Talent from the Highlands and Islands is to feature in this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. Running across 14 – 30 August, tickets are available now.
We’ve pulled together a list of events which include Highlands and Islands based writers and publishers. Find full details below.
Scottish Published Showcase: Tue 17 August 11am – 12:30pm
Get a taste of the breadth of Scotland’s vibrant publishing landscape from the shores of Leith to the Isle of Lewis. With 100-plus publishers in Scotland, this event celebrates the voices of the established and debut publishers who, continue to find and bring fresh voices to readers. Look out for books published by Cranachan Publishing, Isle of Lewis and Sandstone Press, Inverness. This showcase event is chaired by Scottish broadcaster and author Sally Magnusson. Get Tickets Here.
Alice Blackwell & Barbara Henderson: Artifacts and Fiction: Thu 19 Aug 10:15 - 11:00
Inverness-based Barbara Henderson is the author of historical novels Fir for Luck and Punch. Her energetic school visits are increasingly taking her across the length and breadth of Scotland, and sometimes beyond. As a Drama teacher, she loves to get young people on their feet as they respond to stories. Published by Cranachan, Isle of Lewis. Be catapulted back in time to the Viking Age with this thrilling new historical adventure story from one of Scotland’s finest children’s authors, Barbara Henderson. In The Chessmen Thief we meet 12 year old Kylan, a Viking slave who helped carve the Lewis chess pieces. When Kylan gets the chance to return to the Isle of Lewis where they were originally crafted, the chess pieces become his only chance of survival. After a reading from the novel and giving some writing tips, Barbara is joined by Dr Alice Blackwell, Senior Curator of Medieval Archaeology and History, and the person who looks after the real-life chess pieces on display in the National Museum of Scotland. Barbara and Alice will be talking to Steve Brusatte, author of The Age of Dinosaurs. Join us to hear them talk about how these incredible medieval artifacts still spark the imagination of so many. Get Tickets Here.
Reading Scotland: Jen Hadfield, Landscape and Light: Tue 24 Aug 20:30 - 22:00
Poet Jen Hadfield sometimes writes outside near her home on Shetland, taking a notebook with her and disappearing into the landscape, returning when she gets cold and hungry. The islands – situated between Scotland and Norway – have provided fertile inspiration for Hadfield, allowing her to collapse the divisions between the land, sea and creatures (human and other) that make the archipelago home. Hadfield does this with such deftness that there is a delicate ambiguity of who is talking: are these the words of the poet, or are one of the many Geos spotted around Shetland speaking back to us? Her latest book of poetry is The Stone Age, a glorious collection of dialogue between a writer and the world. Joining us from Shetland, Hadfield has worked with Glasgow filmmaker Alison Piper to create a new short film based on the collection, which has its premiere at this evening's event as part of our Reading Scotland series, chaired by Scottish singer and songwriter Karine Polwart. Get Tickets Here.
Kathleen Jamie, Peter Mackay & Don Paterson: Heavenly Scottish Poetry: Wed 25 Aug 17:30 - 18:30
Why has Scotland been a haven for poetic excellence for so long? The answers can be found in The Golden Treasury of Scottish Verse, a new anthology edited by three of its leading practitioners, Kathleen Jamie, Peter Mackay and Don Paterson. Containing over 300 poems ranging from the early medieval period to the 21st century, it includes verse by the likes of Robert Burns, Carol Ann Duffy, Sorley MacLean and Liz Lochhead. Joining us to discuss the reasons for their selection, Jamie, Mackay and Paterson also share some of the poems that represent major turning points for Scottish literature – and demonstrate the real reasons why Scotland has been the home of so many venerated poets.
Peter Mackay is a native Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Lewis. He is an academic, writer and broadcaster whose work is influenced by the diverse linguistic heritage of his birthplace. With an MA from Glasgow University and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin, Mackay has worked at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin; and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he was writer in residence. He has also worked as a journalist and television news producer for the BBC. He is the author of a monograph on the work of Sorley MacLean (RIISS, 2010), and has co-edited collections of essays on modern Irish and Scottish poetry and on Scottish Gaelic literature. He is currently working on a book on Wordsworth and Seamus Heaney, and has edited, with Ian S. MacPherson, An Leabhar Liath / The Light Blue Book, an anthology of Scottish Gaelic love and ‘transgressive’ poetry, published by Luath Press in 2016, and the winner of the Donald Meek Award. His own poetry first appeared in a pamphlet, From Another Island (Clutag Press, 2010) and the collection Gu Leòr / Galore, published by Acair in 2015. Get Tickets Here.
Reading Scotland: Ross Sayers with Niamh McKeown, Adventures on the Clockwork Orange: Thu 26 Aug 11:30 - 12:30
Welcome to Daisy’s worldview in Ross Sayers’s ingenious Scots-language novel for young adults, Daisy on the Outer Line. Published by Cranachan Publishing, Isle of Lewis. It features the delightfully flawed protagonist Daisy as she comes to terms with the death of a stepfather she’d never felt close to. After making a scene at his funeral and falling out with her mother, Daisy falls asleep on the Glasgow Subway, only to find that when she wakes up, things have radically changed… Now, as part of the Book Festival’s Reading Scotland project a new short film has been made by Sayers and Edinburgh-based screenwriter and director Niamh McKeown which will be premiered at the beginning of the event. Get Tickets Here.
You’ve Never Slept in Mine, by Jessie Kesson, adapted by Jenni Fagan: Fri 27 Aug 20:30 - 22:00
Born in an Inverness workhouse in 1916, Jessie Kesson spent her early childhood in an Elgin slum before being moved to an orphanage and eventually being sent to work in service. Despite her inauspicious beginnings, she went on to become an acclaimed writer, often drawing on her early life experiences. Best known for her novels The White Bird Passes and Another Time, Another Place, she also published poetry, short stories and more than 100 plays including You’ve Never Slept in Mine. First broadcast on BBC radio in 1983 You’ve Never Slept in Mine provided a glimpse into the lives of young women in a residential children’s home.
Today it provides the inspiration for a new collaboration. Stellar Quines theatre company along with actors Genna Allan and Chloe Wyper from the Citizens Theatre’s WAC Ensemble – Scotland’s first professionally supported theatre company for performers and theatre makers with care experience – have worked closely with novelist Jenni Fagan to create a masterful adaption. It is performed script-in-hand, followed by an on-stage discussion with the cast, Jenni Fagan and Stellar Quines’ Artistic Director Caitlin Skinner (who directs). Get Tickets Here.
Michael Pedersen presents Good Grief! Sun 29 Aug 20:30 - 22:00
We have all lost something over ‘The Big Still’, this last weird epoch of living, be it: time, trips, tips, friends, cash, kudos, lovers, or freaky opportunities we’re not yet ready to utter. What better reason to get together than to celebrate the love in the things we’re missing? Let’s light a fuse for the jive of healing, let words be our beacons, beamed into the night. For one night only, prize-winning Edinburgh writer and Neu! Reekie! co-founder, Michael Pedersen presents some of his favourite voices from across literature and the arts. Celebrating with him is an all-star cast of writers and musicians: E A Hanks, Gemma Cairney, Rachel Sermanni, Hollie McNish, and Michael Mullen, who delivers a lustre-loaded salon-style waltz of poetry, prose and music, lighting a spark to make our way through the dark. Get Tickets Here.