Literature festival now on

Shetland Arts festival of literature, Wordplay, kicked off its 20th birthday celebrations on Wednesday with a five-day celebration of the written word.

Curated by author Malachy Tallack, this year’s festival features guest authors of local, national and international renown for readings, workshops and school sessions.

Today, Saturday, 18th September will feature the film Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story shown at the Mareel at 2pm.

Mary Paulson-Ellis, whose ‘detective stories without a detective’ have made her a Times bestseller will be introducing her brand-new novel, Emily Noble’s Disgrace during a 6.30pm show.

Gavin Francis will describe his work as a GP during the pandemic, seeing first-hand the impact that Covid-19 has had on individuals and on communities and written about in his book, Intensive Care, from 8.30pm.

Both authors shows will be at the Mareel and last an hour.

Sunday, 19th September is another full day featuring another graphic novel workshop at 10am, a writing fiction workshop with Mary Paulson-Ellis at noon, both in the Mareel and an online poetry workshop at 4pm with Alycia Pirmohamed.

Ms Pirmohamed is the winner of the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and often uses metaphors of landscape and the natural world to reflect on wider themes.

In this workshop, she’ll help participants explore the possibilities of ecological and nature poetry.

The first cinema documentary entirely in Scots Gaelic, IORRAM (Boat Song) will be shown at 2pm. The film is a lyrical portrait of the fishing community in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, past and present.

Cal Flyn will explore what happens to those places that human beings pollute, destroy or just leave behind?

In her Islands of Abandonment show she visits such places around the world, and discovers stories not only of damage, but of repair and hope. Start time is 6.30pm.

Finally at 8.30pm Damian Barr will discuss his debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, which has been shortlisted for six major awards and a named a Book of the Year in the Observer, Irish Times and The Times.

For ticket information call Mareel on 01595 745500 or visit


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