Bringing Story Nation to Edinburgh's Sick Children's Hospital

Bringing Story Nation to Edinburgh's Sick Children's Hospital

Today the Book Festival is delighted to announce a new 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 in Edinburgh. Part of our Story Nation strand of community-focused activity, the visits start in November with socially distanced workshops offering young patients the opportunity to engage with words, stories, books and authors.

In the first block of weekly two-hour workshops, illustrator Katie Chappell will be working with the young people to design and decorate their very own journal using washi tape, stickers and brush pens. These workshops will give the young people ideas to continue working on their journal after the sessions end, giving them a beautiful, personalised place to record thoughts and experiences during their hospital stay.

Our Communities Programme Director, Noelle Cobden, 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.”

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.”

In light of restrictions surrounding the Covid19 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 containing: a blank journal, pens, stencils and washi tape to use and keep (the boxes/materials will be quarantined for 72hrs before being taken onto the wards). The authors and illustrators will wear hospital-grade PPE (masks, gloves, aprons) and will adhere to hospital hygiene procedures.

In addition, we're providing filmed events from the 2020 Online Book Festival to be used as content 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.

Story Nation is a long-term creative programme working in partnership with a range of organisations across Scotland to bring the spirit of Edinburgh International Book Festival to communities and people who face significant barriers to attending the August Festival. 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.

Story Nation 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. For regular updates and more information, visit

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