Wait for Me Cynthia Rogerson!

Our October guest reader has me hollering like the late-bloomer that I am. I will never catch up with her writing accomplishments. In my defense, I am sure she has more hours in the day than I do…

Prizewinning author Cynthia Rogerson writes mainstream literary fiction, set in Scotland and in California—two places she knows well, as she lives in one and hails from the other. Her latest of five novels is Wait for Me, Jack (Sandstone 2016) under pen name Addison Jones.  It inspired a lovely review from Tim Pears: “…this is a proper love story – that is the miracle Jones has wrought. This novel is a lesson, not in how to find love, but how to make love last.

A Dangerous Place (winner of the V.S. Pritchett Prize 2009) was lauded by AL Kennedy, Jackie Kay and Bernard MacLaverty, among many others. In fact, I could accuse her of contriving to enkindle warm fuzzies within the hearts of those inclined to write enthusiastic reviews, but can I do that to someone who is wielding weapons like “wisdom” and “brilliance” and “startling authenticity” ? Laura Marney, one of the Glasgow G7, accuses Rogerson of being a North American writer with Scottish sensibilities: “Her humour is sly, her characterisation superb, she winkles out and makes heroic the average nerd in all of us. She is a courteous rebel and currently one of Scotland’s best writers.

Janet Paisley chose Rogerson’s Love Letters from my Death Bed as her favorite book of 2007 for Sunday Herald, calling it “…zany, wise and deliciously funny…”  Laura Hird also gave the book her fave rave for Scotland on Sunday.

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Rogerson has also published a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, been broadcast on BBC radio and has been translated into five languages.

She holds a Royal Literary Fellowship at Dundee University and supervises on the Creative Writing Program at Edinburgh University. Originally from the San Francisco area, she has been based in the Scottish Highlands since 1985 and lives with her husband and hens near Inverness.

On Tuesday, October 31, at 7:30 p.m., everyone is invited to join the Reading Room at Edinbane Community Hall, to welcome this gifted writer, enjoy the readings of her work and learn some of her secrets about the art of writing.

Admittance is £5 for non-members; our reasonable memberships are available at the door, so please ask. Our good reads table is always there for the browsing and refreshments are served.

For more information about this event or about the Reading Room, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook at Reading Room – Skye.

*Cynthia Rogerson’s appearance is part-funded by the Live Literature Fund via the Scottish Book Trust.

 

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Mark Douglas-Home Coming to Edinbane

Calling all beachcombers, maritime curiosity seekers and amateur detective-cum-sea watchers who might get a thrill from finding a severed foot on a Scottish shore–the three-novel series of our September guest reader is for you.
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Mark Douglas-Home is the creator of Cal McGill, a compelling oceanographer who is an expert on using shipping records, ocean currents and prevailing winds to track the movements of mysterious items that show up on the coastline of Western Scotland.
In tracking the movement of his 2011 novel The Sea Detective, and sequels, The Woman Who Walked into the Sea and The Malice of Waves (2016), I’ve found a cache of readers who find his protagonist’s forensic adventures fascinating, and who are further enamoured of the books because of the author’s use of oceanography and the landscape and culture of the Scots.
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The Literary Review  named The Sea Detective one of the Top Five Crime Novels of the Year, and it was the Sunday Times’  “Crime Book of the Month”  in the UK. The review of the book in the Scotsman said,There comes a time when a novel raises the bar for a particular genre, and Mark Douglas-Home’s debut The Sea Detective does just that for Scottish crime fiction. Elegantly written and compelling, it introduces a new, thoroughly modern hero into the crime-fighting canon.”

Douglas-Home has a rich history of fine journalism. Senior roles with The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Times Scotland culminated in editorship of Scotland’s leading daily newspaper, The Herald, from 2000-2005.
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Something quite jolly has come out of Douglas-Home’s earliest career experience. As a student newspaper editor in Johannesburg, South Africa, a number of his editions were banned and he was deported from the country. The heart of his first protagonist may just have been conceived in the spirit of that young man so many years ago at the University of the Witwatersrand.
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The Reading Room presents Mark Douglas-Home on Tuesday, 26 September, at 7:30 p.m., in Edinbane Community Hall. Everyone is welcome. Entry fee for members is free, £5 for guests. Extra parking is on the street.
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For additional information on the Reading Room, please get in touch with us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Face Book at the Reading Room – Skye.

*This event is part-funded by the Live Literature Fund via the Scottish Book Trust.

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.

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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.

 

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).

How far would you go to avoid death?

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Frozen to Life is the true account of futuristic writer D.J. MacLennan’s extraordinary answer to this question: If he cannot escape the constraints of a ‘natural’ lifespan, he will, upon his death, have his severed head preserved in a vat of liquid nitrogen in the Arizona desert.

This book illuminates the astonishing science behind his decision, and the transformative power of the patternist thinking that carried him to it. From the initial confusion and isolation of his upbringing on the Scottish islands of Benbecula and Skye, comes a curious inkling that collides with dominant religious dogmas and alters relationships: What am I? What is a ‘self’? Must selves die?

Neuroscience – including the latest theories about the way mind emerges from the architecture of the brain – interweaves with philosophy, Buddhism and personal testimony, to create a fascinating and emotionally-charged insight into the psyche of a ‘cryonaut’ in waiting.

Written with empathy, searing insight, and dark humour, Frozen to Life is both cutting edge and bleeding heart: a postmodern experiment in falling in love with life while preparing for death, in ways we can change ourselves radically without losing our treasured humanity, and iFrozen toLifeauthorphoton coming to understand that neither life nor death is what we think it is. How far would you go to avoid death?

Author D.J. MacLennan was born in 1971, in an old schoolhouse on the almost-drowned Scottish island of Benbecula. Since 1975, he has lived on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

The Alcor cryonics facility currently houses some 115 liquid-nitrogen-vitrified ‘patients’ – of whom over two-thirds are head-only ‘neuropatients’. Dr. Max More, CEO of Alcor, in Scottsdale, Arizona, says that cryonics is ‘simply an extension of emergency medicine’, suggesting that cryonics is saving a patient by buying them time for science to catch up. Of around 980 members worldwide, MacLennan became one of only a handful that have allowed their names to be made public.

On Tuesday, March 22, please join the Reading Room for an enlightening discussion with D.J. MacLennan. We meet at Tigh na Sgire, Park Lane, Portree, Isle of Skye, next to the Community Center, from 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. £3 for non-members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Johnstone and Trio Verso: Book Week Scotland on Skye.

The Reading Room is privileged to present Brian Johnstone and Trio Verso, for our Book Week Scotland 2015 celebration on Wednesday,  November 25, at Skeabost Memorial Hall.

Trio Verso: Brian Johnstone, Richard Ingham, Louise Major. Photo credit: Al Buntin

Scottish poet, Brian Johnstone, is a well- known figure on the Scottish poetry scene. He is a published poet with six collections to his name, a literary event organizer of broad experience and a live performer of his poems, both as a solo reader and with various musical collaborators.

Johnstone’s poetry has been published extensively across Scotland, in the rest of the UK, in the USA and Latin America, as well as in various European countries. The poet has given readings at numerous literary venues in Scotland, and at poetry festivals and other locations in England, around Europe and in Central and North America. His work has been translated into over a dozen European languages and is published in the respective countries. His latest poetry collection is Dry Stone Work.

As a live performer, Brian Johnstone is the poet/reader with Trio Verso, also featuring Richard Ingham (saxes, bass clarinet) and Louise Major (bass). Performing poetry & jazz improv since 2007, the trio has appeared at festivals and literary venues across Scotland, making its first appearance in England in 2011, at the Ted Hughes Festival. Their CD Storm Chaser appeared in 2010.

The recipient of a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary in 1998, Brian Johnstone has also received a number of Development Awards from the SAC and Creative Scotland. A prizewinner in the National Poetry Competition in 2000, he has won several other competitions, including the Writers’ Bureau Prize, the Mallard Prize and Poetry at the Fringe, during the Edinburgh Festival.

In 1991, he was a founder of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets and, throughout the 1990s, ran the Cave Readings series for the Pittenweem Arts Festival. From 1998-2003, he taught creative writing in poetry for The University of St Andrews Centre for Continuing Education, and from 1998-2000, for the Open College of the Arts. A founder in 1998 of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, he was Festival Director from 2001-2010 and remained on the staff as Festival Consultant until 2013. In 2014, he was appointed an Honorary President of StAnza.

Over the years, Brian Johnstone has organized poetry events for the Words Out! Festival, Perth; for Visual Arts Scotland; and for the American literary tour group, Book Adventures. He has been a frequent events chair for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and has judged poetry competitions, including the Wigtown Book Festival International Poetry Prize and the William Soutar Writing Prize, as well as serving on the panel for the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers’ Awards.

This event is sponsored by Scottish Book Trust and begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to join us for this lively gathering. We look forward to seeing all of you. Please note that there is no bar, so bring your own bottles.

Directions to Skeabost Memorial Hall: grid NG420484. A850, 4 miles from Portree on Dunvegan Rd. Last right before Skeabost Bridge, at Tote/Prabost/Peinmore turn. Immediate Left – look for lights. (18 miles from Dunvegan).

 

 

Celebrate Scottish Book Week with Brian Johnstone

THE READING ROOM PRESENTS

SCOTTISH BOOK WEEK 2015

SKEABOST MEMORIAL HALL

NOVEMBER 25        7:30 PM


POETRY: JAZZ IT UP

THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF

BRIAN JOHNSTONE AND TRIO VERSO

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Photo credit: Jim Nock

Brian Johnstone with Trio Verso will perform poetry and jazz improv for our Book Week Scotland celebration, which is always a good party. This is sponsored by Scottish Book Trust, so while admittance is free, the entertainment is worth hightailing it to Skeabost Memorial Hall. Take advantage of this opportunity to see Johnstone, a prolific Scottish poet, writer and performer, whose work been translated into more than a dozen European languages, while he continues to maintain a high profile in the Scottish poetry scene as founder, organizer and competition judge.


ALL WELCOME. ENTRY IS FREE.

BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLES


SPONSORED BY SCOTTISH BOOK TRUST

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