Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Reeling & Writhing with Orkney Reader

Alice with the Mock Turtle & the Gryphon
It's turned out a busy week for yours truly. Reeling and Writhing seems to describe it fairly accurately. As the Mock Turtle said to Alice, when she asked what he learned at school: 

'Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with ... and then the different branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.'

I know how he feels! 

A busy week, but all good things, I hasten to add.

Alice in Wonderland came to mind because I've been asked to take part in an event on Thursday with Glasgow Women's Library in their soon-to-be premises in Bridgeton, Glasgow, to talk along with Magi Gibson, their Reader in Residence, and Wendy Kirk, their Librarian, about books that changed our lives

Alice in Wonderland is one I have loved since before I could read - not perhaps for the best of reasons: I thought the book was called Alison Wonderland and was about a fellow Alison! It was influential for me though, when I eventually did read it, because it showed me how much I could identify with a character in a book; how much I could go through Alice's experiences with her, worry when she worried, feel sad when she was sad, happy and defiant when she found the courage to stand up to the strange, unsettling creatures she found around her and survive her unnerving adventures intact.

Magi and I will be speaking about one work of fiction, one of poetry and one non-fiction that have resonated strongly with us at different points in our lives.

Yesterday, Monday the 11th March, I appeared on BBC Radio Scotland's Book Cafe to talk about my involvement with Glasgow Women's Library's 21 Revolutions with authors Louise Welsh and Denise Mina. Still haven't heard it myself, but I believe it is on again on Sunday 17 March at 3.02 pm.

Louise Welsh

Denise Mina

Tomorrow we have the second meetings of the two new poetry reading groups:

The Poem's the Thing 

The afternoon one meets in Kirkwall Library from 1.00-2.00 pm and the evening one in Stromness Library from 6.00-7.00 pm.

Last month, it being the eve of Valentine's Day, we read Carol Ann Duffy's poem, Valentine; and because it was near the anniversary of the death of Sylvia Plath, we read Mad Girl's Love Song, which is also the title of the latest biography of Plath. And we read The Overhaul, the title poem of Kathleen Jamie's new collection, winner of the Costa poetry prize and shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize. You can download a PDF of it and two other poems from the collection by clicking the link in the line above.

Kathleen Jamie

Tomorrow we'll read - ah, well, come along and see!  As a clue, let me quote Winston Churchill:

'I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.'

(Just noticed that 'equals' is an anagram of 'squeal'!)


  1. Witty post, Alison. Love it! And looking forward to our event on Thursday. Oh, the jet-setting lifestyle of an SBT Reader in Residence.

    1. Thanks, Magi! Looking forward to it as well. Yes - jet-setting is the word!

      Alison x


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