Web banner 1

Big DoG and Hooked Countdown Press Release

There’s just a few days left before a brilliant weekend of fun at the Big DoG children’s festival and Hooked young readers’ and writers’ event in Dumfries.


From bears in chairs to performance poetry – here come Big DoG and Hooked

  • Super stories from top authors for children and families
  • Top tips for the next generation of writers, poets and designers

    There’s just a few days left before a brilliant weekend of fun at the Big DoG children’s festival and Hooked young readers’ and writers’ event in Dumfries.

    Big DoG and Hooked take place from 30 March to 2 April.

    Among the attractions at Hooked, which is for 14 to 26 year olds, are the chance to get top tips for an outstanding vocal performance from BBC Slam Champion, the spoken word poet, performer and writer Jenny Lindsay.

    She said: “I'm really looking forward to working with young people in Dumfries to write and perform poems about things that matter to them through playing with words, jigsawing together verses, experimenting, and sharing the results.

    “It will be a fun and open session suitable for those who love poetry and also those who are completely new to it.”

    Hooked, which takes place at Moat Brae and The Stove, focuses on professional development in the arts sector, alongside author talks and entertainment.

    There are clinics for young writers, a theatre design workshop with Finlay McLay whose recent credits include Scottish Opera Young Company, Outlander, and Indiana Jones.

    Then there’s the chance to join Leah McDowell, Art and Production Director of Floris Books, on a crash-course in book cover design.

    She explains how to use colour, typography and imagery to make a book irresistible to readers and sets a cover design challenge.

    Big DoG is the annual family festival named in honour of Nana, the big dog who looks after the Darling children in Peter Pan, and among the authors taking part is Justin Davies, writer of Haarville in an event called Secrets, Seaweed & Scoundrels.

    He will be transporting his audience to Haarville and the world of Manx Fearty, a 12-year-old orphan who is about to lose his family’s perpetual device shop to some sinister, suspicious newcomers.

    Justin said: “It’s great to be back to doing in-person book festival events again and I’m thrilled to be taking part in this year’s Big DoG festival; I can’t wait to welcome young book fans to the murky, mysterious streets of Haarville.”

    Then there’s author and illustrator Ross Collins who will be appearing with author Vivian French for an interactive family event called The Newest Story in the Whole Wide World. They will get together with the audience to create a brand new story, with Ross painting the illustrations right in front of their eyes.

    Ross, a Scottish Children’s Book Award Winner, will also be introducing his book There's a Bear on My Chair.

    He said: “I can't wait to return to my favourite festival! Watch out Big Dog - I'll be bringing a Big Bear with me.”

    Andy Stewart, Big DoG's Executive Producer, said: “We’re really looking forward to a great weekend with Big DoG and Hooked. Big DoG has lots going on for children and families to enjoy – including storytelling and drawing sessions and there’s even a garden party.

    “The line-up for Hooked is really inspiring – and will be great for young people wanting to develop their own creative skills.

    “It includes the chance to take part in writing clinics, discover the art of performance poetry and get insights into the worlds of other amazing people like book cover and theatre set designers.”

    Among Big DoG’s top attractions will be the chance to make your own Gromit, Shaun the Sheep – and other much-loved TV and movie animated characters – at a special workshop run by top Aardman model-maker Jim Parkyn.

    There’s a free family garden party in the gardens at Moat Brae from noon on 1 April with storytelling, puppet theatre, music and face painting. Refreshments and a barbecue will be available.

    Big DoG will also feature an amazing chocolatey strand marking 21 years of Scots language publisher Itchy Coo by celebrating Chairlie and the Chocolate Works by Roald Dahl, translated by Matthew Fitt.
  • Big DoG is supported by Baillie Gifford.
  • See the full programme and book tickets through Wigtown Book Festival website at www.wigtownbookfestival.com.

    - ENDS -

    Notes to Editors

    Big Dog venues
  • Moat Brae, 101 George Street
  • Big DoG HQ, Bookshop & Box Office, 109 High Street
  • The Jolly Roger, 115 High Street
  • Ewart Library, Catherine Street
  • The Stove Network, 100 High Street

    Box office
  • Open 10am-4pm Tuesday to Sunday at Moat Brae, 101 George Street, DG1 1EA & 01387 255549 or 10am-4pm Monday to Friday at Number 11, Wigtown, DG8 9HN & 01988 403222.
  • During the festival tickets can be purchased on the door if an event is not sold out or at Big DoG HQ, 109 High St, DG2 7AD. Please contact 01988 403222 to check availability.

    Online booking at wigtownbookfestival.com.

    Our ticketing policy varies per event. Please check the ticketing policy online wigtownbookfestival.com or call 01988 403222.
  • Further information on www.wigtownbookfestival.com
  • Organised by – Wigtown Festival Company, 11 Main Street, Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 9HN.
  • Wigtown Festival Company is limited by guarantee with charitable status. Charity number SCO37984.
  • Moat Brae is the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling – find out more here https://www.moatbrae.org.

    For further information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or [email protected]