The St Duthac Books and Arts Festival is almost here. Banners are heralding this new festival and a pop-up book and art gallery have opened in the town. A few more days and I will be seen running from school author visit with my Broc book to the new Blàs book launch. All this takes place within hours on the morning of Friday 24th of September.
A pop-up shop may not be the first place you think of for holding a launch. But where else would you want to hold it other than surrounded by other books? The area itself is encircled by colourful paintings displayed along the walls. It is a lovely creative space. I can see other writers requesting a slot there next year, so I count myself lucky I am there this year.
Originally, the St Duthac Book and Arts Festival was supposed to take place in March but the virus thought otherwise. This new date comes right on the heels of the Nairn Book and Art Festival and just before Ness Book Fest in Inverness. Three Book Festivals, all so close together in terms of dates and geography.
I haven’t even mentioned the Nigg Hall Book Fair which falls on Saturday 25th of September. Now in its fourth year, I have been there virtually, and with an unmanned stall. I am going to make it this year in person, quite exciting to think I will be meeting other real live people. Unless events overtake me I am looking forward to speaking to readers and other writers. I’m sure there will be the odd cuppa or two. I know a fellow writer who buys most of her Christmas presents from there. Not that you need an excuse to buy books of course.
Despite all that nature and life have thrown at me this year: I have produced two books I am proud of. One in Gaelic for children, Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra, and the other in English, Blàs Roots in the Soil. Before Blàs is even launched I am already working on the next one. Grumpa is also sizzling away.
After this weekend though I think for a wee while I will try and take a break. Well, that is what I am saying now. However, I know I will start to get itchy fingers and have to stop myself from running to the laptop after a few nights. In the end, to stop myself from getting stressed, I will succumb to writing just a little and before I know it I will not be able to stop myself rushing off to write when I can.
For now, though I am going to enjoy what the St Duthac Books and Art Festival and the Nigg Hall Book Fair offers me in terms of work, writing, and meeting up with other creative people. It will be so lovely having a festival like this on my doorstep.
Huge thanks to all the volunteers who have had been working behind the scenes to get everything ready. Without these people, we writers would not often get the chance to either meet up together or met our readers. For months no doubt the organisers have been meeting, planning, fundraising, and timetabling. I hope they get as much out of it all as we will.
If you are about this coming weekend. Pop into Tain and the area and see what’s on. Reserve a ticket and enjoy an event. Buy a couple of books and have a natter with a few other book lovers. Hear a story and purchase a painting. Enjoy what we hope will be a creative and book-loving atmosphere. And if you do see me, come over and say hello.
Hopefully, by the end of next weekend, I won’t be collapsed in a heap on a chair. If I am, however, I’m sure I will have a choice of a few good books purchased during the events to read, enjoy and relax by.
Blàs Roots in the Soil launch Friday 11.30 a.m. Pop-up Shop Tain