Roger Hutchinson Reads From New Book (AGM follows)

Our guest reader for Tuesday, April 25, will be Roger Hutchinson, who will be giving us a glimpse into his new book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker : The Story of Britain Through It’s Census Since 1801.

Brave Roger. To have taken on the quest to create a cohesive (and interesting) statement about Britain’s census with any number of pages suggests to me 700 milliliters of whisky at 43% and 100 grams of 84% chocolate. What was he smoking?

Thank goodness census records aren’t all numbers. Or at least the digits tell stories that we wouldn’t have without them. With the national census, people began to lose anonymity. We began to find out what the population was, who died and from what, and the numbers became the colour and texture of life–a self-portrait of the British Isles.

For example: Britain in 1801 still had its share of nomadic descendants and the enumerators had to follow them to their haunts: “The numbers living out of houses vary with the seasons; in winter they shrink into dwellings, and in summer they swarm again in the fields, which have irresistible charms for the vagabond race, as well as for their near relatives, the hop-pickers and haymakers. Mixed among them are found some of the victims as well as some of the outcasts of society.” *

In The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker, Roger Hutchinson looks at every census taken at the beginning of each decade for 200 years. All human life is here, from prime ministers to peasants and paupers, from Irish rebels to English patriots, from the last native speakers of Cornish to the first professional footballers, from communities of prostitutes to individuals called ‘abecedarians’, who made a living from teaching the alphabet.

Hutchinson is adept at producing books that talk about the people. He has over twenty publications, many of which you will see in every shop that sells books in Scotland, including Calum’s Road; St. Kilda: A People’s History; The Toon; Silent Weaver; and A Waxing Moon: The Modern Gaelic Revival. Because he is a journalist with the West Highland Free Press and a Raasay resident, he is also a local favorite author.

Following Roger’s presentation, we will have refreshments and then have a short AGM meeting to report on 2016, tell you about our programme for 2017-2018 and find out how you’d like to see the Reading Room develop in the future.

The event will be held at Edinbane Community Hall, starting at 7:30 p.m. The lighter evenings should make parking easier, and rumour has it that Edinbane Inn is open Tuesday nights again, for anyone wanting to make an evening it.

Admission is free to members and £5 for non-members. Everyone is welcome. Our reasonable membership is available at every meeting. Reading Room anthologies, Island Life and A Stillness of Mind, are for sale at £8.50 each, and we have a Good Read selection of literary works at prices that will make them jump into your hands.

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

This event is sponsored in part by Scottish Book Trust.

* Great Britain Historical GIS Project 2004-17. The GBH GIS is a network of collaborating academic researchers. For details please contact Humphrey Southall (Humphrey.Southall@gbhgis.org).

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.

 

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

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.

 

 

BAKER PRIZE: 8 WEEKS TO GO

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SO NO PRESSURE …YET….

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!

October Event

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28 OCTOBER 2014
***** THREE GOOD READS AND JUDY FAIRBAIRNS*****
Judy will be joining our monthly event from the Isle of Mull where she has been a hotelier, mother, business, executive, recording artist and is now a writer and singer-songwriter. her memoir, Island Wife is a memoir full of humour, spark and tears. Come and share a warm evening of good reading conversation and a lovely, lovely guest.
Skeabost Hotel – 7.30 pm [Bar meals available from 6.30]