Scotland

Diana Gabaldon at Stirling Castle as Book Week 2015 gets under way

Diana Gabaldon
Image caption Diana Gabaldon wrote the novels on which the TV series Outlander, set in Scotland, is based

Scotland's fourth national celebration of books and reading is taking place this week, with events across the country.

American author Diana Gabaldon - who wrote the novels on which the TV series Outlander is based - will address fans at Stirling Castle later.

Writers including Val McDermid and Michel Faber are among other authors who will make appearances.

Businesses will also be urged to set up reading spaces for their staff.

Events being staged around the country include poetry at football matches, author appearances and an online poll to find the nation's favourite quote from a book.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, will announce four new reading communities in Scotland and call on companies to set up designated areas to encourage staff to read.

It follows research from the University of Sussex which showed reading for just six minutes a day reduced stress more than other activities like walking and playing video games.

Mr Lambert said: "We need to create a culture of reading at every level in society. And that is why I want to launch a specific call to action to businesses and organisations: appoint your own company reading ambassador, with the task of making books and reading a normal part of the working day.

"Through the simple measure of creating a reading ambassador to oversee small changes such as creating a book swap area, scheduling reading breaks, marking out a dedicated reading space or starting a book club, businesses and organisations will give their staff a clear message that they value their personal health and development, and will be contributing to a wider social aim of promoting reading in every aspect of life."

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Image caption Books from the shortlist for the Scottish Children's Book Awards will be given away to pupils

Authors and illustrators will visit libraries in every local authority, with appearances by the likes of Kate Mosse, AL Kennedy, Arne Dahl and The Girl on a Train author Paula Hawkins.

A new campaign called #ThankBooks will be launched, encouraging members of the public to share how books or people from the world of books have inspired them or changed their life.

During the week, 150,000 free copies of a short story and poem collection written by ordinary Scottish people, Journeys, will be handed out via libraries, bookshops and other outlets.

In addition to this three free picture books, comprising the shortlist for the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2016, will be gifted to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland.

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