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.

Storybones, Storyskin with Margot Henderson


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.


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.





Hello all aspiring and experienced writers who are still rolling their creative juices around this year’s theme of “Dough”. Feedback has suggested it’s proving a tricky one but do rise to the challenge and step outside the bread tin. Whatever sets you off with a crumb of an idea is all it takes. For you, is it a person who suddenly is a character / a place / an event / music / colour / countryside  / sitting on a mountain top or a cliff edge / crammed in a bar with hardly room to lift yer pint? Are you a romantic, a fantas(y)tic, an SF, un horreur, a puzzler, a ball kicker, a sofa hugger, a tree hugger, a spouse hugger, pet hugger or just plain hugger-mugger? Whatever floats your boat – have a go!  and…….there’s no pressure…………………………………………………………………………….YET!

Above is a picture of our lovely first anthology – the easiest way to get into Volume 2 is to enter our wonderful competition. See how to enter The Baker Prize 2014 here

PS – Volume 1 is running out of stock…when they’re gone we won’t reprint so they will become collectible. We aim to retain the design and colour code the volumes. Do you want to be the person who has the collection – all except Number One? They’ll be gone by Christmas!

Words from an Island – what a great anthology…

“I made some good friends when I lived on Skye and two of them recently gave me a book called ‘Words from an Island’. I had heard about the making of this anthology in the blurry last couple of months that I lived on Skye but never got my hands on it.

Life has changed a bit for me and having spent four years on Islands; 2 on Skye and 2 on a much further north and much smaller one, I can’t tell you how much some of the pieces moved me. They’ve successfully realised how the boundary of these islands creates a sense of place akin to nowhere else.

It’s impossible to pick any pieces out. Of course I liked some more than others, but I found the breadth of talent from stories to poems, fantastic. I am sorry I didn’t understand more of the Gaelic pieces.

So as I travel by train through the relatively flat east coast landscape, I dip in to the book, and every line seems to be saying ‘come back, your island is calling you’. What a perfect line for the back cover.

An incredible work. Thank you! ”

Note from web-master – the author of this comment prefers to remain anonymous..

3 weeks to go!


This could be you ………. but only if you get your entry in to the Baker Prize by midday on 30 November.

Richard Neath from the Reading Room presents Heather Magruder with her award certificate. Heather was the winner of the English Prose section for her short story Payline. (We’re posting a couple of Heather’s stories here in the next few days.)

And this could be you – Andy Jackson, reading his winning entries (yes, you did read that right, Andy won first and second prize in the English Poetry section) at the February Reading Room.


But back to the Baker Prize – a reminder that prizes include cash, the opportunity to read at the Reading Room, the opportunity to read on CuillinFM and any entry can be selected for inclusion in an Anthology.

Read The Baker Prize Guidelines and then email your entry to skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk

21 days to go………..