Ellon leads World Book celebrations

PUPILS at Ellon Academy are marking World Book Day in style this year, with a visit from an award-winning author.

Scottish author Barry Hutchison will launch his latest book at the school on March 1, with a little help from S1 and local P7 pupils.

A regular visitor to schools in the area, Barry has lifelong ties to the north-east, and is delighted for his new book, The 13th Horseman, to be getting its official launch in Ellon.

One Ellon Academy pupil who shares Barry’s creative flair is his niece, Lauren Kyle, an S4 pupil at the school with a keen interest in story writing.

Barry will also be visiting schools in Oldmeldrum and Turriff, as well as libraries across the area, where he will hold talks and run writing workshops in the hope of inspiring local youngsters to follow in his footsteps. The library service has organised the series of events to encourage young people in the area to use the libraries and start reading for pleasure, supported by top-up funding from the Formartine Area Committee.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Richard Stroud, said: “This is a great way for pupils to celebrate World Book Day and I’m very pleased that these events have been supported by the area top up fund.”

Vice-chair of the committee, Cllr Isobel Davidson, added: “I am delighted that such a local author will again be helping us spread the message to our youngsters that reading is fun!”

Barry said: “I actually came up with the idea for the book when I was a student at Aberdeen College back in 1996. “I was living in a small flat with three very odd flatmates, and the concept for the story just grew from there.”

Since his time as a Media Studies student in Aberdeen, Barry has written 49 books, including his award-winning Invisible Fiends horror series.

Barry’s niece Lauren was born in Aberdeen while he was a student and many of the ideas that eventually found their way into The 13th Horseman were developed on the bus journey in to hospital to see her.

“There’s a nice circularity to it,” Barry said. “I came up with the idea while going to meet Lauren for the first time, and now her school will be the first to hear me talking about the book.”