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Lies, Blessed Lies


Yes, it was a busy weekend. After the Golden Hour kneesings-up, it was off to Glasgow on Saturday for the Merchant City Festival writing conference. I wasn’t able to catch much of the event outside of my workshop and reading, but I did hear some of the panel discussion and contribute to the ensuing lively debate.

My workshop went well. It was a suitably intimate number and, though we were a bit pushed for time simply because of the programme and the fact everything was running a wee bit late, the participants produced some good drafts. I’m always pleased and a little surprised by how well these things go, especially when, as with this one, they’re a bit last minute!

After the workshop, I met the leading Gaelic poet Maoilios Caimbeul and his collaborator Mark Goodwin, who were there launching Two Sides of the Pass/Dà Thaobh a’ Bhealaich, a bilingual volume in which Mark’s English poems are translated by Maoilios into Gaelic and Maoilios provides English versions of his own Gaelic. It’s also beautifully illustrated. Maoilios and Mark do literally live on two sides of a pass on Skye and they also represent two often conflicting communities: those native to the Hebrides and the incomers. I managed to hear only one poem from their reading before I had to scoot off the Queen St for the train, but I must investigate the collection properly. A book that brings together those two groups in island society so beautifully is an important contribution to our culture.

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