Dead in the water

Reading the letters in Readers’ Views last week it would seem that the Shetland film festival was a resounding success. What a pity the same can’t be said of Wordplay. For me and, I believe, many others, it was dead in the water.

Poets and children were well catered for, but for writers and would-be writers there was a dearth of events. Yes, there was a talk and a workshop on erotic fiction. Because nothing else was there for adult writers, I went to both.

The talk should have been listed as a reading because Mitzi Szereto read from two of her books for at least 45 minutes of the hour. I learned nothing. The workshop on the following day was minimally better but still promoted Mitzi and her opinions.

Where were our local writers? We were once given a slot, why not this year? There are many good writers in Shetland, published and un-published and I’m sure they would have been quite happy to read their work for free.

Where were the books? One table, not heavily laden and with not much choice, was not enough to tempt me to buy.

And where was the general public? In recent years Isleburgh was buzzing when Wordplay was on, but numbers have been steadily dwindling and if this year is anything to go by, next year will be worse.

Not only, but also, there was the Festival club. Hooray, life at last. I anticipated an evening of jollity. I should have known better. To walk into a room and be ignored, to sit and listen to a bunch of men playing and singing and jamming for themselves, is not my idea of clubbing it. They could have got on stage, switched on the mike and entertained us.

Ah well, we live and learn. This is one writer who wished she’d stayed at home and got on with some writing. I doubt if I shall be at Wordplay next year.

Millie Vigor


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