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Edinburgh Book Festival event: Using fiction to teach about the death penalty


Award-winning author Annabel Pitcher discusses her book Ketchup Clouds

Following the success of last year’s sell-out session on fiction and human rights, Amnesty International will hold another event for teachers at the Edinburgh Book Festival. It will explore the use of fiction as a means of informing young people about the death penalty.

Award-winning author Annabel Pitcher’s new novel Ketchup Clouds addresses the profound issues of guilt and punishment through a central character who corresponds with a man on death row. Annabel Pitcher and local teacher Claire Dancer will discuss how fiction can be used in the classroom to stimulate lively discussion around the death penalty.  The panel will explore the power of literature to help teachers introduce the difficult subject of the death penalty, allowing students to confront and debate challenging situations.

The event will be chaired by the Guardian’s Children's rights’s book editor Julia Eccleshare.

Isobel Reid, Head of the English Faculty at Bo'Ness Academy and part of last year's lively panel discussion, said:

“Teachers know that in order to grab our students’ attention we need good stories, and gripping characters. Amnesty does a really great job of making a subject accessible in the classroom – and actually I think it can be hard to close down the discussion once they get going on a moral issue.

“It’s rare to get the opportunity to really discuss how we provoke empathy in our students, let alone how fiction can be such an invaluable tool in prompting a surprisingly impressive level of critical thinking around human rights and the death penalty. I’d recommend this event to all my colleagues – and my friends too.”

Stories and education are both central to Amnesty and this event explores how Children's rights’s books have the power to inspire empathy, tolerance and understanding. Amnesty works extensively with teachers and students across the UK to promote an understanding of human rights.

Where Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh
When 5.00-6.00pm, Thursday 22 August
Price £7.00 (£5.00 concessions)
Booking Buy tickets via the Edinburgh International Book Festival

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