Almost a quarter of adult Scots men admit they never read books for pleasure, according to research.
The poll, commissioned by the Scottish Book Trust, has prompted a new campaign to encourage men to read more books and pass the habit on to their children.
The ‘Bookfellas’ initiative, launched today, will see 20 prominent male authors, entrepreneurs and journalists share why they believe in the power of reading.
“Numerous studies have shown that fewer men read for pleasure than women, and we know that only a quarter of dads under-25 read to their children, compared to over 60 per cent of mums in the same age group,” said Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust.
“Our Bookfellas will help us to change these statistics for the better, by providing us with much-needed funds to continue our work, and by becoming a role model for reading in their families, at work and with friends.”
Best-selling crime author Ian Rankin, one of Scotland’s most recognised writers, is among those taking part.
“As a writer I’m obviously passionate about books and keen that everyone should be reading,” he said.
“But I’m also a dad, and reading to my sons was an important bond between us when they were young.
“Now they’re grown, we still share stories and the thrill of those early adventures lingers, hopefully to be passed on.”
Among the others taking part is novelist Peter Ranscombe, who wrote the book Hare about Scotland’s most notorious murders.
He said: “Reading is really magic – it helps to raise attainment for children at school, it can lead on to better job opportunities, and it gives you a world into which you can escape when life gets stressful.
“I chose to get involved with Bookfellas because I want to help share that magic with men and their children.”
Author events will see writers and illustrators visit libraries in every local authority over Book Week Scotland.
Alexander McCall Smith, Liz Lochhead, Christopher Brookmyre, Lisa McInerney, Jenni Fagan, Jill Mansell, Simon Scarrow, Isabel Greenberg, Clare Mackintosh and Jodi Picoult are all involved.
Fundraising activities planned to encourage reading include climbing a mountain and reciting a scene from King Lear, celebrating The 39 Steps by walking 39km, running a whisky and literature tour, and making a film about ten fathers reading books to their families.