Big DoG is off the leash and bounding back to Dumfries to unveil the programme for his next children’s book festival.

For the past few months he’s been busy in his kennel writing invitations for his favourite authors, storytellers and others, to join him for the annual event.

This year it runs from 24 to 26 April and there are 20 events and activities including book readings, films, puppet shows and a whole bundle of adventures. They will take place all over town – with festival HQ at the Peter Pan Moat Brae National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

Big DoG, is organised by Wigtown Festival Company, and for 2020 the book and storytelling events include:

  • Susi Briggs: Nip Nebs. A tale in Scots from the creators of shortlisted Bairns’ Book o the Year. Will Nip Nebs convince the noisy birds to share the last berry?
  • Pamela Butchart: Wigglesbottom Primary. Join the Blue Peter Best Story Award-winner for entertaining antics at the school where dinosaur bones are found under the playground and there’s an invasion of bunnies.  
  • Nicola Davies: Grow: Secrets of our DNA. All living things grow – plants, animals, and humans. When people grow they become more complicated and can do more things. And they don’t have to think about it, because bodies come with instructions, or DNA. 
  • Vivian French: How Billy Hippo Learned His Colours. Billy is worried about what to get dad for his birthday. His sister suggests something pink. With the help of a parrot and two cheeky frog friends, Billy learns his colours and finds his dad a special gift.
  • George Hoyle: That’s Not My…. Hunt for the magical rainbow party and meet lots of friends along the way in this sensory adventure with storyteller George Hoyle. Explore your senses with bubbles, hail, snow and lots of songs.
  • Will Hughes: What Not To Give An Ogre For His Birthday. Stanley and Martha set off in search of the perfect gift after an ogre moves in next door. But it turns out there are lots of things you shouldn’t buy an ogre. Will they ever find a good present?
  • Alasdair Hutton & Will Gorman: Mustard & Pepper. While the children play hide and seek in the gardens of Abbotsford, Anna loses her necklace and everyone ties to find it. But will Dandie Dinmont’s Mustard and Pepper ever get their turn?
  • Esther Kent: Molly’s Circus. Mum has lots to do today. But it doesn’t matter because there’s a circus in Molly’s garden. While Mum is busy, Molly’s imagination brings to life a joyful riot of trapeze from the trees, clowns, animal acrobats and performers on tricycles. 
  • Ross Mackenzie: Evernight. Thousands of years ago, the Evernight came to the Silver Kingdom and was only defeated by the bravery of the Witches. But now it is back. The latest fantasy adventure from the winner of the Scottish Children’s Book Award 2012.
  • Heather Molloy: The Arts End of Somewhere. Exploring local folk tales through multi-sensory storytelling. Join them to explore the tragic love story of the Kippford Mermaid.
  • Chae Strathie: So You Think You’ve Got it Bad. Step back in time and explore what life was like in ancient Rome. Life for kids was pretty tough, washing clothes in wee, snacking on dormice and fighting in gladiatorial combat! 
  • Lea Taylor: Animals, Beasties and Monsters of Scotland. Sparkling with magic and exploding with adventure, these folk tales have been passed down from our ancestors. Join Lea as she sets free these fast, cunning and scary beasties and monsters. 
  • Alan Windram & Saffanna Al-jbawi: One Button Benny (English/Arabic). Benny is a special robot. A red button on his stomach says “Only Press In An Emergency”. Join author Alan and translator Saffanna Al-jbawi. Suitable for non-English speakers.

The festival is named after Nana, the big dog who looks after the children in Peter Pan, the children’s story which has its origins at Moat Brae.

Anne Barclay, Programme Director, said: “This year’s Big DoG is going to be great, over the past few months he’s had his paws full arranging a festival where there will be loads of great authors reading their books plus film, music, puppets and even dinosaurs.

“And something he’s very excited about is that many of the 20 events will be taking place at Moat Brae – the place where Peter Pan began.”

As well as storytelling there will be a Goldilocks and the Three Bears puppet show at the Theatre Royal, free face painting at Moat Brae, and a chance to see Call of the Wild, about a big-hearted dog’s adventures, at the Robert Burns Centre.

Kimberlie Hamilton has a Generation Hope event for young activists wanting to build a better world and there’s loads of dinosaur fun at Dumfries Museum – plus great musical entertainment at the Royal Burgh of Dumfries Tattoo. 

Wigtown Festival Company, who run the event, are delighted with the programme and grateful to the funders and sponsors of Big DoG – including our media partners at the Dumfries Courier who are helping us spread the word about the festival.  

And if you can’t wait for April – this week we are launching a creative writing competition for children 5-18 year olds living in Dumfries & Galloway. The closing date is Sunday, 26 April to tie in with the final event at Big DoG.

 – ENDS – 

Notes to Editors

  • Website and online tickets –
  • Tickets can be bought at the door during the festival, subject to availability. Or you can call 01988 403222, or buy them in person from Moat Brae House, Dumfries or 11 Main Street, Wigtown.
  • Organised by – Wigtown Festival Company, 11 Main Street, Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, DG8 9HN.
  • Wigtown Festival Company is limited by guarantee with charitable status. Charity number SCO37984.

About Big DoG

  • The festival is supported by Creative Scotland, Baillie Gifford and Dumfries & Galloway Council.
  • Other supporters include Carson & Trotter Chartered Accountants, Gowans of Castle Douglas, Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, Theatre Royal, University of Glasgow (Dumfries Campus).
  • Big DoG is drawn by Claudia Boldt. Claudia dreams of being a planet-hunter but has had to make do with a career as an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. 
  • Big DoG himself lives in Dogfries, home of the poet Robert Bones. He loves reading, especially JK Growling, Terrier Pratchett and Pat Barker.

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and further information and interview requests contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org