Monday, 11 September 2006


Our visit to Lewis this time coincided with Faclan, the first Hebridean Book Festival. They had some good events lined up, and it would be worth planning a visit around again, but the only one we went to this time was disappointing - Mairi Hedderwick. The title of the session was revealed after we'd bought the tickets, suggesting that it would be her travel books featured rather than Katie Morag, and sure enough. There were some other people there with children as well as us, so she did make a wee token effort at the start, but the first thing she said to the children was that sometimes she got a bit fed up of Katie Morag, which was ungracious (and ungrateful, since I guess KM bankrolls everything else she does). She was talking about the illustrations in her books, but rather than having the images displayed on some kind of screen, surely not beyond the wit of man, she was just holding the books up at the relevant page for us to squint at. I didn't warm to her.

I'll get Donnie Foot's autobiography of childhood when it comes out, I'm sure. I'm reading Adam Nicolson's book on The Shiants (which his family owns), Sea Room. And I'll have to read Kevin MacNeil's book The Stornoway Way eventually, although the (favourable) reviews I saw really put me off - describing a radical mythbusting approach heavy on alcoholism, depression and the dead hand of the church, suggesting that the reviewers had never been exposed to any other art produced by islanders since these themes are common to the point of tedium. (Of course, it's also a bit chastening when someone younger than you from your homeland has written a book and you haven't.)

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