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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

THE READING ROOM ON FACEBOOK

SKYEREADING ROOM@YAHOO.CO.UK

Anthology Launch: Volume 2

SKYE READING ROOM
27 OCTOBER
7:30 pm

LAUNCH OF
A STILLNESS OF MIND

Volume 2 of our ‘Words from an Island’ Anthology Series

with
THE PLAYERS
from the PLOCKTON TRADITIONAL MUSIC SCHOOL

This was Volume 1
IMG_1217What colour will volume 2 be?

Come and see!

READINGS FROM A SELECTION OF OUR CONTRIBUTORS

                                                       SKEABOST HOTEL                                

SUPPER FROM 6 PM – BAR & RESTAURANT  

OPEN TO ALL

ENTRY £5 AT THE DOOR Members & contributors free

http://www.theskyereadingroom.wordpress.com

THE READING ROOM ON FACEBOOK
skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk

 

St. Kilda Evening with Roger Hutchinson

Whenever I feel myself getting close to writing some tired words about an extraordinary writer, I click for the Rebelle Society, a blog of wild souls, of uninhibited women writers. After carefully perusing the long list of titles written by Roger Hutchinson, I have decided he, too, must be dubbed a wild soul, and he has been put on the top of my anticipated reads.

The Reading Room is privileged to present Roger Hutchinson at the Skeabost Hotel on Tuesday, September 29. Lucky us.

Hutchinson has a penchant for compelling subjects; hence, for the bookshop browser, his books have a good chance of being selected from curiosity as well as hope for some interesting non-fiction. The author’s profile is visible to any visitor here on Skye, as a columnist for the West Highland Free Press. Look closer and you will see his prominent ‘Calum’s Road’ displayed in every shop where books are found. Calum was the last man in North Raasay in the late ’60s and Hutchinson has made sure the story of the road he built will live poignantly in our memories.

More of his books are easy finding: Angus MacPhee, of South Uist, spent fifty years in an asylum after WWII, as ‘The Silent Weaver’ of grass art objects. The famous shipwrecked ‘Polly’ of Whisky Galore fame is exposed by Hutchinson with humour and insight – a favorite book among his readers. Lord Leverhulme’s confrontation with Hebridean Islands seamen is fascinating reading, in ‘The Soap Man’. 

His eclectic output has included books on Aleister Crowley, James Boswell and ‘Euro-Slang: The Practical Language Guide to Boozing and Bonking from Mykonos to Malaga.’ (Did I say ‘wild soul’ with sense of humour?)  By Facebook remarks and his own books on games and sports, it is easy to deduce the author is also an avid sports follower. He was awarded  ‘British Weekly’ Sportswriter 1996.

At the September 29th Reading Room meeting, Roger will be talking about the research and writing of his latest book, ‘St Kilda: A People’s History’.  He says, ‘I’m really looking forward to meeting my friends from the Reading Room again, and talking about an island community even more distant than Skye!’

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Roger Hutchinson on St. Kilda.

    The author remarks that St Kilda is the most romantic and most romanticised group of islands in Europe: ‘Soaring out of the North Atlantic Ocean like Atlantis come back to life, the islands have captured our imagination for hundreds of years.’ 
    Their inhabitants, Scottish Gaels who lived off the land, the sea and by birdcatching on St Kilda’s high and precipitous cliffs, were long considered to be the Noble Savages of the British Isles, living in a state of natural grace.
    ‘St Kilda: A People’s History’ explores and portrays the real life of the St Kildans from the Stone Age to the 20th century.
    Roger Hutchinson has 40 years experience of Hebridean islands and he digs deep into the archives to paint a vivid picture of the life and death, work and play of a small, proud and self-sufficient family.
    This book is a new and unprecedented history of the islands because it demolishes myths and shows how life really was lived in that beautiful archipelago.
    From the earliest Neolithic settlement to the voluntary evacuation in 1930, ‘St Kilda: A People’s History’ is a fascinating, funny and original account. It is the story not only of a sensational place, but also of the extraordinary people who called it home.

Everyone is welcome to attend our evening event, which will begin at 7:30 p.m., with ‘Glimpses of Hirta’ – a poem in two voices, by Linda Henderson.  
Our special guest, Roger Hutchinson, will take the floor immediately following Linda’s reading.
Please join us at Skeabost Hotel from 6 p.m., for supper in the dining rooms, or a light meal or snacks in the pub, before the event.
There will be a charge of £5 per head for non-members. Annual membership, which supports the work that we do throughout the year, is available on the door.

Skye Book Festival This Week

This is a grand opportunity to enjoy some of our favourite authors and the people whose talents embellish the books we read. 

FÈIS LEABHRAICHEAN AN EILEIN SKYE BOOK FESTIVAL

and  PBFA ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR

3 – 5 SEPTEMBER 2015

FESTIVAL AT A GLANCE 

THURSDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER

  • ANNE MCALPINE ‘The Silver Locket’, Kilmuir Primary School 2pm FREE
  • RODY GORMAN ‘Sweeney: An Intertonguing’, Aros Auditorium 2pm £5 | £3.50
  • IAN G MACDONALD Launch of ‘Memories of a Portree Kid’, Aros Auditorium 3.30pm £5 | £3.50
  • DOUGLAS ROBERTSON Illustrations: ‘Herring Tales’, Aros Auditorium 7.30pm £5 £3.50
  • DONALD S MURRAY Launch of  ‘Herring Tales’, Aros Auditorium 8.30pm £5 | £3.50
  • FRIDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER
  • BOOK BINDING Hand-sewn Book Aros 10am-4pm £45
  • GAELIC IN THE LANDSCAPE Launch of ‘Place-names of Strath’, Skye Aros Auditorium 2pm £5 | £3.50
  • J MACLENNAN Launch of ‘Frozen to Life’, Aros Auditorium 3.30pm £5 | £3.50
  • MICHAEL RUSSELL ‘Lie of the Land’, Aros Auditorium 7.30pm £5 | £3.50
  • VAL MCDERMID Launch of ‘Splinter the Silence’, Aros Auditorium 8.30pm £5 | £3.50
  • SATURDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER
  • BOOK BINDING Coptic Book, Aros 10am-4pm £45
  • THERESA BRESLIN ‘Scottish Mythical Creatures’, Aros Auditorium 11am £3 | £1.50
  • POETRY WALK Historical and cultural event, Portree Square 2pm FREE
  • PARA HANDY ‘A Highland Voyage’, Aros Auditorium 7.30pm £12 | £10 | £8
  • PBFA BOOK FAIR Thurs 12noon-5.30pm FREE, Fri 9am-5.30pm FREE, Sat 9am-4.30pm FREE

BOOK YOUR TICKETS on 01478 613750 OR WWW.SKYEBOOKFESTIVAL.CO.UK

 

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.