Helen Fitzgerald at the Reading Room – a review by Rachel O’Connor

The Reading Room was pleased to host author Helen Fitzgerald at our recent May meeting. Originally from Australia Helen now lives in Glasgow with her family. She has had an interesting journey to becoming an author which began with screen writing where she said she learnt a lot about the planning and structure of writing until she realised her passion really lay with writing novels. In fact her first novel ‘Dead Lovely’ started life as a screen play before Helen decided to turn it into a novel and Helen talked about how she visualises her stories on TV and how each scene will play out.

Helen has written 12 books. She’s in the middle of finalising her most recent work ‘Worst Case Scenario’ and we were lucky to have her read some of it to the group. The story is influenced by Helen’s previous job as a criminal justice social worker and was a mix of gritty storylines mixed with black humour.

TV rights to one of Helen’s novels have actually been snapped up by the BBC. ‘The Cry’ has recently been filmed with Jenna Coleman and will be showing on our screens in September.

Helen was a very generous speaker sharing with us her insights on writing and publication and giving advice to those budding writers within the group.


Paul Rees at the Reading Room – review by Angi Plant

On Tuesday 24th April, the Reading Room was pleased to welcome Paul Rees.

Paul has wide and varied experience in writing, both as a music magazine writer and as an editor, and he’s funny and informative when writing about people.

Anecdotes about Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osborne, Robert Plant, Adele and Bruce Springsteen flowed and we were treated to the highs and lows of biography and ghost writing and how fame and fortune can sometimes change a person.

Paul also gave some insight into his book which lifted the lid on the racism in football, entitled The Three Degrees.

Thank you Paul for an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable evening – we’d be delighted to welcome you to the Reading Room again in the future.

Angi Plant
April 2018

AGM 2018 – Notice and Agenda

The Annual General Meeting of The Reading Room (Seòmar Leughaidh) will be held on Tuesday 24th April 2018 at Edinbane Community Hall during the April Meeting.

The meeting will begin at 7.30 p.m.


  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Minutes of the last AGM (25/4/17)
  3. Treasurer’s Report
  4. Chair’s Report
  5. Election of committee members
  6. Election of office bearers
  7. AOB

Please submit any AOB items to a committee member in advance or email skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk on or before 17th April

AGM 2018 papers will be available online shortly.

Irene Ross

Ross Sayers visits Skye – a review by Rachel O’Connor

Even though a bit wet and cold outside, The Skye Reading Room warmly welcomed another Scottish writing talent on Tuesday 27th March at Edinbane Hall. Ross Sayers, author of Mary’s the Name, shared with us some excerpts from the book as well as a sneak peak of his new novel and some great stories about his writing journey.

Mary’s the name was based for the most part in Portree and so it was fitting for Ross to revisit Skye and talk to us about how his novel had developed. Ross wrote Marys the Name as his dissertation for his Creative Writing Masters at Stirling University and was pleased to be accepted by Cranachan Publishing, an up and coming publishing house based on the Isle of Lewis.

Ross’s top tip for developing his writing was real life research. He explained he had learnt so much more by visiting Skye and talking to people than he ever could have from purely internet searching. Local stories and knowledge really helped him bring his novel to life. Ross’s enthusiasm for his characters was apparent when reading sections of his book and he had captured the humour of how an 8 year old views the world as well as the familiar Scottish dialect brilliantly.

You can follow Ross on Twitter (@Sayers33) to see how his journey continues with his 2nd novel that is currently being submitted to a number of Scottish publishers.

Thanks to Ross for taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit the Reading Room and share his experiences.

Writers are winners

The Skye & Raasay Schools’ Gaelic and English writing competition, organised by the Reading Room (Seòmar Leughaidh), as part of Book Week Scotland 2017, proved to be a resounding success. Over 60 entries on the theme of ‘Nourish’ were shortlisted and put before a panel of experienced judges, which included four retired Head teachers and three distinguished Gaelic speakers

The objective of the Writing Competition was to encourage children and young people of all abilities to write, and to reward both the best and those who had made great progress in their writing.

The quality of the winning entries was exceptional. The young authors explored the theme of Nourish in diverse ways: feeding the heart, the spirit and the mind, as well as the body. Some entries were humorous and others were descriptive or sensitive. The judges enjoyed a feast of good writing from all age groups.

The Reading Room is grateful for the substantial prizes donated by:

        • Alexander McCall Smith
        • Ian Rankin
        • Gilleasbuig Ferguson
        • Chris Watkiss
        • Alasdair Galbraith
        • the Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company
        • Cafesia
        • Sabhal Mor Ostaig
        • Urras an Eilein
        • Glasgow Skye Association
        • the Highland Council
        • the Highland Society of London


    Many thanks are due also to all the pupils who took part, their teachers, the panel of judges and last but certainly not least a huge thank you to Ann Galbraith for all the time and energy she devoted to this project – a great achievement indeed.

looking forward to 2018

A quick preview of the next few events planned for the Reading Room – suggestions welcome for future dates/events etc

7pm Friday 19th January 2018 – an Open Mic evening at  An Crùbh, Duisdale – organised in conjunction with SEALL –  all welcome. More here

7.30pm Tuesday 27th February 2018 –  an evening with crime writer Alex Gray Edinbane Community Hall.

7.30 Tuesday 27th March 2018 –  another evening event at Edinbane Community Hall awaiting final confirmation – watch this space