Open Mic at the Reading Room

How long have we been breathless for this?

The Reading Room has received input from local writers who ache for a platform from which to deliver their private (secretly longing for exposure) works of poetry and prose–and we’ve listened to you…

Ta Da! Show up at Edinbane Hall on Tuesday, June 27, for our Experimental Open Microphone event. It will be kicked off by Francis Mitchell, who is adept at the handling of the shy and the bold and all comers can be sure of an amenable reception. 

Cakes, tea and coffee will be served to keep energy flowing. We hope to attract an eclectic mix of work—everyone is encouraged to read. Prepare for a five-minute time slot and we will go from there.

Feel free to bring those pieces that cringe in the corner or beat on the door for release. Want to test your material before a live audience? Here we are! Tell your friends. All ages preferred; no categories. Work in Gaelic very welcome.

We look forward to hosting intriguing, controversial and just plain, comfortable writing here.

Admission is free to members and performers. £5 each for non-member audience.

Open Mic begins at 7:30 p.m. If you would like to join a few of us for dinner at the Edinbane Inn, make reservations for 6 p.m.  and we’ll see you there.

As usual, our bookshelf of Good-Reads will be available to browse and purchase for 50p each. The Reading Room Anthologies 1 and 2 may be purchased for £8.50 each. Ask us about our reasonable memberships.

For further information about events or the Reading Room, message us on Facebook at The Reading Room – Skye or email us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk.

It’s all about the ‘ring of language’

As a recap of our June 30th fun with author, poet and mad storyteller, Ian Stephen, here are some photos from the day.

Poets Beverly Mann and Norma Walker getting a taste of Ian’s sense of humor.

Writer, Kevyn Smith…it’s the effect Ian has on people.

The Skeabost House Hotel was a-buzz with the things that the Reading Room is all about – language and the reading, writing and sharing of it. In our afternoon workshop, Ian focused on recipe poems, which involved the writing and then the editing, which magically turned sketchy or wordy stuff into surprises.

There was a lot of literary metamorphosing going on in Lachlan MacDonald’s original wood-panelled chapel turned billiard room. Ian reminded the poets that claritas was a great classical virtue but, as we chopped and re-arranged, he asked, ‘Is there a risk in giving too much away?’ He was especially interested in Kevyn’s willingness to kick out what he liked best.

The evening began in our new location, the stately dining room cum literary salon, with open mike readings by A.S. DeWitt Angel, Kevyn Smith, Norma Walker, Francis Mitchell and Morag Henriksen.

 

Ian Stephen and Francis Mitchell.

Morag Henriksen reads sequel to ‘Scenery of Dreams’.

Himself becoming a legendary maritime storyteller, Ian’s tales come bounding out of his gills (as I see it!) and we were treated to a couple of his funny stories right away. After a cocktail break, Morag delighted all with a reading from her humorous, in-process sequel to Scenery of Dreams, and Ian re-took the floor to read from his first novel, A Book of Death and Fish. 

Fish we understand, with Ian, but ‘why death?’ someone asked. The author explained that the stories had been compiled over many years and to turn the chain into a novel meant it had to have something cohesive, something special. Referring to how theatre is developed, he said his protagonist/narrator’s character changes with each story…and there is a death in every story.

We look forward to watching Ian Stephen’s star rising, and though he seems like a fireball on a stage, it is evident the webcams will be catching him for a long time. 

R:  128 G:  255 B:  179 X:54188 Y:    0 S:  546 Z:  141 F:  138

We are happy to announce that award-winning author, Louise Welsh, will be our special guest on Tuesday, July 28, at the Skeabost House Hotel, for an afternoon workshop and evening reading.

 

 

An Evening with Ian Stephen

THE READING ROOM PRESENTS AN AFTERNOON POETRY WORKSHOP AND EVENING EVENT WITH IAN STEPHEN. OPEN MIKE FOLLOWS

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Scottish Writing Centre in-process master class with Ian Stephen, at Glasgow’s  Centre for Contemporary Arts. Photo credit: Pat Morrissey

IanStephenBookYou are invited to join the Reading Room in welcoming writer, artist and sailor, Ian Stephen, on Tuesday, June 30, at Skeabost Country House Hotel, Isle of Skye.

Ian Stephen, an Isle of Lewis man, has the reputation of being an adventuresome sailor, a passionate performer and workshop leader and a master storyteller.

His poetry and stories are published in many countries and have been translated into German, French and Czech.

Stephen’s first novel,  ‘A Book of Death and Fish’ (Saraband, 2014), has received excellent reviews as a brilliant and mesmerizing story, evocative of the rich life and characters found in the outer Hebrides.

His ‘Western Isles Folk Tales’ (illustrated by Christine Morrison, 2014) was described by Canadian storyteller, Dawn MacFarlane, as ‘brilliant and compelling historical artistry in word and illustration’.

We are excited to be able to present this talented man to the community and look Ian S Western Isles Folk Talesforward to surprises, tales and a completely enjoyable evening, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Plan on making a night of it. There are two dining options at Skeabost. A fine Dining menu is served in the Dining Room, with its oak panelled walls. There is also Sonas, the contemporary, casual bistro outlet, serving an a la carte menu. Both menus use the freshest of local produce sourced from around the island. The cozy pub is also a favorite pre-event option.

The author will also head a 2-hour afternoon workshop for poets. He has used the device of the recipe-poem in several publications, as a way into the short stories in Mackerel and Creamola (Polygon\pocketbooks) and worked into the text of his novel, A Book of Death and Fish.

In this workshop, he will introduce some examples and propose the recipe-poem as a starting point. This can be developed in a practical or completely impractical way but the aim is to let the imagination loose and play with language.
Bring a copy of one of your poems. There is a £5 fee for the workshop. Sign up for the workshop by emailing the RR at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk. Limited to eight participants, to allow close reading and feedback. The workshop begins at 3:30 p.m.

Included in the evening is our Open Mike session which is filling up, so if you want to do a reading, get in touch by sending a short sample of a poem or prose piece to skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk. No Facebook sign-ups, please.

Currently, there is room for single poems or very short prose. All writers are welcome. 

All June 30 events will take place at Skeabost Country House Hotel, situated on Loch Snizort Beag, in north Skye, 7 miles from Portree, on the Portree/Dunvegan road. There is no charge for the evening event with Ian Stephen. Supportive donations are always welcome and memberships are available. Our selection of used books offers a variety of good reads at bargain prices, so be sure to  the book table.

Ian Stephen and Open Mike in June

The big cheeses at the Reading Room have to take a breather occasionally, so May will be dark while they have a ‘wee break to sort the paperwork, emails & get the anthology going strongly’. With the impressive Baker Prize winning pieces and a barrage of fascinating entries, the anthology promises to be popular. Let’s hope this serious business includes some good wine and sunshine on the deck…but have a wee-wee dram for me.

ian stephen

Ian Stephen, writer, artist, sailor.

We are looking forward to seeing poet, author and playwright, Ian Stephen, at Skeabost Country House Hotel on the evening of Tuesday, June 30, for an entertaining program. Ian resides on the Isle of Lewis, living a busy creative lifestyle. Check out his web page to see what he is up to, at http://www.ianstephen.co.uk. We’ll give you more information on Ian in June, but bear in mind this is a spellbinding storyteller and mark this event on your calendar.

On the afternoon of his evening appearance, Ian also will be offering a two-hour workshop for poets, with close-reading and feedback on poems. Poets wanting to attend may book a place at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk. There will be a small fee. Attendance will be limited to eight, unless you cry a lot.

In response to the many requests from writers, an Open Microphone Session will take place on the same evening, June 30. There should be time for at least five readers, depending on sign-ups. Prose pieces are limited to ten minutes and up to three poems may be read, no more than ten minutes. Shorter single poems and prose are encouraged, as this will give more readers a chance to present their work. All writers are welcome. To sign up, please submit a short sample of your work to the Reading Room, at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk. (No Facebook sign-ups, please.) See you there.

 

 

January update from the Reading Room: Baker Prize news and Donald S Murray kicks off our 2014 Programme

January is a busy time of year for us as we’re dealing with the 2013 Baker Prize entries – a big thank you to Richard for bearing the brunt of this piece of work. We’re sorry to let you know that there will be a delay on announcing the results, we’ve had some technical issues which took a while to sort out, so the winners will be announced on Tuesday 25 February, not on 28 January as originally intended. This means that the Baker Prize Awards Event will also be delayed by a month and will take place on Wednesday 26  March Tuesday 25 March – we are sorry about this but as they say, due to circumstances beyond our control.

Our next event is on Tuesday 4 February (not the 28 January). We’ve moved the meeting so we’d be able to invite Donald S Murray to read for us as he’s on the island during this week. Donald was the first author to come to the Reading Room back in 2011 and we’re delighted to be welcoming him back to read from and talk about his latest book The Guga Stone: Lies, Legends and Lunacies. Humorous and moving, surprising and enchanting, The Guga Stone celebrates the miracles and wonders of an existence eked out on cliff and crag, sea-rock and skerry, the exile of its people, too, far from their native shores. If you’ve had the pleasure of hearing Donald before, you’ll know he is very witty and a great storyteller, if you’ve not had the pleasure of an evening with Donald, then 4 February is your chance to come along and enjoy meeting him.

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We’ll also be hosting our first open-mic of the year, so if you’d like a slot, please email us in advance at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk so we can put together a programme. Slots are up to 15 minutes per person.

And we’ll be running a book stall – so if you have books you’d like to donate to us for fundraising, then bring them along.

As usual the event will be at the Skeabost Hotel, starting at 7.00p.m. and if you’re coming along to eat before the event, do come early so you can be served and be seated by 7.00. The event is co-sponsored by the Scottish Book Trust, is free to members and costs £3 for non-members. We hope to see you there.

And a reminder – annual membership fees are now due. There has been no increase in fees and they’re well worth it. You can pay online or by cash or cheque on 4 February.

Finally, I’d like to thank the committee for all their hard work over 2013 and ask members to consider how they can support the work of the group – perhaps you’d like to join the committee, volunteer to run the second hand bookstall at events, organise the occasional raffles we run or help out in some other way? If you’d like to get involved, please let us know as we’d be really delighted to share the tasks around 🙂

July event with Andy Jackson

This month’s Reading Room at Skeabost Hotel on 30 July sees the return of the lovely Andy Jackson – poet extraordinaire and Baker Prize winner.

Andy will be running a short workshop on the afternoon of 30th July between 3.30 and 5.00p.m. – the theme is storytelling in poetry and flash fiction. £5 to members and £10 to non-members. Please let us know beforehand if you’d like to attend the workshop.

The evening event will start at 7.00p.m. with an open-mic session – we haven’t had one for a couple of months, so there must be new pieces of work to read to our eager audience? If you’d like to read, please contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk before the event so we can organise a programme. Andy will be reading in the second part of the evening. The evening is free to members and £4 to non-members. It would be lovely to see as many folk as possible to support Andy as he reckons his previous reading with us was the most enjoyable reading he’s given.

We have some exciting announcements to make on 30 July, including news on the upcoming Anthology, this year’s Baker Prize and more….

May evening event with Lin Anderson

We’re delighted to welcome Lin Anderson to the Reading Room in May for our regular monthly event at Skeabost House Hotel at 7pm on Tuesday 28th May 2013.

Lin is a well-known and popular crime novelist, she’s published eight novels and one novella featuring forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod – the latest is Picture Her Dead. Her short story Dead Close was chosen for the Best of British Crime 2011 and is in development as a film. She is a screenwriter, her film River Child won a student BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. Lin is a currently working on a new Rhona MacLeod novel, The Paths of the Dead.

The event is funded by The Reading Room and Creative Scotland’s Live Literature programme which is managed by the Scottish Book Trust. The scheme exists to bring Scottish fiction writers, playwrights, poets, storytellers and their work to every corner of Scottish society including schools, libraries, writers groups, additional support needs organisations, community groups and literary organisations.

There is no charge for this event but the Reading Room is a small community group and any donations will help us to fund future events and workshops.