Ullapool gets ready for literary invasion

Tormod Caimbeul (Norman Campbell) from Ness will be reading from his latest novel An Druim bho Thuath at the Ullapool Book Festival.
Tormod Caimbeul (Norman Campbell) from Ness will be reading from his latest novel An Druim bho Thuath at the Ullapool Book Festival.

THERE are just two weeks to go until the start of the eighth annual Ullapool Book Festival – so it’s not too late to plan a trip across the Minch for what the Festival’s Honorary President, writer James Robertson, has called ‘the most intelligent and friendliest weekend of the year’.

The Festival, held in Ullapool Village Hall from May 11th to 13th, has once again attracted an impressive collection of outstanding literary (and music) names; three of whom hail from the Isle of Lewis.

Tormod Caimbeul (Norman Campbell) from Ness will be reading from his latest novel ‘An Drium bho Thuath’ in a session with Martainn Mac An T-Saoir (Martin Macintyre) who will also be reading from his latest Gaelic novel ‘Air A Thoir’.

This session marks a first for the Ullapool Book Festival, being conducted in Gaelic with simultaneous English translation via headphones for non-Gaelic speakers and as such presents a rare opportunity to hear works by an exclusively Gaelic writer.

As previous commented on in The Herald newspaper, Norman Campbell writes only in Gaelic and remains totally un-translated: “He is thus one of the great literary secrets of monoglot Scotland: one of the finest writers we have, in any language, yet unknown to almost 99% of the reading public.”

Lewis scribe Kevin MacNeil will be leading a Writers’ Workshop at the Festival and on the Friday night (May 11th) will be joined by singer/songwriter Willie Campbell from North Tolsta to perform tracks from their new CD – ‘Kevin MacNeil and Willie Campbell are Visible from Space’ – which will be launched the following night in Stornoway.

Ullapool Book Festival chair, Joan Michael, said: “I’m so looking forward to having Willie sing at UBF. I first saw him perform live at last year’s HebCelt with Open Day Rotation and was absolutely blown away.

“And to have him along with festival favourite Kevin MacNeil is a real bonus.”

A further Lewis connection to the Ullapool Book Festival also comes through Proiseact nan Ealan’s Leabhar Mor na Gaidhlig (Great Book of Gaelic) exhibition which will be on display.

And Aonghas MacNeacail, one of the key contributors to this project which links commissioned artwork with specifically selected Gaelic poetry from the 6th to 21st Centuries, will be reading some of the poems at a Friday session.

Add to all this some of Scotland’s finest writers and poets and you have an unmissable weekend – award winning novelist and poet John Burnside, literary crime writer Louise Welsh, top Scots writer Alan Spence reading from his novel-in-progress, and award winning poet Robin Robertson – alongside Scottish Opera with a Little Bit of Tosca and so much more at the Ullapool Book Festival.

Tickets for UBF are available through the Festival website at www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk, however if you do not have internet access, you can write to Ullapool Book Festival, PO Box 27, Ullapool, IV26 2WY for a programme or phone 07754835935.