Local history and crime fiction to feature at Skye book festival

The Skye Book Festival returns in early September, presenting chapters in the lives of internationally-famous authors alongside local writers, artists and storytellers.

This year’s festival welcomes Val McDermid, who is one of the biggest names in crime writing. Val will talk about her latest book ‘Splinter The Silence’, her most gripping, chilling novel yet, featuring two of the most distinctive and unforgettable characters in crime fiction — Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.

Further murder (of the fishy kind) follows, as depicted by Donald S. Murray at his ‘Herring Tales’ book launch. The story of the herring fishery was of central importance to the lives of our ancestors, and was celebrated in the art, literature, craft, music and folklore of northern Europe.

Ian G Macdonald will also launch his new book ‘Memories of a Portree Kid’ which looks at village life from a by-gone period, while DJ MacLennan examines the future with his new book ‘Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment’.

Another new title launched at the festival will be ‘Gaelic in the Landscape: Place-names of Strath, Isle of Skye’. Eilidh Scammell and Dr Jacob King have worked with local people to record many of these place-names that might otherwise have been lost — the presentation will be given by Robyn Ireland, SNH’s Gaelic officer.

Retired Chemistry teacher Ian G MacDonald has chronicled the Portree he knew as a child


Award-winning children’s author Theresa Breslin has collected the best-loved tales from all over Scotland in her book ‘An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures’. Retelling each in its own individual style, she presents funny tales, moving tales and enchanting fairytales. Each story is brought to life with exquisite illustrations by Scottish fine artist Kate Leiper. And Anne McAlpine will share her exciting new children’s book ‘The Silver Locket’ with the children of Staffin and Kilmuir primary schools.

Free Press journalist Michael Russell will introduce his debut novel, ‘Lie of the Land’, set in a post-apocalyptic near-future Scotland, predominantly in the fictional Highland coastal village of Inverlair. And Rody Gorman presents his latest work, ‘Sweeney: An Intertonguing’ which is based on the medieval Gaelic romance ‘The Frenzy of Sweeney’. It consists of a multiform, multilingual and polysemantic series of poems, songs and prose passages in Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic and English.

The three-day festival finishes off on the Saturday evening with ‘The Highland Voyage of Para Handy’ commemorating a voyage from Glasgow to Skye. What results is a comedic tongue-in-ear romp by three troubadours of this cross-culture — Iain MacLeod, Russell Hunter and Allan MacDonald — who add their own diverse musical talents.

The fesival in Aros in Portree runs from 3rd to 5th September.

Box Office 01478 612750