Media release: Explore your inner artist at Boswell Book Festival

Bozzy All Media RDS

NEW Orleans’ artist and illustrator, Harriet Burbeck, joins a superb line-up of professional, practising artists and tutors from the Royal Drawing School at this year’s Boswell Book Festival.

The festival’s unique theme of biography, coupled with our shared fascination for exploring other people’s lives, inspires the similar curiosity experienced by the artist engaged in the vibrant process of life drawing.

And it is against this creative backdrop that 2017’s festival artists invite people of all ages and abilities to come along and join them to pick up a pencil, to experiment and to discover their own inner artist. Quite simply, this is a fantastic opportunity!

Harriet Burbeck is currently an MA student in illustration at Edinburgh College of Art.

Her work has always been closely linked to the written word. As this year’s ‘festival illustrator-in-residence’, she will lead the 150th anniversary celebrations of the birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder – the ‘pioneer girl’ from the American West who, inspired by her own legendary ‘wild west family’ famously wrote the Little House on the Prairie series.

Harriet – along with bestselling children’s author, Vivian French – will run a week-long project beginning Monday, May 8, in local Ayrshire primary schools; enabling children to create large collage panels which will be completed in time for the festival.

To the children’s delight, they will be on show in the Engineering Centre at Dumfries House during the festival weekend; thereafter, in Auchinleck Primary School.

Harriet is thrilled to be participating in this year’s festival’s richer-than-ever eclectic celebration of books and writing.

She says: “I’m very excited about the chance to celebrate Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 150th birthday.

“As an illustrator, literary events in particular have a special appeal for me. I created the poster for the New Orleans Book Fair and have been part of it for most of the past eight years.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity to be a part of the Boswell Book Festival here in Scotland, particularly because of its unique theme.”

This young American illustrator’s work perfectly complements that of Royal Drawing School artists, Hannah Murgatroyd, Anna Ilsley and Sophie Charalambous, who will be running a programme of six contrasting drawing sessions in the Rothesay Room at Dumfries House, on Saturday May 13 and Sunday May 14.

Each artist has something very special to share with all those who attend these sessions – regardless of their age or ability – and all involved can be assured of the very highest standard of tuition.

It is truly fabulous opportunity for those who have perhaps always wanted to summon the courage to draw or paint, yet who have never quite known how to start or which way to turn.

All the sessions are designed to thrill and encourage those who perhaps have never had the confidence to develop their artistic talent in this way. And for those who have already ventured into this territory, then these workshops are sure to progress their journey in ways they perhaps have never imagined.

The artist/tutors

Hannah Murgatroyd is a painter, draughtsman and writer. She undertook The Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School in 2006, after her MA at the Royal College of Art where she won the Man Drawing Prize. She was the Overall Award winner of the Exeter Contemporary Open 2014, and has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2008. She currently teaches with the Royal Drawing School at Drawing School Central.

Anna Ilsley graduated from the Royal Drawing School in 2010. Following The Drawing Year Anna went on the IIFA teaching and artists residency in Modingar, India. She was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2011 and was awarded The British School at Athens residency and bursary in 2013. Anna now teaches at both Drawing School Central and on The Drawing Clubs and continues to be a practising artist.

Sophie Charalambous is a visual artist and designer. She studied Fine Art Painting at Brighton University and undertook postgraduate studies on the Motley Theatre Design course before working for several years as a theatre designer. In 2009, she also attended The Drawing Year at the Royal Drawing School and, in 2010, exhibited in the Discerning Eye Drawing Award and was commissioned by Van Cleef and Arpels to draw in their workshops in Paris.

She now combines her own practice with working collaboratively in the theatre and leading arts projects with community groups. She teaches drawing and painting with the Royal Drawing School to adults at Drawing School Central and on The Foundation Year and regularly collaborates with The British Museum to create and deliver events and workshops which respond to their changing exhibitions. She favours working from observation and memory using a variety of materials.

All drawing materials are provided, as are studio models and props. The art collection at Dumfries House, the gardens and woodland all feature in the following sessions many of which are, appropriately for a book festival, inspired by readings from Scottish literature, legends and poetry.

  • Drawing the head – classical tuition – begin at the beginning
  • Drawing out and about – having fun with nature – out and about on the Dumfries House grounds and estate
  • Drawing the body clothed – recognising form and fluidity

Drawing can be direct, incisive, intimate, surprising, funny or confrontational. Everyone can draw and will find themselves pleasantly surprised if they sign up to some of the sessions and workshops this wonderful opportunity affords.


Notes for editors:

For artist interviews: contact:


OR email

Full festival programme:

Carol Carr Marketing and PR: Boswell Book Festival


Tel: 01988 700 974

Mb: 07766 754 877

Facebook and Twitter @bozzyfest for regular updates


Festival facts

Location: Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire, KA18 2NJ

Directions and site plan: /Location

Tickets: Royal Drawing School Events: per Session: £8 £6 (c) /£4 Age 8 – 16

Author talks: £8 £6 (c) Children’s/Families: £1 Some events vary in price; some are free.

Online at:

Box Office: 01563 554 900

In person: Waterstones, High Street, Ayr, Palace Theatre Kilmarnock

Book signing: Authors will sign books in the new Café/Bookshop Marquee immediately after their events.

Booksellers: Waterstones of Ayr will run the Festival Bookshop from the Café/Bookshop Marquee

Catering: On site: Festival Café Bar, Woodlands Restaurant, Coach House Café

On-site accommodation: It is possible to book a room in the Tamar Manoukian Outdoor Centre, on the Dumfries House Estate, for just £25pppn, including breakfast. Rooms sleeping from two-four. Booking number 01290 429917 (Anne Kelso)

Parking: There is parking on the Dumfries House Estate. Access to Dumfries House is from the A70 Ayr/Cumnock or Cummnock/Ayr direction. There is only ONE entrance to the festival, marked ‘Dumfries House Cars Only.’

Sponsors: We are eternally grateful to all our funders and sponsors without whom this event could not proceed. We thank them for their invaluable support. In particular, we thank Creative Scotland who has kindly supported the festival since 2011.

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

The Boswell Trust:

The Boswell Book Festival is an event inaugurated and staged by The Boswell Trust, a charity registered in Scotland that is established for the promotion of heritage, literary arts and education, specifically the restoration of James Boswell’s mausoleum in Auchinleck churchyard and the creation of a visitor attraction in the adjoining Boswell aisle.

The Boswell Book Festival has experienced phenomenal growth, especially, since its relocation in 2015 to Dumfries House. It has now developed well beyond the capacity of its original site of Boswell’s family home Auchinleck House.

The Boswell Book Festival shares and complements the passion and commitment of HRH Duke of Rothesay who, as the tenth anniversary of his spectacular rescue of Dumfries House approaches, are dedicated to promoting both the economic and cultural regeneration of East Ayrshire.

Boswell Book Festival trustees: James Knox (chair), Peter Kennerley, Margaret Boswell Elliot, Caroline Knox, Gillian Watson and Dr. William Zachs.

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