Tuesday, 9 April 2013

John Rae at Orkney Book Festival

This year is the bicentenary of John Rae's birth and many events are planned throughout the year to commemorate him and his achievements in the Arctic.

Struan Sinclair is coming over from the University of Manitoba to give a talk about John Rae and the Canadian connection.

His is a homecoming of sorts, because Struan spent a spell in Orkney as a Writing Fellow some years ago and has many folk here who remember the time they spent with him talking about their writing.

And Bryce Wilson, a weel kent son of Stromness, will be telling us about Rae's connection with the town and giving us a preview of his forthcoming book. 

John Rae's Arctic adventures are dear to the hearts of the people of Orkney. And there is a strong sense locally of the injustice done to him by polite society in London when he returned to tell the story of the fate of the Franklin expedition. Even Charles Dickens joined in the howl of outrage at the suggestion that starving Englishmen could have engaged in cannibalism in their desperation to survive.

John Rae respected and listened to the Inuit people he met and learned survival strategies from them. It was his understanding of and sympathy with these 'ignorant savages,' as they were believed to be, that earned him the hatred of the ruling elite in the capital.

But come and hear the full story from the experts.

Struan Sinclair
John Rae in Canada
11.30 am 
Saturday 13 April
Orkney Library & Archive

Bryce Wilson
Stromness and John Rae
11.00 am
Sunday 14 April
Stromness Library

There is also a fascinating exhibition about John Rae in Stromness Museum. Why not take that in too!

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