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Historian Sir Tom Devine among line-up for Highland literary festival


By Val Sweeney

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Sir Tom Devine will be a guest at the Ullapool Book Festival.
Sir Tom Devine will be a guest at the Ullapool Book Festival.

Best-selling Scottish historian Sir Tom Devine and Irish writer and broadcaster Peter Geoghegan are among the names lined-up for this year's Ullapool Book Festival.

Leela Soma, the 2021 Scriever for the Federation of Writers Scotland, will also appear at the festival due to take place May 7-9.

It will feature writers all living in Scotland to overcome potential travel difficulties arising from coronavirus restrictions.

It will also be the setting for the first live presentation of Sunwise, a collaboration between storyteller Ian Stephen, musician Mike Vass and artist Christine Morrison.

Sir Tom Devine has written and edited over 40 books on Scottish history, Irish-Scottish Studies and contemporary issues and is the only historian of Scotland to be knighted for services to the study of Scottish history.

His recent bestselling book on the Scottish Clearances has been acclaimed as a masterpiece.

Peter Geoghegan.
Peter Geoghegan.

Peter Geoghegan’s latest book, Democracy For Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics, outlines how money, vested interests and digital skulduggery have destroyed trust in democracy and fuelled the rise of populism.

Indian-born Leela Soma, who now lives in Glasgow, has published three novels and poetry some of which reflects her dual heritage.

Miriam Gamble
Miriam Gamble

Prize-winning poets Miriam Gamble, who has published several collections including What Planet, and poet laureate of Glasgow, Jim Carruth, whose most recent collection was entitled Bale Fire, will also take part in sessions at the festival.

Jim Carruth.
Jim Carruth.

Other participating writers include honorary festival president Chris Dolan, Gaelic-speaking author Donald S. Murray, Fiona J. Mackenzie, who is the archivist for the National Trust for Scotland in Canna House, Linda Cracknell and Ambrose Parry who will talk about their latest books.

Chris Dolan writes for stage, page, screen and radio. His new book, Everything Passes, Everything Remains: Journeys through Spain, Song and Memory, is about remembering – and mis-remembering.

Chris Dolan.
Chris Dolan.

Linda Cracknell, a writer principally of prose fiction and narrative non-fiction, also writes for radio. The Other Side of Stone, her collection of linked stories reflecting lives connected to a Perthshire woollen mill over 200 years, will be published in March.

Ambrose Parry is the pseudonym for a collaboration between best-selling author Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Glasgow.

Fiona J. Mackenzie produced a documentary film, Solas, on the life of Margaret Fay Shaw and also published a book on Shaw's island photography in 2018.

Donald. S Murray.
Donald. S Murray.

Poet, author and occasional dramatist Donald S Murray penned the 2019 award-winning novel, As the Women Lay Dreaming, was inspired by the Iolaire disaster. He has two books coming out this year – a novel, In a Veil of Mist, and a non-fiction book, For the Safety of All – the Story of Scotland’s Lighthouses.

To allow flexibility regarding Covid restrictions, tickets will go on sale no earlier than April 9. Up-to-date information will be published on the festival website, Facebook and Twitter and sent out on its mailing list.

The 2021 festival has received funding from Creative Scotland.

Related story: Marquees could be used to help Ullapool Book Festival stage a live event


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