Friday, 6 September 2013


Ron Butlin talks to P7 from Glaitness Primary

This week has seen the tenth anniversary of Orkney Library & Archive moving into the new purpose built library on Junction Road. Though the Laing Street premises were much loved by generations of Orcadians, the library and particularly the archive, had outgrown it.

So to celebrate, we've been having various events. 

James Oswald
On Monday we hosted an event with farmer-crime-writer James Oswald who told the fascinating story of his recent phenomenal publishing success. 

Two books out this summer, one coming out in February next year and a further three book deal with Penguin to take the Inspector McLean mysteries to six. 

James reckons he can turn out two a year. AND run his 350 acre farm in Fife. Good luck to him! We were lucky here in Orkney to see James for his first gig on his own as an author. He might be a bit harder to book in future. I imagine he will be reaping the whirlwind of his success along with his silage!

Evisceration, I said, your first book is full of it. Was this a working through of your guilt that you send some of your animals to slaughter?

Louise Graham and James Oswald
No, replied James Oswald, it arose from me and Stuart McBride trying to out-gross each other!

Ron Butlin and children from Glaitness Primary School

Ron Butlin, Edinburgh's Makar or Poet Laureate, worked with two groups of young folk - five from Wirdsmit Young Writers' Group on Tuesday and on Wednesday, 31 from P7, Glaitness Primary!

Ron was very impressed by both groups. The Wirdsmit youngsters wrote at an enviable rate and produced excellent work. And he kept the group of 31 enthralled as he told them to stop thinking and allow their imaginations full rein.

Q. What's read again and again but never bought? was the riddle one came up with.

Ron Butlin in conversation with David Lea

Ron did a reading from his work in the evening - poetry and short stories - to a good crowd of folk and generated lively interesting questions and discussion. 

Tim Morrison, Cary Welling, Ron Ferguson
When politicians and corporations fail us, all we have is our shared humanity. Poetry can put us in touch with that.

Karen Walker and Jim Bergen

Ron got a surprise when two old friends of his turned up unexpectedly for his reading. Novelists Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan were on holiday in Orkney and came along.

Zoe Strachan, Louise Welsh and Louise Graham

Amber Connolly who runs Wirdsmit

David Drever and Liam Stewart

Answer to the riddle: A library book!

Ron Butlin's and James Oswald's books are available to borrow - again and again! - from Orkney Library & Archive.


Tell me your stories about reading; share your experiences of Orkney Libraries; let me know your favourite books and tell me why you like them.