The Shetland Literature Festival is now open


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

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

Today, Saturday September 18, the film Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story will be screened at the Mareel at 2 p.m.

Mary Paulson-Ellis, whose “detective-less detective novels” made her a Times bestseller, will present her newest novel, Emily Noble’s Disgrace on a 6:30 pm show.

Gavin Francis will describe his work as a general practitioner during the pandemic, seeing firsthand the impact Covid-19 has had on individuals and communities and wrote in his book, Intensive Care, starting at 8:30 p.m.

The performances of the two authors will be at the Mareel and will last one hour.

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

Ms Pirmohamed is the winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2020 and often uses metaphors of the landscape and the natural world to think about broader themes.

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

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

Will Cal Flyn explore what happens to those places that humans pollute, destroy, or simply leave behind?

In her show Islands of Abandonment, she visits such places around the world and uncovers stories not only of damage, but also of reparation and hope. The start time is 6.30 p.m.

Finally, at 8:30 p.m., Damian Barr will discuss his debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, which was shortlisted for six major awards and named Book of the Year in The Observer, The Irish Times and The Times.

For more information on tickets, call Mareel on 01595 745500 or visit

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