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Nigg Book Fair

The above poster arrived in my email last week. September seemed a long time away when I was sitting in July. But this blog will be up on the second of August. Suddenly September is only a month away.

The Nigg Book Fair is in its fourth year. This year I may make it in person. Normally I have family commitments on that particular weekend.

Last year’s event was online. It was one of my first attempts at anything in the new virtual world of work. How times have changed. From committee meetings to keeping up with family, delivering workshops to festivals, all these things and more have taken place via the internet.

Before 2020 the thought of learning more about using the web and having additional software to navigate filled me with dread.

Today, I confidently access Zoom (ok, I admit all I do is click on a link.. still, even that would have felt a step too far before) and other forms of video linking. I am connecting with people from all over the world. It has led to new friends and opened the prospect of meeting up with other writers.

It is far easier to quietly slip into a meeting and not be noticed on a video link. You can mix with other writers, without physically being there. For those of a shyer disposition, it allows for this interaction without having to leave their homes.

I suppose that is both a good and bad thing. Now it will feel strange going to anything in person. But the world is opening up a little at any rate.

Holidaymakers are already here in the Highlands. Traffic feels as busy as it once was. I confess I still haven’t been to many shops out with my local co-op. Never a real shopper this past year has allowed me to indulge in ignoring shopping trips. One day I know I will have to venture forth but not yet awhile.

I did manage a trip through to Ullapool. A mixture of a day out, a bookshop visit and to see family. We even ate out! Bosie the Dandie Dinmont managed to force herself to come with us. I suspect that may have had something to do with the lovely cooking smells and the optimistic hope of some food going her way. She was right of course. Food somehow slipped of people’s plates into her waiting mouth. Going out with the humans maybe isn’t as bad as she thought after all.

I am looking forward to the Nigg Book Fair. Although the saying, ‘a writer should always have a pen at the ready’ may need to change to a more appropriate version. Perhaps; everyone should always have a mask at the ready, may better reflex the times.

I wonder how many others there will be who have barely been out shopping or to any events since last March. Will we have lost some of our ability to chat idly or indulge in light conversation?

And what of personal space? No hugging when you see an old friend. No clasping of hands as you are introduced to potential new ones. For some, this comes as a relief but for many others, the lack of physical contact is like missing a part of your soul. A deep longing inside to connect with another person has become something many now live with daily.

Myself, I am looking forward to the chance of meeting some of my readers. By then I will have had two new books out. Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra came out in April. I have yet to present this in person to any schools, preschool groups, or libraries.

Blàs, Roots in the Soil will be out by then too. It is the follow on from Blàs, of the Highlands. Both can be read separately but the core of the village itself and the characters are much the same. The story is about acceptance of who we are and the love of community. All built around a women’s friendship group. I love the way the age range, from late twenties to Mary in her eighties, better reflect real-life female friendships.

I enjoy writing so much about the characters both in my Gaelic children’s books and my Blàs books that more will be written about them all. Or at least that is what I am hoping for this coming year.

Until then though I am going to enjoy an in-person event. Hopefully, I can meet up with some fellow authors and writers. Find out about their latest works, drink some nice tea and eat home baking. So, if you are free that Saturday head out to the Nigg Community Hall. I hope I might see some of you there if you are in the area.

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