Former Home Secretary takes part in Hebridean Book Festival

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Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, The Lewis Trilogy author Peter May and Gruffallo creator Julia Donaldson are just some of the line up for this year’s Faclan Book Festival.

The hugely successful event has yet another rich and diverse programme with the theme of Pilgrimage and Journey.

Taking part will be:

• Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson on This Boy, his acclaimed memoir of an impoverished and arduous childhood in the 50s and 60s.

• International best-selling journalist Jon Ronson will take us on an unnerving Journey Through the Madness Industry in The Psychopath Test.

• Maverick cultural commentator Jonathan Meades reprises and expands on his provocative take on Lewis & Harris: The Isle of Rust.

• Legendary maritime explorer Tim Severin, relives The Brendan Voyage from 1976 with the film and book of his astonishing trans-Atlantic expedition via the Hebrides, Faroes and Iceland in a leather boat.

• Acclaimed film maker Timothy Neat, presents 3 of his exceptional films The Summer Travellers and Rathad nan Ceard (about Travellers) accompanied by Norman Maclean; and Hallaig The Poetry and Landscape of Sorley Maclean.

• National Museums’ expert on Bog Bodies Trevor Cowie’s talk begins an Arnish moor in 1964.

• While Cambridge Fellow Dr Carl Watkins opens his book The Undiscovered Country: Journeys Among the Dead, on our eternal relationship with death.

• Dr Bernard Meehan the Keeper of The Book of Kells, created on Iona and now housed at Trinity College, Dublin, will give an illustrated lecture on one of the glories of civilisation.

• Celebrated author of The Lewis Trilogy Peter May, with photographer David Wilson, present their collaboration Hebrides that features sites from the novels.

• Debut novelist Elisabeth Gifford introduces her intriguing book The Sea House

• Ian Stephen makes the connection between navigation and storytelling and Human Ecologist Alistair McIntosh explores Pilgrimage and Island Spirituality.

• The children’s programme features no less than the Children’s Laureate and Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson and Katie Morag creator Mairi Hedderwick.

Director Roddy Murray said “We are privileged that some of the most estimable people in their field have agreed to join us. We will accompany them as they travel into darkness, into madness, into the past, into the woods, beyond the veil of death, out of poverty and when the road home has vanished. Within the broad sweep of this year’s theme are the choices we make, the paths we take, the forks in the road, the footsteps we follow and the lessons we learn.”

Faclan is supported by the Islands Book Trust and a Creative Scotland Festivals award.

All details with links are at the website www.faclan.org. For further information contact roddy@lanntair.com