We have been running junior programmes in the schools during our Festivals, with authors and illustrators giving talks and workshops to both High School and primary schools; these have been so successful that it seemed clear we should expand on them. We chose the name Hoolie Hoolets, and are grateful to Clare Mackie for the logo designed especially for our wee wise owls. The official launch was blighted last year as the whole Festival had to be cancelled, so we are delighted that it can go ahead this year, bigger and better.
We are very excited to announce that we are starting a new arm to the Hoolets already and this year introduces The Hoolie School of Music Sessions! The inaugural event for senior music pupils will be run by the great fiddler, Duncan Chisholm, together with multi-talented Hamish Napier. During this two-hour session on the afternoon of Thursday 13th November the pupils will compose their own unique tune.
We hope to be able to invite some more of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians to further this event in future. Duncan and Hamish will also be playing in the main Festival on the Friday evening.
On Friday in Mallaig Primary School Alan Windram and Vivian French will be holding sessions to include all the local primaries, and we will soon announce another author for the Monday morning. We hope too for the first time that the children of the Small Isles will be able to come over for the weekend - weather permitting.
Alan Windram will be judging our annual children’s writing competition, which this year has the theme of ‘The Lighthouse’. We have an art competition on the same theme running too, and at the sumptuous celebration prize giving tea party at the end of the weekend. Alan will entertain the youngest members of the community with his songs and dance. Everyone welcome.
For the High School pupils, we have Chris Brookmyre, and Donald S Murray will be holding an event in Gaelic. We also have an exciting workshop for senior English pupils that want to further a career in writing, journalism, or public speaking, and to this end have Edinburgh-based, Literary Agent, Jenny Brown, author and illustrator Vivian French and Lee Randall – well known chair of numerous book festival events around the country, including Wigtown and Edinburgh. The three will join forces to create a very special opportunity for pupils.