North-east schoolchildren descend on Word Festival

North-east schoolchildren descend on Word Festival

Schoolchildren from Aberdeen city, shire and Moray will descend on the University of Aberdeen today (Tuesday May 10) as the Marathon Oil Schools’ Festival gets underway.

Forming part of Word – the University of Aberdeen Writers Festival – the three-day event will see youngsters meet top authors and illustrators, join in drama and hands-on workshops and enjoy traditional storytelling.

The Schools’ Festival at Word has grown year on year and for 2011 it has attracted schools from as far afield as Elrick, Midmar, Speyside, Elgin and Lossiemouth.

Highlights of this year’s Schools’ Festival include a session today with best-selling author and illustrator Ross Collins who will explain how he creates monsters, vampires and werewolves. He will also give pupils hints and tips about how they can draw their own creations.

On Wednesday Glenn Murphy, author of the best-selling kids’ science books Why is Snot Green? and How Loud Can You Burp? will explore a world of questions about science and nature tackling everything from dinosaurs and vampire bats to moon bases and alien life in his fast-paced, audience participation show.

In other workshops children will learn about medieval scribes and the making of manuscript books and explore some of the treasures of the University of Aberdeen’s collections. The popular Reading Bus will also be on campus with storyteller Sheena Blackhall.

Jill Burnett, coordinator of the Marathon Oil Schools’ Festival, said: “We are expecting more than 1,000 pupils from school across Aberdeen city and shire and Moray to descend on campus over the next three days.

“Once again we have a strong line-up and will be joined by best-selling children’s authors, illustrators and storytellers.

“Firing young imaginations and helping to develop a lifelong interest in books is a key element of the Word Festival and we are delighted that as a result of continued sponsorship from Marathon Oil we have been able to offer these events free of charge.”

In addition to the Schools’ programme, the Marathon Oil Children’s Festival will run alongside the main Word Festival on Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15 with a host of free family events.

Glenn Murphy will make a second appearance between 2 and 3pm on Saturday and young book-lovers can also enjoy sessions ranging from a look at the science behind famous spells and potions to exploration of the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens and a session with authors Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell who will talk about their hugely successful Edge Chronicle books.

On Sunday (May 15) Catriona Lexi Campbell will share terribly scary stories in both English and Gaelic, the Dragonfly Puppet Theatre will be on campus, young drama enthusiasts can create their own piece of theatre and the Car Boot Science team with brew up some lively experiments.

Full details of the Marathon Oil Schools’ and Children’s Festivals can be found on the Word website by visiting

Tickets for all children’s events are free but please do book in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets are available from until Thursday at 2pm. From Thursday afternoon on wards, tickets can be collected from the Word Festival Box Office on Campus based in the King’s College Conference Centre.