Susi Briggs at Big DoG Children's Book Festival

The new Scots Scriever talks Scots book recommendations and her visit to the festival.

19 March 2024
The Big Dog mascot, a large and fluffy orange dog, from the children's book festival in Dumfries.

Susi Briggs loves storytelling and she also loves the Scots language – both come together in delightful children’s books like Yum. We had a chat with Susi, who is from Dumfries and Galloway, ahead of her event at this year’s Big DoG.

Children's author Susi Briggs sitting by a roaring fire reading a book.

Tell us about Yum and your Big DoG event

Yum is a gentle story aboot sharing. A wee lassie called Jenny is suddenly joined fer lunch by a moose, a craw and a hairy oobit who have all seen her yummy cheese and lettuce piece! Will Jenny share it wi them? I will be sharing my latest picture book Yum alongside my other picture books. There will be plenty of audience participation with singing, puppets and playing hide and seek wi Scots Word Pixies. Yum is illustrated by Charlotte Brayley and published by Foggie Toddle Books.

Why is it that so much of your work is in Scots?

I dedicated my career tae writing in Scots because I could see there wis a lack o visibility and representation o Scots language for weans in literature or in the mainstream in terms of audio visual or audio visual content. I felt it important tae create in this way tae embolden and encourage Scots speaking weans tae be heard, seen and accepted. Also tae encourage New Scots tae embrace the leid that they wid be hearing around them on a daily basis. I am passionate aboot Scots literacy and representation.

It was quite an honour to be chosen as Scots Scriever – what’s involved?

I am passionate aboot Scots literacy and positive representation o the Scots language. For years I have worked hard at pushing doors open and knocking doon barriers tae mak shair Scots language is seen and represented in the creative sector as weel as education. Tae get this role has certainly been affirmation that I have been on the richt path and is allowing the me the resources tae create new Scots writing this year. The role allows me tae develop Scots language projects that I have been desperate tae see come tae fruition for a lang time. The National Library of Scotland access will likely inspire some archival inspired writing that will amplify voices fae the past that need tae be heard.

You are an author, poet, storyteller, and podcaster - why do you love stories so much?

Stories heal other people’s stories. It is a form of expression that can allow for the greatest healing and enlightenment either by the hearing o them or the telling o them.

You are based in Galloway, what makes the region special to you?

I was born in Dumfries and Galloway and the region is special to me because o the people and the history and the landscape. It is where my roots are.

If parents want to introduce children to stories in Scots what would you recommend?

I would recommend they explore my picture books, Yum, Wheesht, Nip Nebs and the Last Berry and Nip Nebs of course. I would also encourage them tae listen tae the Scots story and sang show Oor Wee Podcast. Oor Wee Podcast was created by masel and Alan McClure and is packed tae the brim wi original and classic stories and sangs in Scots language.  I wid also recommend they look at other Scots language translation books. There are a wheen o them available published by Itchy Coo Books. I would also encourage them tae borrow the books from the local library or buy them from the local independent bookshops too. There are Scots language games on the Scots Language Centre website.  There are audio stories Stories in Scots on BBC Scotland website. Also there is the educational resource website by Matthew Fitt called Scots in Schools that has fun content for the weans tae engage wi. I would also encourage them tae listen for Scots around them as they gan aboot thier day and normalise hearing it and speaking Scots language.

Join Susi on Sunday, 24 March, in Dumfries to hear about Wee Jenny as she learns about sharing and how to make new friends with a Craw, a Moose, and a Hairy Oobit. Tickets and further information here.

Learn more about Susi and her work on her website