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Book Week Scotland will see a series of free events in Shetland, celebrating reading and writing from 25 Nov to 1 Dec. These will include two author speaking events organised by Shetland Arts, Denise Mina at St Ringans on Tuesday 26 Nov organised by Shetland Library, and a Book Swap and Reading Hour at Mareel & Bonhoga Gallery.

The first of the author speaking events organised by Shetland Arts will feature author and poet Christian Tait who will be reading from her work and in conversation with local broadcaster, Mary Blance, in the Lerwick Boating Club on Wednesday 27th November, doors 7pm. The second event also, organized by Shetland Arts, will be the appearance of Donald Murray who will be promoting his newest book, The Guga Stone, in a special session at The Shetland Times Bookshop on Thursday 29th November at 7.30pm. Both of these events are free to attend

One of Shetland’s most celebrated contemporary writers, Christian writes in both English and dialect. Her first poetry collection, Spindrift, was published in 1989. Stones in the Millpond (2001) is part history and part a collection of poems inspired by and based on the experiences of members of her own family in the First World War. Her work appears in the New Shetlander and other local and national publications. Mary Blance will need little introduction to local book enthusiasts thanks to her monthly book programme on BBC Radio Shetland and her regular appearances at Wordplay, introducing events and chairing Q&A sessions with authors.

Donald Murray

Donald Murray

The Guga Stone, which is a collaboration between Donald Murray and artist Douglas Robertson deals with the mix of fact and mythology that is the history of St Kilda. Donald Murray is the author of both fiction and non-fiction books, as well as poetry. His non-fiction includes The Guga Hunters, And On This Rock; Italian Chapel, Orkney and Weaving Songs, all of which garnered a great deal of favourable attention. Donald Murray’s event will also tie in with the first week of the Winter Festival, organized by Living Lerwick.

Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson said: “We’re grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for their support in running these events during Book Week Scotland. Thanks also go to the Shetland Times Bookshop. It is a privilege to be able to highlight two excellent local writers in what promise to be highly entertaining and fascinating events.”

As well as these events, Shetland Arts will hold a Book Swap week and a Reading Hour in Mareel and Bonhoga Gallery as part of the week of celebrations.

The Book Swap will run for the whole week from Monday 25 November to Sunday 1 December. In Mareel, the books for swapping will be placed under the stairs in the Main Foyer and a small selection will also be available for swapping in the Cafe Bar. In Bonhoga, the books will be available to swap in the Mill Cafe. Everyone is invited to bring their old/pre-read books and swap them for some new reading material throughout the week.

Also part of Book Week Scotland, a Reading Hour will take place in Mareel Cafe Bar and the Mill Cafe in Bonhoga on Friday 29 November, 11am-12pm. Visitors are invited to pick up a book at the Book Swap, or bring one along, and join in with a bit of communal reading, with optional homebake and hot drink on the side.

Now a major date in Scotland’s cultural calendar, Book Week Scotland is a national celebration of reading created to highlight Scotland’s exceptional cultural, creative and literary talent, and to remind everyone of the unique pleasure that can be gained from a good book.

Shetland Arts’ Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson, said: “We’re delighted to host the Book Swap and Reading Hour at Mareel and Bonhoga Gallery, giving everyone in the community the opportunity to share their love of reading. Participating in the Book Swap and Reading Hour is totally free and open to anyone who wants to take part, from mostly non-readers to complete bibliophiles. All are welcomed!”

Initiated by the Scottish Government, Book Week Scotland will be delivered on behalf of Creative Scotland by Scottish Book Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland.

Scottish Book Trust will work with a range of partners across the nation to deliver a packed programme of free projects and events, bringing Scots of all ages and from all walks of life together to celebrate books and reading: www.bookweekscotland.com

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