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Shetland Arts is delighted to confirm a line-up of excellent guests for its annual book festival, Wordplay, running this year from 31 August to 9 September. Details below:

Val McDermid

Val McDermid graduated in English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before going on to be an award winning journalist for sixteen years. She has now had published many novels, including, Wire in the Blood, The Distant Echo, and the newly released, Vanishing Point, and has won many awards, including the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year in 2007 for, The Torment of Others.

Sally Magnusson

Sally Magnusson is well known as a journalist and broadcaster who works on both radio and television. She has written numerous books, including Horace the Haggis: Horace and the Haggis Hunter, Life of Pee, The Flying Scotsman: a Biography of Eric Liddell and Dreaming of Iceland: The Lure of a Family Legend.

 Norman Stone

Norman Stone is an acclaimed writer, director and producer for film and television who has won many awards. His work includes Shadowlands, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Florence Nightingale and the BAFTA nominated, Scotland’s Brand New Bank. He is also the illustrator for Sally Magnusson’s Horace the Haggis and friends and will take audiences into the amazing world of Horace with readings, on-the-spot drawings and even some animation.

Ron Pretty

Ron Pretty’s seventh book of poetry, Postcards from the Centre, was published in July 2010. He has also written about writing in Creating Poetry, which was reissued in 2002.  He has edited the literary journals SCARP and Blue Dog: Australian Poetry. Until 2007 he ran the Poetry Australia Foundation and was Director of Five Islands Press.

Jim Mainland

Jim Mainland, Shetland author, is a poet and fiction writer who writes primarily in English. He has published widely in The New Shetlander - he is a committee member - and other magazines. His first collection A Package of Measures (2002) displays a quietly philosophical mind, coupled with genuine virtuosity, in poems such as 'Nibon: an elementary grammar', which was chosen by Lise Sinclair as the opening poem of her suite Ivver Entrancin Wis.

 Angus Reid

Angus Reid is a writer and filmmaker.  He has published three volumes of poetry, The Gift, White Medicine and The Book of Days. His plays include How to Kill, Believer, and Mundus et Infans; his films include Brotherly Love, The Ring, and the forthcoming Primary School Musical!  His work has won national and international awards.

 John Burnside

John Burnside writes poetry, fiction and memoir. His most recent novel, A Summer of Drowning, is set in the Arctic Circle; his most recent poetry collection, Black Cat Bone, was awarded the Forward Prize for Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Prize, and he is also a recent recipient of the Petrarch Prize for poetry. He teaches at St Andrews.

 Rodge Glass

Rodge Glass is the author of the novels No Fireworks and Hope for Newborns as well as Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography which won a Somerset Maugham Award. Recently he was co-author of the graphic novel Dougie's War. He is a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University, also Associate Editor at Cargo Publishing. His latest novel, Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs, was published in April 2012 by Tindal Street Press.

Luke Jennings

Luke Jennings is the author of Blood Knots: Of Fathers, Friendship and Fishing, recently short-listed for the 2010 Samuel Johnson and William Hill prizes, and of three novels: Beach Candy, Beauty Story, and the Booker Prize-nominated Atlantic.

Christine De Luca

Christine De Luca was born and brought up in Shetland but lives in Edinburgh. She writes in both English and Shetland dialect. She has had five collections of poetry published, most recently North End of Eden (Luath Press 2010), and won the poetry Prix du Livre Insulaire 2007 for a tri-lingual Selected. Her poems have been translated into many languages and she has attended festivals in Norway, Finland, France, Italy, India and Canada as well as all over Scotland. Christine is active in Edinburgh’s poetry scene and in promoting art and literature projects and children’s books in Orkney and Shetland.  Her first novel And then forever was published by The Shetland Times. H

Karin Altenberg

Born and brought up in southern Sweden, Karin Altenberg moved to Britain to study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology. Her thesis was published in 2001 and won the Nordenstedska Foundation Award. Recently, she has worked in the fields of international arts management and cultural heritage. Her novel Island of Wings was nominated for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the 2011 Saltire Award (First Book) and shortlisted for the 2012 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards (First Novel)

Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has published four previous collections of poetry and has received the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and all three Forward Prizes.

Neil Butler grew up in Lerwick.  His first book, The Roost, was – no surprise – about kids growing up in Lerwick.  His next, Troll, is – no surprise – about trolls, though the Internet kind (in the main).  The Roost is a perilous tidal race off the coast of Shetland.  In these unique stories, Neil Butler renders the lives of young people as no less swift and dangerous.   Romance today is tough: on every mobile there's a threatening message, a compromising photo. For every aspiration to leave this place, there's a bottle of vodka or a line of coke. Despite their wild yearnings, some of these teenagers remain bound to tradition, while the waters of The Roost sweep their friends away into uneasy adulthood.  The Roost is a remarkable debut comic, eerie, risky and, above all, compassionate.

The festival will feature an excellent variety of events including writing workshops, author events, book launches and children’s events, including a visit from Scottish Opera with ‘A Little Bit of Northern Light’ for 4 – 9 year olds,’ and the festival programme will be available soon. Tickets will go on sale in August, keep an eye on for updates.

Shetland Arts Literature Development Officer Donald Anderson said, “It is immensely exciting to see such a wide variety of writers and the public can keep an eye on Shetland Arts’ website for the release of the full programme soon.”

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