Murray steps down as Shetland Arts chairman to concentrate on writing

Donald Murray, who has stepped down as chairman of Shetland Arts. Click on image to enlarge.
Donald Murray, who has stepped down as chairman of Shetland Arts. Click on image to enlarge.

Shetland Arts chairman Donald Murray has stepped down from his post in order to concentrate on his writing career, with vice-chairman Jim Johnston stepping up to fill his shoes.

Mr Murray has been chairman for almost three years, overseeing the difficult political stages which the project to build cinema and music venue Mareel went through before finally getting the go-ahead.

His decision to relinquish the post, which he has held since November 2006, was approved by trustees at their last meeting – though he will stay on as a trustee in the short term.

He said: “I’m delighted that Jim is taking over the post. He has displayed for many years a great deal of zeal and interest in the arts and I’m confident that the organisation will go forward with him.”

After the success of his 2008 book The Guga Hunters, about Lewis men who catch and eat young gannets, Mr Murray is preparing to release a new book, Small Expectations, early next spring.

A collection of linked poems and short stories which “sum up the dilemma of every islander, the sacrifices we make and the choices we make”, he described it as a cross between The Clash song Should I Stay Or Should I Go and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Mr Murray, who teaches English at Sandwick, is also working on a book about the Italian Chapel at Land Holm in Orkney, which was built by prisoners of war from Italy during the second world war.


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