James Robertson & Kate Leiper ‘The Book of the Howlat’

Children & Family
Date: Saturday 21st May
Time: 10am-11am
Venue: Birnam Arts Main Hall
Cost: Free + £1 booking fee


Believing himself to be ugly, a young owl (howlat) decides to speak to the most handsome bird of all, the peacock, and ask his help so that Nature can change him. But the peacock isn’t sure this should be done – after all, Nature doesn’t usually make mistakes – and summons a council of birds to make a decision. A huge feast takes place, and Nature herself appears and orders all the birds present to give the owl one of their feathers. But the result is not what they expect. The howlat’s initial joy turns to unbearable arrogance at his new-found beauty, and drastic action must be taken …

‘A powerful hymn to being ‘true to yer ain nature’, magnificently illustrated by Kate Leiper’ – Vicky Allan (Sunday Herald – Best Reads of 2016)

James Robertson is one of Scotland’s most significant writers, whose novels include ‘Joseph Black’ (winner of the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year 2003/2004), and ‘News of the Dead’, featured at this year’s Birnam Book Festival. He is general editor of the Scots children’s book imprint ‘Itchy Coo’, and has translated classic children’s novels into Scots.
Kate Leiper is an award-winning artist and illustrator who regularly exhibits and undertakes commissions throughout the UK. She is particularly drawn to mythical and animal subjects and has previously worked on Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales and An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures. In 2022, Kate became our Illustrator in Residence.

This event is suitable for children and families.

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Book ot the Howlat