Edinburgh International Book Festival announces new festival ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld

Organisers of the Edinburgh International Book Festival today announced a new initiative bringing together writers, artists and theatre makers with the population of Cumbernauld. ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld, part of the Book Festival’s Booked! programme of events which is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, aims to capture the stories of the people living in and around Cumbernauld, one of Scotland’s original New Towns, and will culminate in a three-day Book Festival in the town in the spring. 

ReimagiNation is part of the Book Festival’s new five-stop tour of the Scottish New Towns, marking 70 years since the passing of the Scottish New Towns Act. It is also 70 years since Edinburgh was designated a Festival City, with both actions taken in response to the destruction and social upheaval created by the Second World War.

ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld culminates in a festival taking over the Town Centre and other nearby venues for three days from 19 – 21 May 2017.  Full programme details will be revealed in April, but visitors will be able to enjoy meeting adult and children’s authors in entertaining events, explore the stories of Cumbernauld and join in discussions on the future of the town amid a range of other fun, free creative experiences. Theatre maker Ishbel McFarlane will offer open sessions of her new performance piece, Plan, an interactive exercise where everyone can design and build a settlement for displaced people – effectively recreating Cumbernauld for the 21st century.  A fun activity where adults and children can experience the rewards and pitfalls of town planning. 

ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld kicks off in March with two residency projects in the town - social historian and writer Daniel Gray links with users of CACE Older People Active Lives.  Their experience of Ishbel McFarlane’s Plan, together with their memories of life in Cumbernauld and beyond, will help them develop fresh stories together, reimagining their home town in exciting and poignant new ways.

Ishbel McFarlane is also bringing Plan to P5 and P6 pupils at Kildrum, St Mary’s, Carbrain and St Margaret of Scotland Primary Schools in March.  The pupils will then spend time with children’s author Mike Nicholson developing stories based on their own experiences of life in the town.  The stories and conversations from both these residencies will feed into the ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld Festival in May.

Janet Smyth, Programme Director for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “We are delighted to be working with Culture NL and various local partners to present ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld, a special community project and festival celebrating the stories of this fascinating New Town.   2017 marks several anniversaries for Cumbernauld and the four other New Towns of Scotland. At a time of increased attention on the town’s unique architecture, urban design and history, we are working to gather and celebrate the human stories amid the bricks and mortar, looking forward to the future of the town as well as exploring the ideas and circumstances which led to its establishment. Our thanks go to the players of People's Postcode Lottery whose support has made ReimagiNation possible.”

Sandra Clements, Chief Executive of CACE Older People Active Lives, said “CACE is delighted to be involved with the Edinburgh International Book Festival. It gives the older residents of the town a voice and opportunity to share some of the amazing stories about their lives, loves, or other feelings about the town! Anything which helps to promote older people and their experiences is invaluable and this opportunity is an extraordinary way to showcase the town in a positive light and more importantly for the people of the town to share with the world just how unique and special they are too.”

Jillian Ferrie, Chief Executive at Culture NL, said “CultureNL welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the first of its New Town festivals -ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld. The project is shaping up with an exciting participative arts and cultural programme for May that celebrates many aspects of the town and its people and highlights what is unique to Cumbernauld.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “As People’s Postcode Lottery continues to grow the amount that our players award to good causes continues to increase. We are very proud that our players can continue to support the development of the Book Festival, giving many more people the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from its valuable work.”  

For up-to-date information about ReimagiNation: Cumbernauld, including regular residency updates and programme information, please visit http://booked.edbookfest.co.uk

ReimagiNation rolls on to East Kilbride and Irvine in August, where authors from the Edinburgh International Book Festival will travel from the capital to meet new readers.   In 2018 the tour continues to Glenrothes and Livingston.

ReimagiNation is part of Booked!, the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the road around Scotland throughout the year, supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, and in Cumbernauld is produced in partnership with Culture NL.

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