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Wordplay 2009, Shetland Arts' book festival, will feature a special reading in Room 12, Islesburgh Community Centre at 10.30am on Saturday 5th September, of a work in progress for a fascinating publication planned by local imprint, Hansel Cooperative Press.

Prize winning writer and sculptor, John Cumming, the initial instigator of the project said, "Fisherman's Lives is a working title for what is effectively a work in progress.  By May 2010 it will be an anthology of creative writing, developed from the stories of those who lived through the era of the drift and seine net fishing."

The reading will feature some of Shetland's finest contemporary writers. Appearing with John will be Laureen Johnson, James Sinclair, Mark Ryan Smith, Lise Sinclair and Charlie Simpson, all of who are contributing to the anthology.

Laureen Johnson, co-editor of The New Shetlander, Convenor of Shetland Forwirds and author of a novel, Shetland Black (Shetland Times 2002) and a collection of poetry, Treeds (Hansel Cooperative Press 2007) which was short listed for the Callum Macdonald Poetry Pamphlet Prize in 2008.

As well as being Secretary of the Shetland Folk Society, Charlie Simpson is involved with the Shetland Fiddlers Society, the Shetland Musical Heritage Trust and is a highly versatile writer, the author of a wide range of essays and articles for the New Shetlander, Shetland Life and the Shetland Times. His book In Da Galley: Sixty Essays in Seafood Philosophy (Shetland Times 2001) is a collection of his columns first published in The Shetland Fishing News.

James Sinclair has had his work published this year in New Writing Scotland and is a regular contributor to The New Shetlander. Mark Ryan Smith serves on the editorial committee of The New Shetlander. He has recently published a collection of poetry, Midnight and Tarantella (North Idea 2008) and has contributed poems, essays and short stories to a number of publications and anthologies.

Lise Sinclair is a musician and an artist as well as a writer and has recently released a CD, Ivver Entrancin Wis and published a collection of poetry, here (North Idea 2006). Lise's appearance at Wordplay comes hard on the heels of several triumphant performances at the Poetry On The Road Festival in and around Bremen, in June 2009.

Shetland Arts Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson said,  " This is a very important event because it brings together three important threads of what the festival is about. As well as a celebration of  a very important part of the Shetland community and its culture, it is also a chance to celebrate and promote both the Shetland dialect and the high quality of writing currently being produced here."

While reflecting on how the project has developed so far, John Cumming said, "In the past Shetland literature has tended to turn to crofting and the land for inspiration, but by talking to fishermen and their families; to the gutters, coopers and boat builders, we have found a rich source of narrative and language."

Tickets for this event are available from Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre, 01595 745 555.

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