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Mermaid tale is unique first book

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By Fiona Reid
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Mermaid tale is unique first book

A STORYTELLING group based in the region are releasing their first picture book this weekend.

‘The Kippford Mermaid’ is a tale of love and tragedy specially written for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

The book is unique as it has been developed, written and illustrated by a group of seven who themselves have additional support needs and learning disabilities. They belong to multi-sensory storytelling group The Arts End of Somewhere, with the support of PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society).

And the debut authors, Courtney Scriven, Faye Cattenach, India O’Mara, Katie Wright, Sarah Law, Skye Hughes and Zoe Charlesworth, hope their work will support others who have difficulty accessing literature and Scottish folklore.

The story is a re-telling of a traditional Scottish folktale and tells the passionate story of a drowning sailor rescued by a beautiful mermaid. Multi-sensory activities help it come to life for readers.

It was created during the Covid 19 lockdown with funding support from the Holywood Trust, Young Scot, Time to Shine, Creative Scotland and Dumfries Lions Club.

Heather Molloy, PAMIS programme lead for inclusive culture in Dumfries, said: “The group have worked so hard, especially during lockdown, to create their book and it has been a pleasure to work alongside them as they have brought their creative vision to life and I wish them every success.”

The publishers are Curly Tale Books and director Shalla Gray said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to collaborate with the Arts End of Somewhere on The Kippford Mermaid. I am so pleased with how wonderful the book has turned out, from the amazing illustrations to the fun sensory activities, and know it will bring joy to everyone who reads it.

“Curly Tale Books is proud to confirm that all proceeds from sales of the book will go to Pamis to help continue their amazing work.”

The Kippford Mermaid will be launched at the Edinburgh International Book Festival tomorrow (Saturday). There will be a further local launch event at The Usual Place in Dumfries on August 26.

It will be available at https://learning.edbookfest.co.uk/.

Pictured above: the authors, left to right: Katie Wright, India O’Mara, Sarah Law, Courtney Scriven, Faye Cattenach, Zoe Charlesworth and Skye Hughes. Photo by Kim Ayres

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