Robertson is star attraction at poetry reading and book launch

Acclaimed author and poet James Robertson will take part in a poetry reading and book launch in Shetland Library on Friday.

The event will feature the launch of two collections of poetry, pub­lished by Kettillonia: Robert­son’s own volume Hem and Heid and A Tunnel of Love by retired teacher Gordon Dargie.

Robertson is a poet, editor, novelist and publisher and was the first writer in residence at the Scottish Parliament. His novel Joseph Knight won the Saltire Society Book of the Year in 2003 and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award. He has published a further two novels, The Fanatic and most recently The Testament of Gideon Mack, The Sleekit Mr Tod (a translation of Roald Dahl’s classic Fantastic Mr Fox) and Winnie-the-Pooh in Scots.

This will be his second visit to Shetland, following his successful appearance at Wordplay 2006.

He said: ‘I’m truly delighted that the launch of these new Kettillonia publications is taking place in Ler­wick, for two reasons. First, Kettil­lonia already has a strong association with Shetland, having published Alex Cluness’s Disguise and Donald S Murray’s Between Minch and Muckle Flugga in recent years.

“Second, I believe that Gordon Dargie’s poetry is the genuine article: brave, moving, challenging and accomplished, it is exactly what good writing should be, and further evidence of the vitality of con­temporary literature coming out of Shetland. It’s an honour to be publishing his work, and to be reading alongside him and the other Shetland writers.”

Dargie was born in 1951 and brought up in Lanarkshire. He taught English in Lanarkshire and Argyll before coming to Shetland in 1980 where he recently retired as principal of Shetland College and now feels he has the opportunity to write. He and his wife Maureen have two grown-up children.

A Tunnel of Love is his first collection of poetry. It is being described as a subtle and powerful piece of work in which he explores the sonnet form and writes about themes which are at once universal and intensely personal. Twelve of the poems from the book are to be included in the Scottish Review of Books, due to be published on 15th February.

Both writers will read from their Kettillonia publications and will be available to sign copies on the night.

Also reading at the event will be Shetland poet James Sinclair, who recently had his own first collection of poetry Gulf Stream Blues published by North Idea.

Completing the bill is Nat Hall, a Shetland-based poet and visual artist. Educated on French and British shores, he is an active member of the Lerwick and Westside Writers’ Groups and a regular contributor to The New Shetlander.

She has also had work published in a variety of anthologies and publications including The Pull of the Moon or Bicycle Dreams, Poetry Scotland – the Battered Suitcase and suckingmud.

Shetland Arts literature develop­ment officer Donald Anderson said: “This is a quite exceptional event, featuring the launch of two quite exceptional collections of poetry and I would urge anyone with an interest in literature not to miss it.”

The event will take place at 7.30pm on Friday 20th February in Shetland Library. Admission is free.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.