Reader Hannah books in

Hannah Lavery.
Hannah Lavery.

Hannah Lavery, creative director of CoastWord, Dunbar’s Festival of Words, has been appointed as a Reader in Residence, charged with the task of delivering exciting, fresh projects around reading.

Appointed by the Scottish Book Trust, Hannah will work alongside East Lothian library staff for nine months.

The Readers in Residence programme, funded by Creative Scotland and managed by Scottish Book Trust, will take place in four library authorities across Scotland from May 2015 to April 2016 to help build reading communities. Each reader will work alongside their host library, delivering innovative projects to generate a buzz around libraries and books within the local community.

Hannah lives in Dunbar with her husband and their three children. A former secondary English teacher, she has been a freelance writer since 2013 with residences at The Whole Works in Edinburgh and Bleachingfield Centre in Dunbar. She has had recent commissions from Edinburgh University and Greater Glasgow NHS and is currently working on a new play and her second collection of short stories. She is creative director of CoastWord festival and founding member of Appletree Writers.

Speaking about her appointment, Hannah said: “After developing the CoastWord festival in Dunbar with the support of Dunbar Library, I wanted to use the opportunities offered by the residency to continue and expand our work together. We see this residency in part supporting but also helping to establish CoastWord in Dunbar and throughout the county.

“In developing a strong programme of events that will offer adults and children many opportunities to engage with the library and the festival we hope to create a strong, positive legacy for Dunbar Library and the wider service.

“I will also be visiting and doing events and workshops in other libraries with the idea of taking CoastWord on tour at the end of the year and hopefully, starting another two or three Writing Mums Groups in East Lothian, culminating in a gathering of groups in a special celebration and conference in Dunbar in the autumn.”

Councillor Tim Day, Cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, said: “East Lothian library service is delighted to have been successful in their bid to host a Reader in Residence. The purpose of our residency will be to organise an exciting series of events and initiatives to bring new as well as established adult, child and family audiences to Dunbar library and other libraries and venues, and to establish a legacy and framework for future engagement in and around reading.

“Our brand new resident, Hannah Lavery, is Creative Director of CoastWord, Dunbar’s Festival of Words, a festival with strong community engagement. As well as working with various community groups, being awarded this residency will enable Hannah to develop the CoastWord festival and allow her to introduce outreach events throughout the county.”

Philippa Cochrane, head of reader development at Scottish Book Trust, said: “We are really pleased that Hannah has accepted the position of Reader in Residence in East Lothian.

“The residency will be shaped by her interests and skills and also by the needs of the East Lothian community, and I look forward to seeing the results of this fantastic collaboration.”