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 eight 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.
Greig 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.
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.’
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 Honour 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.’
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 email@example.com or message us through Facebook.