Book Festival Visit from Maryhill Integration Network

28 September 2019

We are really enjoying hosting a group of more than 50 refugee women and children from across the world at Wigtown Book Festival today.
The trip has been organised by the charity Open Book in partnership with the Maryhill Integration Network (MIN).
Two events in our Big Wig children’s programme have been specially organised to have readings in English and Arabic. 
The children’s books One Button Benny and Big Bill the Beltie Bull have both been translated into Arabic by Glasgow-based Syrian war refugee Saffanna Al-jbawi.
Our visitors are all based in Glasgow and for many it was a first chance to see rural Scotland and enjoy the countryside.
The group includes people from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Egypt.
During the visit they have spent time in the storytelling yurt at Wigtown Primary School. The school is the location for many of the festival’s 35 children’s events.
Open Book organises the sessions to help the Glasgow-based women build up new social networks, develop their language skills, gain confidence and integrate into Scottish life. 
The visit to Wigtown will allow the women to attend events with their children and experience a book festival as a family. 
• Picture by Colin Hattersley