The Gruffalo visits St Andrews

Tuesday 29 November 2005

Local children were thrilled when one of their favourite characters, The Gruffalo, and his creator, children’s writer Julia Donaldson, visited St Andrews for a special workshop recently.

The event, which took place in the Public Library, was part of an annual programme of public sessions with creative writers, jointly organised by the library and the University of St Andrews School of English, with sponsorship from Live Literature Scotland.

The collaboration between the School of English and the library is now in its second year and has proved a considerable success.

Julia Donaldson, with her husband Malcolm on guitar, performed a variety of songs and stories including ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Room on the Broom’ – a tale of a witch who shares her broomstick with a host of unlikely animal companions who prove very helpful when she is attacked by a dragon aiming to eat ‘witch and chips’ for his dinner! Children were invited to help act out the parts of the various characters in the tale, to the great delight of all present. Around forty children and twenty adults found themselves captivated as imaginary snakes hissed, owls swooped and frogs jumped. One local mother, asked to play a role in the story, impressed everyone by being word-perfect from the outset: Julia Donaldson’s work is evidently so much in demand by children for bedtime reading that some parents know the stories by heart.

After the performance, many children and parents lingered to meet the author and have their favourite books signed. The Gruffalo, meanwhile, looked on in the shape of an imposing soft toy with purple spines on his back and a green wart on his nose.

“I’m very grateful to Julia and Malcolm for accepting my invitation to come and read here”, said Dr Sara Lodge of the School of English. “The event had been sold out for weeks. Now that we’re sure the demand is there, we can make plans for creative workshops involving larger groups of children. The collaboration between the School of English and the Public Library is a really good example of town and gown working together for the common good. It has gone from strength to strength and I hope that, together, we’ll be able to bring many more authors to St Andrews in the future”.


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information, please contact Claire Grainger, Press Officer – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or [email protected]; Ref: press releases/gruffalo View the latest University news at

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