This year’s Wordplay festival looks set to be one of the best yet. With a first-class guest list performing readings, panel discussions, children’s sessions and book signings along with several events for aspiring writers, it should be an invigorating few days. What a perfect way to lighten up what can otherwise be a dank and dreary month.
Although Wordplay may be our annual literary highlight, I think it’s fair to say that Shetland is a great place for lovers of literature to live, having year-round events for bookworms and budding writers.
Shetland Library plays a crucial role in helping to create a lively and lightsome culture around reading and books. It is a place very close to my heart. When my children were small, the library was our second home, and we were always given a warm welcome by the lovely members of staff (even being offered a lift to the Gilbert Bain when my son attempted some impromptu shelf-abseiling and split his ear open). When my toddlers were having a crabbit day, the promise of a trip to the library usually got them into a more reasonable frame of mind. Fast forward ten years, and it still has a second-home status, although the children like to make their own way there now … Hopefully, our feature will give you a flavour of the warmth and liveliness of this very special place.
On arriving in Shetland, I was struck by how local writing talent was so well nurtured through writing groups and mentoring schemes. This supportive climate has allowed some exceptional talent to bloom. These islands have produced no shortage of writers, as a flick through this magazine will tell you: from the rapidly rising star of Malachy Tallack, to well-loved poets and novelists on the local literary scene, to up-and-coming writers such as Sally Huband (who speaks about her experience of winning a Scottish Book Trust New Writer award).
Of course, writing is just one type of craft at which Shetlanders do very well. This being November (craft fair time) we have some crafty offerings of a different type too. If only the rules didn’t prevent me from entering this month’s competition! I will be seriously envious of anyone who wins the hamper of craft goodies we have up for grabs. Continuing the craft theme, we have the tracks of Wendy Inkster’s life, and a meet up with the maakers and yaakers of Anderson High school.
Of course, literature and knitting are by no means mutually exclusive, as the book Reflection Apo Hands so gracefully proves. It was a privilege to meet Laura Whittall and Ann Williamson to speak about the inspiration behind this project. As Ann pointed out, what could make a better stocking filler than this beautiful book? (Apart from the December Shetland Life that is.)
There are loads of delights to look forward to this month: not just Wordplay, but ballet performances, theatre productions and so much