Fabulous variety of speakers at the second John O’Groats Book Festival – and a warm and appreciative audience of readers, writers and book enthusiasts! Books and genres reflected the vibrancy and healthy diversity of modern Scotland – and oh! the temptation to simply buy every book displayed…
Some fascinating snippets from my pages and pages of notes:
- You can see 9 lighthouses from John O’Groats.
- A lighthouse light lens weighs 3 1/2 tons.
- In one area, wreckers preferred the title ‘pirates’.
- Wick was the first place in the world where wave power was measured, leading to the development of a reliable instrument used worldwide.
- The first official women’s football match was in 1881 between Scotland and England, and the score was Scotland 3, England 0.
- The Scots translation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits (Scots title The Eejits), published by Itchy Coo, has sold 50-60,000 copies.
- The Gruffalo has been published in Scots, Doric, Orkney, and Shetland translations.
- Robert Louis Stevenson wrote short stories in Scots.
- The Norwegian language was seen as a dialect of Danish until independence from Denmark when it was recognised as a language in its own right (around 100 years ago).
My own contribution to the Festival was this afternoon, as one of four writers discussing and reading from our own work. Novelists Margaret Mackay (hard-boiled crime) and Catherine Byrne (local-based historicals and biography), were joined by non-fiction specialist Jim Miller who has written fascinating books on Scapa Flow, the hydro-electric infrastructure in the Highlands, and much more.
Another friendly, welcoming audience, and three supportive and entertaining companions. Next year’s festival dates have been fixed for April 24-26. Put it in your diary! This is a must-attend event!