From Orkney to the Caribbean, Shetland to Canada at the Orkney Book Festival 2017

Readings with Jane Harris, Jocelyn Rendall, Robert Alan Jamieson, Harry Giles.

We like to think of ourselves as good folk, but Orkney, like the rest of Scotland, sent forth some of its sons to participate in and profit from the trades that used enslaved people to harvest its products, sugar and tobacco. Orkney men, and occasionally a woman, also took part in the colonisation of Canada.

In this evening of two halves, Jane Harris will read from and talk about her newly published novel, Sugar Money, which brings to life a harrowing series of events in 1765 involving a group of slaves in the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Grenada.

And Jocelyn Rendall from Papay, will read from her ongoing research into Orkney’s connections with the slave trade.

Then there will be an Interval with music too.

The second half of the evening begins with Robert Alan Jamieson reading from his latest novel, macCloud Falls, set in British Columbia, Canada, in which an Edinburgh bookseller, recovering from cancer, goes in search of a Shetland ancestor and discovers that the land rights disputes between indigenous peoples and colonists are very much alive.

Earlier this year Harry Giles travelled across Canada with Métis writer Katherena Vermette. Harry’s discovery of a form of creole with distinct roots in Orkney dialect, spoken in Manitoba until the mid 20th Century, raised interesting questions for their work about the role of Orcadians in the development of that country.

Saturday 11 November at 7.30pm in St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall

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