"Whether it's writing a love letter to your local library, voting for the Scottish character you love or meeting the author you love to read at one of the 600 events across Scotland, there's something for everyone."

Fiona Hyslop, culture secretary, said: "I am delighted that Book Week Scotland - a national celebration of reading - will take place for the third time from Monday 24 to Sunday 30 November. Yet again its vibrant programme offers something for everyone, as it seeks to inspire people across Scotland to begin or continue to engage with reading and books in imaginative ways."

For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit

Here's the Book Week Scotland 2014 Fictional Character Shortlist:

Alan Breck Stewart, Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson

Badger, The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

Bascule The Teller, Feersum Endjinn, Iain M Banks

Begbie, Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh

Blake, Ostrich Boys, Keith Gray

Catherine McKenna, Grace Notes, Bernard MacLaverty

Chris Guthrie, Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Dangerous Dan McGrew, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, Robert W Service

Delilah, Carol Ann Duffy

Dennis the Menace, The Beano, DC Thomson

Dougal Douglas, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Muriel Spark

Dr Finlay, Dr Finlay's Casebook, AJ Cronin

Dr Jekyll/ Mr Hyde, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

Duncan Thaw/ Lanark, Lanark, Alasdair Gray

Eoin Lachlain Mhor, An Oidhche Mus do Sheol Sinn, Aonghas Padraig Caimbuel

Frances Crawford of Lymond, The Game of Kings, Dorothy Dunnett

Gideon Mack, The Testament of Gideon Mack, James Robertson

Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

Hit Girl, Kick Ass, Mark Millar

Holy Willie, Robert Burns

Isserley, Under the Skin, Michel Faber

Jack Parlabane, various, Christopher Brookmyre

Jean Brodie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

Joss Moody, Trumpet, Jackie Kay

Joy Stone, The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Janice Galloway

Judge Dredd, 2000 AD, Alan Grant (and John Wagner)

Kali, The Boy with the Bronze Axe, Kathleen Fidler

Katie Morag, Katie Morag, Mairi Hedderwick

Laidlaw, Laidlaw, William McIlvanney

Long John Silver, Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

Morvern Callar, Morvern Callar, Alan Warner

Mrs Scott (The Old Woman), Consider the Lilies, Iain Crichton Smith

Oor Wullie, Oor Wullie, DC Thomson

Para Handy, Tales of Para Handy, Neil Munro

Peter Pan, Peter Pan, J M Barrie

Precious Ramotswe, No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith

Prentice McHoan, The Crow Road, Iain Banks

Raonaid, Raonaid, Cairistiona Dick

Rebus, various, Ian Rankin

Richard Hannay, The 39 Steps, John Buchan

Robert Wringham/ Gil-Martin, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, James Hogg

Sadie, Across the Barricades, Joan Lingard

Sammy Samuels, How Late it Was, How Late, James Kelman

Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle

Tam O'Shanter, Tam O'Shanter, Robert Burns

The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson

The Midge, Edwin Morgan

Tony Hill, Wire in the Blood, Val McDermid

Here is Jackie Kay's Book Week Scotland poem:


Love Letters to the Library

See when ah wiz wee

ma faverit day wis

Wednisday, library day,


when Ma an me wid go tae ma library

an I wid get to pik ma book

an get it stampd oot


efter the ither yin had been stampd in

and I hid ma very ain card

which wiz a wee magic envlope


that took me tae anither world

awthegither fu o' caracters an creatures, auntie lopes,

big broon bears, loins and tigrs, new wurds


an anythin an aw'thin I wants tae ken aboot

the moon, stars, sea, the hale galaxy, the wide wurld

wiz at the tip o my fingers in ma locall library.



Always a new book to wolf down in the dead of night,

a borrowed book to read by torchlight…

In the morning, last night's saved page turns

to who last had this book out

and the date returned, 9 June, this year.


This same book in a stranger's hands, half-known.

Those readers, kindred spirits, almost friends.

You are in transition; you are on the threshold.

The library is the place that gets you. Pure gold.


You are Holden, you're Lyra, you're White Fang,

you're Kidnapped, you're Skellig, you're Refugee Boy.

You're Callum, a nought, you're Catch 22.

You're Chris Guthrie. You're Hyde. You're Boo Radley.

It's not Accidental. You are those books. Those books are You.


Inside your mind you're strong. Safe.

Toss a coin: heads, reader; tails, writer.

The library is the young writer's first home.

You read pertinent sayings, make your own.

The cool teenager is a member of the library.



I go to my library to find out about the baby

growing like a story inside me: 37 weeks!


My baby is likely to be sucking his thumb, her thumb.

My tight tummy is a drum, a drum.


The child who I will one day - hopefully -

bring back to this library, ah wee one, is turning.


I'll get her a first library card, bless,

and sit where I'm sat now, reading, to test


the books I'll soon read to him, fingers crossed.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


The Runaway Bunny, Goodnight Moon

37 weeks: my tummy- boom, boom, beating time!


Come soon wee baby; wee baby come soon.

Come dream in your basket under the shy moon,


My hungry caterpillar, my goodnight gorilla.

My dear wee daughter, my good little fella. 



A book borrowed, kindly given.

A book swapped, loved, exchanged.

A book you will always hand back.

A book is a coat for your mind.


You've reached the age, 50 something, when you look back

on borrowed books as if they were old friends -

with nostalgia, with affection, intimately known.


The time when you read The Raj Quartet, or Han Suyin

Toni Morrison or Memo for Spring,

Things Fall Apart or Fire on the Mountain.

Poor Madame Bovary. Poor Anna Karenina.


Your life: many characters, bleak houses, long day's journeys.

Your life of mixed fates, give and takes;

What you borrowed last month, you return today.



Dear Library,you want to say, Dear Library, you have served me

well all my life. You are magnificence, munificence.

You are a book festival every day. There is no way, me an OAP,

could ever value what you've given me by money.


There is no measure for the enriching of the mind, friend.

Faithful and trusty, Dear Library, you are a heart stopper, a kind giver.

I treasure your lively silence; your very pleasant librarians.

They represent what a public service is truly, libertarian.


Impossible, did I say that already, to put a price on that. Again,

stop me if I am repeating myself, your staff will tell

me of a Saramago Street in a nearby town.

Browse, borrow, request, renew - lovely words to me.

A library card in your hand is your democracy.


If you were to shut, Dear Library, it would break my heart.

A library user all my life, I'd be lost without my library.

A closed library could only welcome a closed mind.

Is there a kinder place that you can find than your local library?


I want to say, and I do. I pick up my pen and write to you.