About A.S. DeWitt Angel

Born in Southern California in 1948, Angel lived a memorable early adult life among the old-time Hollywood set. She is known for her performance art and her vocal talent. A gig as journalist with the Idaho World News motivated Angel to resume her creative writing. Her love of the history of the British Isles led to her somewhat wacky travel memoirs. A self-professed Scot, calling herself MacAngel, she stays in the Isle of Skye whenever possible. MacAngel is currently working on a novel and poetry projects.

Alastair Jackson Blethers With His Camera: Spirit of the Hebrides

Tuesday Evening, November 19, 7.30 pm, Edinbane Hall, Free Admission

Book Week Scotland is the annual event which celebrates books and reading, sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust. We invite the public to come and play with this year’s theme, Blether. Bring your passion for reading and propensity to chin-wag, and join us at Edinbane Community Hall on Tuesday, 19th November, at 7.30 p.m.

Our merrymaking will center around Skye and Raasay and island life, with Alastair Jackson, co-author of The Spirit of the Hebrides. The book combines the poetry of Kenneth Steven with the photography of Mr. Jackson and features images of Skye and Raasay in homage to one of Scotland’s leading 20th century poets, Sorley MacLean.

Alastair JacksonAlistair Jackson is a photographer who grew up on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland; the environment has inspired him to create images which reflect this. He has been exhibiting since 2016, and his interest in wandering the hills and coast bring a psychogeographical dimension to his work, along with his interest in the history and culture of the Highlands. His photographs capture the sublime beauty of the isles, and those of us who love them should appreciate the familiar haunting quality of the images.

In addition, Alastair has sought to collaborate with a range of other creators, including artists Kate McMorrine and Moira Buchanan; photographer Ingrid Budge; and broadcaster & record producer, John Cavanagh.

His latest projects broaden his scope of work to look at environmental issues which are currently causing concern.

Kenneth Steven, Skeabost Hotel, 2015

Kenneth Steven, Skeabost Hotel, 2015

Kenneth Steven grew up in the Scottish Highlands and is first and foremost a poet. In late April, 2015, the Reading Room had the pleasure of his company for a companionable, informative and inspiring afternoon workshop and impressive evening reading. His gentle, contemplative nature worked its charm on the audience and he is fondly remembered and wished well on this collaboration with Alastair. The Spirit of the Hebrides, with Alastair Jackson’s stunning photography, must have touched what Kenneth is most interested in – the link between people and their land, what makes individuals the way they are, and how that identity is shaped and changed by wild places in particular. Though he will not be with us for the evening, we will naturally be blethering about his literary contribution to the book.

This event is funded by Scottish Book Trust. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served.

For more information about our event or questions about the Reading Room, please contact us at: skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: The Reading Room – Skye.

 

James Oswald: Darkness and Light

Event: Tuesday 29th October, Edinbane Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Related imageAuthor James Oswald has a gentle manner of speaking, whether he is telling a story about his life or answering queries about his writing career. While I watched his interview videos, it was easy to imagine him softly encouraging a calf into new life on his 350-acre Fife livestock farm that overlooks the River Tay.

Oswald has pursued a varied career – from Wine Merchant to professional Sheep Shit Sampler. The latter reference continuously tickled one of his interviewers, fellow crime writer Barry Forshaw, who referred to Oswald’s books as gritty, tough and mesmerising.

James Oswald has been a storyteller since he was a child, and we look forward to the many tales he can share about his life on the farm, including changes due to the political climate, and how he writes and gets published. He can tell us about the publishing house bidding war that arose after the astonishing success of his two debut novels as e-books, both of which were short-listed for the Crime Writing Association Debut Dagger Award. Natural Causes and The Book of Souls stirred elements of urban fantasy into “police procedural” genres, which initially had no commercial appeal for publishers. Detective Inspector Anthony McLean is a tragic figure who operates in Edinburgh as a traditional sleuth, while using his supernatural intuition. He is currently stalking inexplicable evil in Bury Them Deep, the 10th novel in this series, not yet released. Tony McLean resurrected from two much earlier comic scripts of ghost stories – Oswald admits to easy mind-wandering among dragons and magic.

Nothing to Hide (New Series James Oswald)His new Constance Fairchild series is receiving accolades from readers. Con works for the Met, and though this young, female detective is based in London, her dark, shivery world gets the opportunity to hover around Tony McLean’s equally sinister one. Although the twain have not yet met, it is hoped they will. The second novel, Nothing to Hide, is available in hard cover, audio and ebook, and the paperback will be out on November 14.

Under his perhaps no longer well-hidden identity, J D Oswald, James also has written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, ebook and audio formats.

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What kind of person writes crime novels? How can you spend hours a day with grisly, adrenaline-pumping details, twisted human minds and dredging up uncountable possibilities of evil in our world? According to James Oswald, the crime writers he knows are nice and well-adjusted people, without the competitive edge you get with other writers: “All the frustrations in life we get out on the page!” 

To dig into the mind that creates gruesome demons that might actually exist (and who’s to say they don’t) but a rational detective must accept irrational explanations (and can you destroy or stop a supernatural monster?) – well, I say, come and enjoy James Oswald with the Reading Room, on Tuesday, October 29! Committee members meet up at the Edinbane Inn around 6 p.m. for dinner and welcome anyone who wants to join them. The event at Edinbane Hall starts at 7:30 p.m. 

Refreshments will be served. You may browse our Good Reads table and expect interesting camaraderie among guests and our special guest, James Oswald. Non-members pay £5 at the door. All are welcome.

For information about this event or questions regarding the Reading Room, please contact us at:  skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye 

 

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Max Scratchmann: Be Ready For Anything

Event: Tuesday, September 24, Edinbane Community Hall.

Illustrator, writer, performer, poet Max Scratchmann very likely will have you talking about this evening for a long time. We are pleased to give you the opportunity to meet this engaging artist at our next meeting in the intimate Edinbane Community Hall, Tuesday, 24 September, 7:30 p.m.

Max is a prolific illustrator, with work appearing on over forty book covers, various CD sleeves and T-shirts and literally hundreds of magazines in Britain, America and Japan. He is the author of over eighteen books, including the award-winning autobiography about Scottish jute workers in India, The Last Burrah Sahibs, and the unintentionally controversial account of downshifting in the Scottish islands, Chucking It All.

 The Last Burrah Sahibs is a humorous and compelling memoir of the lost life of luxury in 1960s Bangladesh, through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy.

His book on living in the Orkneys gave him short-lived and undeserved infamy. Chucking It All: How Downshifting to a Windswept Scottish Island Did Absolutely Nothing to Improve My Life was called “one of the most hilarious books you will read this year” by The Scottish Review of Books. The author’s irreverent, but grudgingly affectionate portrait of his failed attempt at living among Orkney’s denizens especially enraged locals who recognized themselves being characterized. What was light-hearted grousing apparently led to his manuscript being binned by the original publisher. We want to hear the story.

 Max’s poems and short stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, and he runs the Edinburgh performance poetry company, Poetry Circus. An additional tidbit is that he also works as a model and has a remarkable portfolio.

He has led seminars on self-promotion for artists at the Centre for Arts Development in Liverpool and taught both collage and digital art throughout the country. He also exhibits his work The evening should include a sprinkling of his talents.

Everyone is welcome to join the group for this special event. Non-members, £5. Refreshments are served and we always have our Good Reads table open for browsing.

If anyone would like to join committee members for pre-event drinks or dinner, just pop into the Edinbane Inn around 6 p.m.

For information about this event or questions regarding the Reading Room, please contact us at:  skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harry’s Back with Open Mic

HARRY GPoet Harry Gallagher will make a special appearance at our 25 June Open Mic, taking place at Edinbane Community Hall, 7:30 pm.
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Harry has just been announced as the BBC Tees poet for National Poetry Day 2019. They’ve commissioned him to write a poem from listeners’ suggestions, which will represent the area in a positive way. Look for that project. 
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Launched January of this year, Harry’s new book of poetry, Running Parallel, is a jointly authored book with p.a. morbid, of Black Light Engine Room Press. Harry says the book has two covers – get halfway through, turn it upside down and you have a completely different book! You will have a chance to purchase it at the event. 
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The well-known Tees poet will arrive fresh
from reading at three literary festivals:
‘Wirral Festival Of Firsts’;  ‘IRON Or Festival’ at Cullercoats; and  ‘Crossing The Tees’. He says, ‘I love coming to Skye. I love the people, the openness, the mountains, the sea and the way it really feels like two different countries – Sleat and everywhere north! Being a terrible industrial relics nerd, I also love spotting bits of paths that used to be railway lines!”
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The evening will kick off with Open Mic. Readers are invited to share a poem they penned or one by someone else whom they particularly admire. Share a song if you like. We encourage performances in English, Gaelic or Scots. 5-minute slots are available.
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Our special guest will take the stage after intermission, during which coffee, tea and treats will be served.
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There is no entrance fee for members and readers; non-readers pay £3. Our Open Mics are always fun and offer inspiring entertainment for the audience.  Harry Gallagher is a dynamic poet and performer whom you want to be sure to see.  Reading Room looks forward to  welcoming all of you.
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On the day after the event, Wednesday morning, 10 a.m., Harry will be interviewed on local radio Cuillin FM, by our chairman, Simon Clayton.
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For information about this event or questions regarding the Reading Room, please contact us at:  skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye 

Gordon Brown Talks About Writing THAT Book

Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m. at Edinbane Hall

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The bio of crime thriller author Gordon Brown suggests two things: He has a bona fide writer’s heart and he is qualified to give advice on survival. 

He has been writing since his teens, and earlier in life, Gordon delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non-alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity business, floated a high-tech company on the London Stock Exchange, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final. He currently runs a strategic planning consultancy, while working on book after book that thankfully don’t molder inside of suitcases any more.

Deepest_Wounds_Cover_frontGordon Brown has six published crime thriller novels set in Scotland and the U.S. The latest in his Craig McIntyre series is Book 3: Deepest Wounds (Strident, 2017), in which McIntyre is the key to an explosive secret that could change mankind forever. The first two books of the trilogy are Darkest Thoughts and Furthest Reaches. His writing is compelling – readers are hooked immediately and are gripped by the relentless pace.  

As a founding board director of Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Bloody Scotland, Gordon wonders what people seek there… “Knowledge? Insight? Hope? What happens between authors ears explained, or more often, not explained?” At our May 28 meeting with him, perhaps aspiring novelists will find what they seek and this crime thriller writer’s grey cells might be illuminated.

Gordon will talk about writing the one book that everyone talks about having in them. Don’t know where to start? He will share his experience of writing and publishing – the good & bad, the ups & downs and, of course, the dos & don’ts. There will be plenty of time for Qs & As, after refreshment break.

For a free delicious taste of Craig McIntyre, try this:

Come along and join Gordon for the evening, as we dive deep into the murky waters of crime and thriller writing. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. at Edinbane Community Hall. Non-members pay £5, though they can take advantage of our 2019 membership for £20 at the door.

The evening usually starts at 6 p.m. with a few of us stopping for a pre-meeting supper at Edinbane Inn. Everyone is welcome to join us.

Our chairman, Simon Clayton, will be interviewing Gordon at the local radio station, Cuillin FM, on the Wednesday morning following the meeting, between 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

For information about this event or questions regarding the Reading Room, please contact us at:  skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye 
This event is partly sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

 

Sukayaking Western Django: Brian Wilson Rides Into Town

Edinbane Hall, Tuesday, February 26, 7:30 p.m.

BrianWilson HIS PhotoThe legendary lone kayaker drifts along the coastline for a final, explosive showdown with the Reading Room this Tuesday evening, February 26. When asked for a quote about his reputation for having the best doggone draw in the West(ern isles), he responded, “It’s gotten pretty gritty. I’ve started to hear the word ‘draw’ in my sleep…but man, I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

As I watched a video of soprano Renée Fleming’s stunning performance of Belini’s “Casta Diva”, there was something familiar in her portrayal of Norma. I had just heard a 2008 podcast of TV journalist Simon Willis interviewing Brian Wilson about his daring sea kayaking. The soprano’s heroine reflected a tone that was also contained in Wilson’s voice – that of a secret smile.

BRIANbLAZING2008Back in 1995, Blazing Paddles: A Scottish Coastal Odyssey, was the new product of a solitary 1985 adventure Brian Wilson had in his tiny kayak. His 1800-mile feat challenged more than his physical endurance. Navigation around the intimidating sea passages, cliffs and treacherous shores must have been intellectual manna for this philosopher.

Brian once said that in his opinion, circumnavigation is a pretty boring thing to do and that coastlines are the whole thing: Landing, cooking and sleeping on them and wondering about who else did these things, in a time when it was their way of life. They used similar boats in a similar way. His daredevil kayaking appears to be balanced by a lust for knowing the land and the lore.

In 1990, before Blazing Paddles was serialized by BBC’s Book at Bedtime and rescued offBrianWilson sports shelves to become a best seller in the travel section, Brian completed his solo 1200-mile voyage around the coast of Ireland, which later metamorphosed into Dances with Waves – Around Ireland by Kayak. Picture his little kayak “lashed by the tail-wind of Hurricane Gusta, bombarded by the incontinent gannets of the Skelligs and almost run down by a ghost galleon off Mizen Head”. Again, his tales are tall, and do we dare ask him if they are all true or did the faeries tickle his impish side?

Another Scottish adventurer, renowned writer and mountaineer Cameron McNeish, recognized a fellow risk- taker in a review of Dances with Waves: “This is the story of a great journey taken by a larger-than-life individual who is not happy unless pushing out the boundaries of his own experience.”

My apologies to Brian Wilson, whom I told I couldn’t obtain Blazing Paddles on Kindle. It is indeed available on Amazon’s UK site. A 4th edition in paperback will be published in May 2019 (Birlinn Books) but an old edition may be bought directly from him by post (email Brian at brinkstone55@gmail.com). Dances with Waves can be found in the library or online.

Expect to be taken on a journey through folklore, history and environmental issues, including wildlife disturbance on the seas. Brian has worked with many of the major Scottish conservation and environmental organisations. He is now a freelance environmental contractor and trainer, specializing in traditional stonework and thatching.

The Reading Room is excited to be bringing Brian Wilson to Edinbane Community Hall and welcomes everyone to join us at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Our Good Reads corner will be available for perusal. Admission is £5 and members are free. Please enquire about our reasonable memberships.

For anyone who relishes something to eat before the reading, some members of the committee like to catch dinner at the Edinbane Inn. Please feel free to join us around 6 p.m.

For information on this or other issues, please contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye.

This event is partly sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust.

Future events:

26 March: Simon Clayton will host our first Book Club Evening at Edinbane Hall, for discussion on his second novel, “A Place by the Sea”. There will be some copies available at our Brian Wilson event and the novel is also available on Amazon Kindle.

30 April: Ian Williams, “Great Stories Written Badly” and AGM.

(Thanks to Blazing Saddles’ Jim the Waco Kid and Butch Cassidy, for sins untold.)

Who Am I? Jewish Identity and the Faces of Tracey S. Rosenberg

Reading  January 29 7:30 pm Edinbane Hall  Workshop  January 30  7:30-9 pm  Portree

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She’s a funny lady, a self-pronounced loud poet whose cat vociferously agrees with her. When she’s not making people laugh, they might be weeping over the eloquent poems of her second chapbook, “The Naming of Cancer” (Neon, 2014), which enfolds the reader as witness to the agony and courage of patients, family and health carers. Her first novel, “The Girl in the Bunker” (Cargo Publishing, 2011), elicits a groaning sense that children, somewhere, are even today being forced to decipher truths about racism and self-identification.

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Tracey S. Rosenberg describes herself as an American who came to Scotland and never left. We will detect if she has become a wee bit Scottish, when she joins us to read her story “The Western Wall”, a fictional response to Muriel Spark’s award-winning novel, “The Mandelbaum Gate”.  As part of the celebrations of Spark’s centenary, Tracey was awarded an Endless Different Ways grant from Creative Scotland, and she travelled to Jerusalem to write the story, which depicts three modern young women whose personal identities conflict with their shared religious history.

“The Mandelbaum Gate” provides the author  prepositional angles in theology, adventure, humour, romance and mad philosophy to shimmy up, hang from and slide down, so we can look forward to her creative gymnastics inspired by the novel that Spark wrote after witnessing a few days of the Adolf Eichmann trial in 1961. The novel addresses, among other issues, complex interpretations of Jewish identity.

tracey cancer

The surgeon’s finger stands in for the blade: /
it will remove her, just here.       “Touch”

The poems of Tracey S. Rosenberg have been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including The Istanbul Review, Gutter, New Writing Scotland and The Journal of the American Association. Her short story “May the Bell be Rung for Harriet!” won the Brontë Society Creative Competition, with the shortlist judged by Dame Margaret Drabble, and was selected for Best British Short Stories 2015. She can be seen performing and volunteering at multiple literary festivals around Scotland, and among the intriguing vimeos in which you can view her, my favorite for sheer, exuberant delight is the “Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremonies”.

Our Tuesday evening reading at Edinbane Hall, January 29, begins at 7:30 p.m. £5 at the door; members are free. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments are served after Tracey’s reading and there will be plenty of time for Q & A, browsing our Good Reads section and general chatting. Be sure to ask about our reasonable memberships and feel free to give input on what you would like to see happen with the Reading Room in the future.

Tracey’s workshop on “Portraying Character” will be held at St. Columba’s Church, downtown Portree, in the Parish Rooms, on Wednesday, January 30th, 7:30-9:00 p.m.  No preparation is needed and participants need only bring paper and pen and £5 fee. Refreshments will be served.

Be sure to catch Tracey on Simon Clayton’s “Ever Changing Moods” program, Cuillin FM, Wednesday, January 30, 10:30 a.m.

If you need info on this event or the Reading Room, please contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye.