Storybones, Storyskin with Margot Henderson

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Margot’s work requires creativity, resourcefulness and the ability to be with people where and how they are.

The Reading Room presents an evening of poetry and stories by Margot Henderson, who will perform some of her work and share stories of her engaged practice as a Community Artist. She will also hold an afternoon workshop called ‘Words for Well-Being’.

This Scots-Irish poet and storyteller is one of those ‘list people’. You know the type–the ones who make us flush green and cringe and throw half-empty teacups and whisky glasses at walls…the ones who have accomplished such an incredible amount of creative work, it requires much space and headings to organize it all and we are loath to believe a word of it.

With over 30 years of experience in leading Community Arts projects and workshops, Margot was Reader in Residence for Inverness, Storytelling Fellow for Aberdeen and Writer in Residence for the Cromarty Arts Trust. She has led Expressive Writing groups for Maggies Highlands, CLAN and the Highland Hospice  She is a regular workshop leader with LAPIDUS and the WEA in Wellbeing. She also leads Mindfulness workshops and retreats.

The central themes of Margot’s work, which takes place in a huge range of venues, are: encouraging creative self-expression; exploring roots and heritage; deepening connection to self, community and place; and generating a sense of belonging. She has a deep love of nature and a keen sense of our interconnectedness.

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Margot as a Garden Pea in a Pod, ‘Connecting with the Intelligence of Nature’, at a 2008 celebration of Findhorn Community co-founder, Dorothy Maclean.

She has taken part in cross-arts collaborations and has been commissioned by a range of organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, the Findhorn Foundation, Ballet Rambert, the Barbican Centre and the Tate, to create and perform her work.

Everyone is welcome to join us at Edinbane Community Hall, on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for members and our reasonably priced memberships are available at the door. Non-members: £5. Refreshments will be served.

Write Here

Margot’s Afternoon Workshop will be mainly aimed at carers and people who work in the caring profession. She says, ‘Sometimes we are so busy caring for others that we don’t find it easy to take space for ourselves. This workshop is a chance to take some time to relax and reflect, create and express.

‘We will share some playful and practical writing prompts that can support our own happiness and well-being. These tools can also be helpful in working with others.

‘Writing can be a wonderful way of becoming more present helping us get in touch with and express our feelings. We can resource ourselves through writing in groups, sharing concerns and inspirations, responses and reflections as a way of finding greater meaning and well-being in our lives. It can also be a way of developing empathy and creative imagination. Sharing our writing together can be satisfying and fun.’

The workshop will be held on February 28, 2:30-4:30 p.m., at the Caledonian Hotel, downtown Portree (upstairs from street). Admission is free of charge but please register with us, as space is limited. Message us on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye or email us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk.

 

Book Week Scotland Guest Reader Barbara Henderson Writes for Bairns

First of all, I can tell you that Barbara Henderson’s blogged “ride” toward the publication of her first novel, Fir for Luck, is a gas to read and ensures that as our Book Week Scotland guest reader and workshop leader, she will be overflobarbara-henderson-picwing with inspiration and ingenuity.

Fir for Luck, published in 2016 by Cranachan, is a fast-paced historical novel about a feisty 12-year-old girl whose village is threatened and she decides to take action. The novel, based on true events in coastal Sutherland, is a tale of the brutal Highland Clearances. The subject of Barbara’s novel will be likely to get us going, with input from all ages.

Barbara Henderson is a puppeteer and drama teacher and has garnered several awards for her work: Nairn Festival Short Story winner (2012), Ballantral Smugglers Festival Short Story winner (2015), and Pockets Magazine Fiction Contest winnefir-for-luck-picr (2015). She was a 2013 winner of the Creative Scotland Easter Monologue competition, with her work performed in front of an audience several hundred strong, in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.

The author is active in her community, doing workshops and organizing. She says, “Inverness used to have a book festival, but it was discontinued years ago. Early this year, before I knew that I would have a publication deal with Cranachan, I put a tweet out: Gutted that Inverness doesn’t have a book festival anymore. Anyone want to help me make this happen again?” After months of perseverance by a dedicated group, the Ness Book Fest has become a reality, as of November 11 – 12, 2016. This is a woman who gets things done.

Our evening of Wednesday (please note different night), November 23, begins at 7:30 p.m., at Edinbane Community Hall. Admission is free and all children and adults are verbws-logos-cmyk-red-2016y welcome.

Refreshments will be served. Look for our Good Reads table, which also holds our latest anthology, Words From an Island: A Stillness of Mind and of course, Fir for Luck. The author will be available for book signing.

Barbara will be leading our Afternoon Workshop: Writing for the Child, Up to Young Adult. On her blog, what she calls “The Ride”, reads like Mr. Toad’s.  The path from the writing, which she loves, to publication (“a wee dip from time to time makes the ride more exciting, right?”), will surely be presented for laughs and tips on the craft. On http://www.write4bairns.wordpress.com,  she blogs on dealing with publishers (More Fun in a Crowd); buying the domain, wrangling with social media, promoting and book covers (Don’t Look Down); rummaging through the clothes pile (The Lull and the Headshot); and book trailer filming (www.youtu.be/q8fHfiIGG7A). In editing, she has “wielded the cattle prod up and down the hill with my heroine” (Roll With It). She adds, “I had somehow missed not one, not two, but three editor’s comments, which were now somehow showing up as part of my text.”

In this workshop, we hope to hear about the rolling terrain of her experience of writing and publishing a children’s book. It will be held on Wednesday, November 23, at the Caledonian Hotel, Wentworth Street, Portree, at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free, but participant number is limited. Please reserve your place (or ask for more info) by emailing skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or contacting us on Facebook at The Reading Room – Skye.

Barbara Henderson’s appearance is funded in part by Book Week Scotland.

 

 

 

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).

LOUISE WELSH: Everything I Know About Crime Writing in Two Hours!

Louise Welsh photo

Photo credit: Steve Lindbridge

Six successful crime novels – the seventh, Death is a Welcome Guest just launched, musical collaborations, plays and non-fiction radio features, recipient of numerous awards and fellowships…the Reading Room is excited to present author Louise Welsh for afternoon and evening events, on Tuesday, July 28, at Skeabost Hotel.

Welsh will hold a Crime Writing Workshop from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., where she will impart ‘all I know about crime writing in two hours’. The author has an impish sense of humor and admits to enjoying messing with people’s heads in her fiction, tweaking the reader’s trust in a character. With what appears to be a ceaseless and almost impossible schedule of writing and projects, she may really be capable of zapping our brains in those two hours.

There is a £5 per head fee for the two-hour workshop. Please book online at – skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or via Reading Room Facebook page.

An Evening with Louise Welsh begins at 7.30 p.m. There is no entry fee and all are welcomeR:  138 G:  255 B:  154 X:54188 Y:    0 S:    0 Z:  143 F:  130.

The Skeabost Hotel offers fine dining and a casual menu is also available, serving afternoon teas and light bites throughout the day, plus an interesting and varied wine list, and large range of Malt whiskies and vast selection of Scottish Gins; there is something to suit all tastes. Be sure to visit the cozy pub while enjoying the ambiance of this historic hotel. 

Directions: Once on the outskirts of the village of Portree, take the Dunvegan Road A 850 and travel about seven miles to Skeabost, remembering to fork left at the junction for Dunvegan/Uig.   Skeabost is two miles from this junction, situated on the right hand side of the road beside the sea. Travelling from the west, the hotel is 18 miles east of Dunvegan on the A850.

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. 

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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.

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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.