Meet the Writers

1 Oct 2004

THE INAUGURAL INVERNESS BOOK FESTIVAL takes pride of place this month. The main festival programme unrolls at Eden Court Theatre, but with other events in bookshops and libraries around the city. HI~Arts are also making their own contribution through the Blethers event – read about the festival in out multi-strand feature.

The festival is a welcome addition to the Highlands & Islands calendar, and will complement more modest but well-established literary gatherings in the region. The success of the giant Edinburgh International Book Festival has demonstrated that there is a real appetite among the reading public for meeting and listening to writers as well as reading them, and we wish the newcomer well in its maiden voyage.

Traditional music is a more indigenous part of the Highland scene, but recent attendances in Inverness have suggested that the audience in the city is not as large or loyal as assumed. Eden Court’s week long series of traditional concerts featuring the likes of Alastair Fraser, rising star Emily Smith and The Poozies did poorly at the box office, with the notable exception of Blazin’ Fiddles.

It seems that the local favourites – and that would include both that fabulous band and the ever-reliable Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham – will tempt audiences out, but anything new, unfamiliar or not specifically local will not. The recent TMSA Young Trad Tour featured an excellent line up, but barely limped into double figures. There were mitigating circumstances that night – Meantime playing at Farr the same night, the Friends of Highland Music Rising Stars concert the following night, and Eddi Reader in town two days later – but it is a disturbing trend.

Gaelic language has featured on the Arts Journal since its inception, but we now plan to have a regular Gaelic piece, starting with Rody Gorman’s assessment of the new work of Rob Kerr, who has just finished a three year stint as Writer in Residence at the Gaelic College in Skye.

Piper Fred Morrison is our main interview this month, while Meantime will be our Band Profile. The refurbished Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness is our Venue Profile, and look out for the usual news, reviews and additional features as October unfolds.

Kenny Mathieson
Commissioning Editor