Book festival to offer budding creative writers chance to learn about the trade

WORDPLAY 2008, Shetland’s seventh annual book festival, will feature a number of opportunities for budding creative writers of all ages to hone their writing skills and learn about different aspects of the art of creative writing with the help of some of the festival’s guests.

The first day of the festival next Friday will open with a special workshop for children of eight and over by writer Valerie Watt, author of The Peesterleeties and Peerie Mootie and her Muckle Buits. She will talk about how she writes her own characters, get participants started on making up their own characters and play a bit of fiddle as well.

Saturday will also see two workshops on novel writing. In the first workshop, novelist, erstwhile lecturer in creative writing at Glasgow University and rising star of the literary scene Alan Bissett will look at how to start a novel. In the second Alison Flett, an award-winning writer in her own right, will talk about how to develop a strong narrative voice in your writing.

On Sunday Simon Puttock, a prize-winning writer for children who has also worked in publishing, will deliver a workshop in which he will explore not only how to write for children but why an adult would want to.

Trevor Norton, emeritus professor of marine biology, diver, writer and a man who has been described both as a “dangerously interesting lecturer” and “Bill Bryson, underwater” will lead a session in which he will talk and answer questions about how to write a book and get it published.

Sunday will also see a workshop delivered by poet and comedian John Hegley, for anyone over the age of seven on writing and drawing about animals. As well as being a funny performer, he has an excellent reputation for his workshops which are ideal for family participation.

On both days, award winning artist, illustrator and film maker Iain Piercy will lead two workshops focussing on the use of illustration to tell a story – in the first he will explore illustration from experience and in the second he will explore illustration from the imagination. Although the first workshop is primarily aimed at adults and the second workshop at children and young people Iain is happy to include both in each.

Shetland Arts literature development officer Donald Anderson said: “The workshops at Wordplay 2008 are aimed at as broad a spectrum of people as possible and we have writers and an artist of great experience and pedigree to deliver them.”

Although the workshops are free of charge, tickets are available from Islesburgh box office and in order to avoid disappointment it is advisable to get a ticket in advance.

Meanwhile, Beaten Gold, a book of poetry by Jim Moncrieff, illustrated by Andrew Morrison, will be launched at 11am on Saturday 6th September at an event celebrating the poet’s work.


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