Author Liz Macrae Shaw from Skye will read from her novel Love and Music Will Endure, based on the life of Màiri Mhòr nan Òran, the renowned bard and campaigner, on Thursday 20th October at 5.30pm at Stornoway Library.
This reading, which takes place during the week of the National Mod in Stornoway, will be followed by an opportunity for discussion and book signing.
Màiri Mhòr nan Òran, poet and political campaigner was born into a crofting family in 19th century Skye. Her powerful voice was only unleashed in middle age when she was falsely accused of theft. She poured her rage and despair into songs about the plight of her fellow Highlanders who were being driven from their homes. Through force of character she overcame the barriers of background, class and gender to become their champion and inspiration.
Finally she had to face up to the failures of the campaign for crofters' rights and the disillusionment of the returning exile. So her life reflected the truth of the Gaelic proverb, which translates as 'When the world comes to an end, only love and music will endure'.
The Islands Book Trust is keen to promote the cultural importance of the Mòd and as such this event is free and everyone is most welcome to attend.
Liz Macrae Shaw’s mother was from the Isle of Skye but lived much of her adult life in England after marrying an Englishman. Liz enjoyed spending all her summer holidays on the island, staying with her grandparents. She loved listening to Gaelic songs and was intrigued to learn about Mairi Mhor, both as a bard and a political campaigner. Liz now lives in Portree and feels very fortunate to have returned to her roots.
Reviewing the book, Aonghas Macneacail said: ‘To call this a historical novel, despite its being rooted in history, would be to place it in a straitjacket: like its central character, it overflows with spirit, and carries the reader along on its compelling tide of narrative. This is a book rich in detail, beautifully observed, itself poetic, which allows us to meet a great (in more ways than one) woman, the people, grand and small, whom she influenced and those who, for good or ill, shaped her view on life.’
Urras Leabhraichean nan Eilean - The Islands Book Trust was formed in 2002 with two main aims: To further understanding of the history of Scottish islands in their wider Celtic and Nordic context; and to generate economic, social, and cultural benefits for local communities in the islands.