Edinburgh International Book Festival brings Story Nation to Sick Kids Hospital

by Rebecca Raeburn
Communication Support

30 October 2020

The Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) has announced a two-year partnership with the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) to provide creative workshops and author visits to children resident in the Sick Children’s Hospital.

The Story Nation project will begin in November 2020, with socially distanced workshops offering young patients the opportunity to engage with words, stories, books and authors.

Noelle Cobden, Communities Programme Director at EIBF, said:

“It is a privilege to be working with Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity to bring Story Nation to children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. As well as providing the opportunity to develop their creative skills and interest in books, Story Nation sessions will be full of fun and excitement, offering the children some much-needed distraction from their illnesses and the hospital environment.”

In the first block of workshops illustrator Katie Chappell will be working with the young people to design and decorate their very own journal, creating a place to record their thoughts and experiences during their hospital stay.

In light of restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 Pandemic, the workshops will take place on a one-to-one basis on the hospital wards. To comply with infection control measures, each child will receive their own activity box (which will be quarantined for 72hrs before being taken onto the wards), and the authors and illustrators taking part will wear hospital-grade PPE, adhering to hospital hygiene procedures.

In addition, the Edinburgh International Book Festival will also be providing filmed events from the 2020 Online Book Festival for film nights at the Hospital. These will include A New Kind of Superhero with Samantha Baines, Get Adventurous with Lily Dyu & Helen Skelton and Brain-fizzing Facts with Emily Grossman.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Deputy Director of Children’s Wellbeing at ECHC, said:

“We are very excited to partner with Edinburgh International Book Festival for this fantastic project. As well as being a fun and creative activity, keeping a journal is a great stress management tool and can have a positive impact on mental and emotional health, so could be very beneficial for young patients. We would like to say a huge thank you to Edinburgh International Book Festival for getting involved with our vital arts programme as it’s projects like this one that enable ECHC to continue to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital.”

Led by a team of highly skilled professional authors and artists, Story Nation will help people who may feel isolated or unheard to make lasting connections with each other through the shared joy of books, reading, writing and conversation.

The project is part of Edinburgh International Book Festival On The Road, a series of events and activities around Scotland throughout the year supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

About Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity believes that nothing should get in the way of being a child and works to make sure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness. The charity distributes around £1.5 million per year to support the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and other children’s healthcare settings across Scotland.

For more information or to donate, visit www.echcharity.org.

About Edinburgh International Book Festival

The Edinburgh International first began in 1983, and since then has grown to become the largest celebration of the written word of its kind in the world. Located in the heart of Edinburgh's historic New Town, each year the Festival transforms Charlotte Square Gardens and the west end of George Street into a magical tented village, a book lovers paradise. The Festival programmes over 900 events, including workshops, Q&As, author discussions, readings, and more, all of which are enjoyed by people of all ages.


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