Zoë Strachan Cancelled.

MANY APOLOGIES. ZOE STRACHAN HAS HAD TO CANCEL, DUE TO EMERGENCY. PLEASE JOIN US ON SEPTEMBER 27 FOR Ian Stewart and Alistair Christie, authors of Trig Point Walks on the Isle of Skye and Raasay. 7.30 p.m. at Edinbane Hall..

The Reading Room presents writer Zoë Strachan on Tuesday, August 30, for an afternoonZoe workshop and evening reading.

In her evening appearance, she will talk about her work, including a sneak-peek at her work-in-progress, and read from her latest novel, Ever Fallen in Love (2011). The story plays with a frenzy of tension, interweaving the tone and pace of young, queer love with the mature hindsight of regret and envy. The novel was Shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Scottish Books Awards 2012 and the Green Carnation Prize 2011 and was nominated for the London Book Award 2012 

Her first novel, Negative Space (2002), lauded as a powerful portrayal of grief and healing, was the winner of a 2003 Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for the 2002 Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, Spin Cycle (2004), is set in a launderette and tells the story of three of its workers; it is a “murky and dazzling” novel about women in emotional turmoil.

Strachan’s short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She has written many articles and reviews for newspapers, including The Herald, The Scotsman Magazine and The Sunday Times.

Her stage play, Old Girls, opened in Glasgow in 2009. She has also written a stage play, Panic Patterns, with Louise Welsh, performed in Glasgow in 2010. Her short opera, Sublimation, written with composer Nick Fells, was part of Scottish Opera’s Five:15 series in 2010, touring Scotland and also travelling to South Africa.

Zoë teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Glasgow and lives in Glasgow with her partner, writer Louise Welsh. She is on the Board of Directors of Glasgow Women’s Library; a Patron of the Imprint Festival in East Ayrshire; and a supporter of Scottish Pen.

Afternoon Workshop: Zoë is an established tutor, teaching courses for the Arvon Foundation and Moniack Mhor. A Scottish Book Trust scheme allows her to visit festivals, schools, prisons and community groups, to share her expertise. She is a writer who excels in digging deep into haunted searches and memories, exposing the raw layers of psychology. The detailed exploration in her writing should elicit profound discoveries in our own writing, as she leads this workshop, titled “Writing for a Reaction”. The workshop will be held at Aros in Portree, from 2:00 p.m., (Tuesday, 30 August). £5 members, £10 non-members. Meet in the foyer. Space is limited, so jump to it! Email the Reading Room at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook.

Patrons wishing to dine before the reading are welcome to join some of us at the Edinbane Inn, around 6 p.m. Our evening at Edinbane Community Hall begins at 7 p.m. for 7:30. Non-members, £5. Our very reasonable memberships are always available.  Be sure to check out our book table for interesting reads at bargain prices. Copies of our Anthology 2, A Stillness of Mind, may be purchased for £8.50.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook (The Reading Room – Skye).

Bad Boy Nick Brooks Coming to the Reading Room

Nick_Brooks9lowThere may be some steam rising from Edinbane Community Hall on Tuesday, July 26, when our guest reader takes the floor.

Nick Brooks is a novelist and poet who lives and works in Glasgow. He has twice won a Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) Writer’s Award and most recently, was awarded a grant by the Royal Literary Fund. His first two novels, My Name Is Denise Forrester (2005) and The Good Death (2007), were both published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

His third novel, Indecent Acts (Freight 2014), is reported entirely by the protagonist, Grace, a semi-illiterate 40-something mother from Drumchapel, one of Glasgow’s most notorious schemes. It is written in Grace’s inimitable misspelt patois, with hilarious and moving effect. 

Brooks’ latest works include a collection of erotic haiku, called Sexy Haiku (2016 Freight).  Dubbed ‘Zen porno’, there is reason we (hope!) to expect some rakish…voluptuous…oh!…that is to say, perhaps riggish material, if not behaviour, from our guest.

A first collection of poetry, The Dog in the Disco, through Dive Buki in Slovakia, is due ‘sometime’. Currently, he is writing a screenplay and more poems.

When not more gainfully employed, Nick is a full-time stalker with a pronounced limp. (Be still our beating…)

Our evening begins at 7 p.m. for 7:30. Non-members, £5. Memberships are always available.  Be sure to check out our book table for interesting reads at bargain prices. Copies of our Anthology 2, A Stillness of Mind, may be purchased for £8.50.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook.

Claire Macdonald Loves What She Does

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There’s no doubt about it – if you want a party, invite (famous cook, hospitality wizard and author) Lady Claire Macdonald. We had a ball at Edinbane Hall last night and if you want to hear Claire’s (tellable) cache of stories about running Kinloch House Lodge with her husband, Macdonald clan chief Godfrey Macdonald, and her family, you’ll have to buy her autobio, Lifting the Lid. We can’t wait for the sequel so we can have her entertain us again. (Big smiley face :))

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Authors Richard Neath and Liz Shaw meet up.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAGodfrey (far R)  takes a back seat to his wife  and checks the dogs in the car.

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GE DIGITAL CAMERAIs writer Francis Mitchell telling dog jokes to Godfrey Macdonald?

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Kitchen crew and everything else: Irene, Ann and Debbie.

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She did sit down for five minutes!

Claire Macdonald to Tell All – we hope!

If you have ever been within the energy field of Lady Claire Macdonald, her stories about her life at Kinloch Lodge won’t surprise you. Neither will the fact that she is the author of almost twenty best-selling cookery books, including Seasonal Cooking, The Harrods Book of Entertaining, The Claire Macdonald Cookbook and Entertaining Solo.ClaireMacDonald

In 2012, Birlinn published her autobiography, Lifting the Lid, and in 2014, the paperback was released. The famous, self-taught cook and writer will be sharing stories from her book at the June meeting of the Reading Room.

In Lifting the Lid, Claire looks back over four eventful decades to tell the story of how she, her husband, clan chief Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, and their family built up Kinloch House Lodge, from insignificant beginnings in a remote but spectacularly beautiful corner of Skye, to the great culinary institution it is today. Full of anecdLifting the Lid3otes and humour, it also reveals how hard it was to achieve their dream.

Cited as one of the world’s top 25 small hotels in Conde Nast Traveller magazine, Kinloch’s restaurant is one of only 16 restaurants in Scotland to have been awarded a coveted Michelin star in 2011.

Claire Macdonald is one of the best known figures in the culinary world today. A hugely successful and critically acclaimed cookery writer for over thirty years, she has garnered numerous awards and has appeared regularly on TV and at cookery demonstrations and courses all over the globe.

She is also Patron of Scottish Food Fortnight and The Association of Scottish Farmers’ Markets. In recognition of her contribution to Scottish food, Claire was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.

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Kinloch House Lodge

Lady Claire was awarded the OBE in the 2014 New Years Honours List for her services to the hospitality industry and for her services to charity in Scotland, most notably for her work with Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Claire Macdonald is a vibrant presence and a captivating speaker, and we are feeling quite privileged to have her spend the evening with us at Edinbane Community Hall, on Tuesday, June 28. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., and everyone is invited. Members are free; non-members £3.

Refreshments will be served. Great deals will be found in our book corner and you can pick up our latest Anthology, ‘A Stillness of Mind’, for £8.50. Memberships are always available. For further information, email to skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk, or message us on Facebook.

 

 

Andrew Greig Coming to Sligachan Hotel Saturday 14th May

We are delighted to present two events on Saturday, May 14.

In the evening, we will meet at the Sligachan Hotel, for poetry and music with novelist, poet, writer and musician, Andrew Greig. He is the author of eiAndrewGreigght novels: the last, Fair Helen, was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize 2014, and his fifth novel, In Another Light, won the 2004 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year award. He has published nine poetry collections, four non-fiction books, and we look forward to hearing selections of the music he has recorded.

AndrewGriegGreenCorriesGreig says his second poetry collection, Men on Ice (1977), changed his life. He had been what he calls an ‘armchair climber’, attracted by ‘the imagery and intensities’ of climbing – however, mountaineer Mal Duff took Greig’s metaphors literally and invited him on a real Himalayan expedition. Greig climbed on three such expeditions, which led him to write books on them, which took him on to writing novels. Distinctions and prizes in three mediums have established Andrew Greig as one of the leading Scottish writers of his generation.

Andrew Greig and Lesley Glaister

Andrew Greig and Lesley Glaister

 

Yet Greig considers poetry to be a higher art form – second only to music- using the analogy: ‘Prose is draughts, poetry is chess. Chess in four dimensions…. the additional element of sound, of cadence and phrasing.’ He carries this attention to the music of language into his prose, which reviews have described as ‘lyrical’ and ‘dazzling’.

Grieg is currently writing a book with Mike Heron, of the ex-Incredible String Band, and says, ‘Its working title is Footsteps of the Heron, due out in October 2016. It will be appropriately unconventional, a combination of Heron’s first ever autobiographical writing about his life and times in music that changed my life and that of many others. This will be intercut with my memoir of growing up provincial in the latter 60s… it is some kind of parallel  memoir thing, in the course of which Deep Themes may emerge.’

AndrewGreig2For the evening, entry is free for members; non-members £5 on the door. Join us there for supper, from 6 p.m. Andrew Greig will take the floor at 7:30 p.m.

In the afternoon, in central Portree, we will host a Writing Workshop with Lesley Glaister– fiction writer, playwright and teacher of writing. She received both a Somerset Maugham and a Betty Trask award for HonourAndrewGreigLesleywalking Thy Father (1990), won the Yorkshire Post Author of the Year Award in 1993, for Limestone and Clay, and has been short and long-listed for literary prizes for her other novels. Several of her dramas have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and her first stage play, Bird Calls, was performed at Sheffield’s Crucible Studio Theatre, in 2004.

Glaister’s workshop will be a treasure for writers, due not only to her gift as a writer, but her  cache of experience in surviving the rise (accolades and awards), fall (being dropped by a longtime publisher) and courageous slog back uphill, in her publishing career.

She writes, ‘For the last few books with my main-stream publisher I had felt a subtle pressure to write something a bit different, to move away from my own style of gothic, darkly humorous novels towards something approaching the psychological thriller, with more ‘normal’ characters… to write something more marketable.  Being dropped meant I could stick two metaphorical fingers up and write exactly what I wanted, just as I had when I first started writing.  And this rather exhilarating freedom enabled me to return to Little Egypt, a book I’d been struggling with for years for several reasons, important amongst which was a suspicion that my publisher wouldn’t like it.  So, set free, I wrote just what the hell I wanted, just the way I wanted to.’AndrewGreigLesleyegypt

The author received a Jerwood Foundation Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, for Little Egypt, and her poem, Visiting the Animal, was chosen as one of Scottish Poetry Library’s 20 Best Scottish poems of 2015.

Her workshop will place emphasis on using memories & visualisation to start writing.

Places are very limited. Reading Room members have priority in booking until the end of April, at the discounted fee of £5. If any places remain, they will be £10 per head. The workshop includes tea, coffee & home baking.

To book or for more information on these May 14 events, mail skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us through Facebook.

 

 

 

Author Michael F. Russell to Appear at Reading Room

At last, a writer who isn’t up with the Willow Warblers – or at least, admits he isn’t. Great news for us slackers who always have been given the impression that 6 a.m. coffee was the prerequisite to successful production.MichaelFRussellPhoto

Michael F. Russell, author of Lie of the Land, has given us a novel that questions how far the state will go to preserve an orderly society and examines an Armageddon in which human technology plays a central role. The Reading Room is happy to welcome him as our guest reader on Tuesday, April 19.

It’s always useful to go to the person on the street to see how a product really performs, so I went to Amazon reviewers, all of whom were happy with their book purchase. One wrote, ‘The backdrop of a controlling state, universal lack of privacy and technological advances being used against the population all add to the sense of dread, which contrasted well with some of the richly descriptive passages about the Highland landscape. There are a couple of story strands in particular which were very effective and left me feeling uneasy. We might all like to think we’d behave honourably in difficult times, but would we?’

Michael Russell Lie of the LandAnother person said he bought this book on something of a whim from a bookshop in Portree, whilst holidaying on the West coast of Scotland, and hasn’t regretted it. ‘It’s something more than your standard post-apocalyptic fayre, largely because the author concentrates more on characterisation (particularly the lead, Carl) than on technicalities (though there’s enough of that for the plot to be believable). Altogether, a well-constructed book that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in sci-fi.’

Other readers expressed similar positive reactions:

‘I would not call it anything like ‘terrifying’ as other commentators have, but more an imaginative exploration about what happens when society breaks down.’

‘Loved the atmosphere, great story. What a great book, you can hear the silence as you read, the tension is heavy, like a storm building, slowly.’ 

‘What I liked about this, was the descriptive writing, you get pulled into the book, as if you are walking with the characters. It would make one hell of a TV show.’

The Scotsman’s reviewer, Stuart Kelly, observed that one of the most persistent complaints visitors (and residents) make about contemporary Scotland is the patchy mobile phone coverage. He wrote, ‘This serves as the novel’s clever, twisted conceit…Russell’s premise is similar to Stephen King’s in Under the Dome, but, I have to say, he does a better job with the conceit. While King, as usual, fluffs the ending (childish aliens did it!), Russell manages to give a coherent reason for the predicament, build to a closure without it becoming a black and white shoot-out, and suggest that the story of (the main characters) may not be over.’

Kelly added, ‘Despite the horrors that slowly, slyly emerge, there are also passages of genuine beauty.’ Russell impressed the reviewer by avoiding the ‘cosy catastrophe’ trap, and Kelly finishes with the comment, ‘It is as cosy as a handful of gorse raked across your back. It announces a talent to be followed closely.’

Michael F. Russell is deputy editor at the West Highland Free Press and writes occasionally for the Sunday Herald. His writing has appeared in Gutter, Northwords Now and Fractured West.  Lie of the Land was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award in November 2015. He lives on Skye with his partner and two children.

The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m., with the 2016 AGM, at Tigh na Sgire, in Portree, next to the Community Hall.

Mr. Russell will appear from 8:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us for the evening. Entry for Michael F. Russell is £3, non-members; members are free.

Refreshments will be available. We also have some good reads for sale in our book corner and copies of our second anthology, A Stillness of Mind, are available for £8.50. See you there.