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Voluntary Action Shetland

Issue Number 265 - Hairst 2013

Knitting Circle at Böd of Gremista by Austin Taylor


New Shetlander Number 265 is on sale this week, with a wealth of reading material for the darkening nights – stories, articles and poetry.

Jim Taylor and John Cumming contribute strong stories in different styles. Taylor’s From Hell is a darkly comic, yet rather heart-warming tale of life among society’s misfits. Cumming’s Silver Bough gently but unflinchingly portrays a difficult father-son relationship, and the effects of age. Younger writer J.A.Green also deals with ageing and memories in his thoughtful Coming home.

The New Shetlander is always delighted to feature the winners of Shetland Library’s Young Writer of the Year competition; this year, they are all good story-tellers. Two appear in this issue. Iwan Macbride, joint senior Young Writer of 2013, writes The three bears and the Fish of Heaven, a haunting fable-style story, while Willum Tulloch, junior Young Writer, has produced a rollicking tale of computer-crazy trows, Da trows dat didna want tae geen tae schule.     

Articles cover a wide variety of subjects. A piece of intriguing new research by Robbie Arthur and Jenny Murray has resulted in A Pictish mystery solved! Photographs help explain the results. In Knitting and other codes, Joan Fraser brings to life the recent In the Loop 3.5 conference held as part of the Shetland Arts International Textile Festival. Laureen Johnson writes about the difficulties of building a new hall in Voe in 1947, just after the Second World War, when the authorities declared that such a building was Not essential at the present time.

Shetland: A Love Story, the recent book of nineteenth-century correspondence edited by Kay Wheatcroft, has now been translated into French. Christine De Luca was involved in helping the translators, and her reflections offer an insight into the painstaking process. Historian Willie Thomson’s article on Orkney islands with personal names will be interesting to many. Sheenagh Pugh, meanwhile, is currently one of the judges in a major national poetry competition, the Forward Prize, which will be finalised in October. In Gods, seas and heated arguments, she describes in entertaining fashion the work and the hazards involved.

Da wadder eye highlights summer events and community organisations past and present, while the editorial deals with some aspects of online comment. The poems in No 265 lead off with the work of James Sinclair, backed up by several other regular poets, and two who are new contributors. Three young writers appear as Waas Show winners, demonstrating the good standard of bairns’ dialect writing on the Westside. As usual, there are book reviews.

This issue of the New Shetlander could not appear without mention of our sadness at the recent loss of Lise Sinclair, to whom the centre pages are dedicated. They reflect her talent as a writer, and also show how widely she was appreciated in her too short lifetime. Her work, and our memories of her, will remain.

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