Renowned writer Donald S Murray returned to his roots in North Lewis yesterday (Friday February 8th) to give a creative writing class at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis – now housed in the former Cross school which Donald attended as a youngster.
Greeting many friends and former neighbours in the centre’s temporary café beforehand, he pointed out that he last remembered being in that building when he was a pupil and it was the school canteen.
Since then he has spent many decades as a teacher in the Outer Hebrides and Shetland, before finally making writing into his fulltime occupation.
He will be in Stornoway on Tuesday to talk about his most recent novel ‘As The Women Lay Dreaming’, exploring the effect the loss of the Iolaire had both on him and the Lewis community. The talk will be held in the Education room at Museum nan Eilean.
The book – which has sold in its thousands since being published toward the end of last year – tells the fictional tale of Tormod Morrison on board HMY Iolaire when it smashed into rocks and sank, killing 201 servicemen on the very last leg of their long journey home from war. For Tormod – a man with artistry in his fingertips – the disaster would mark him indelibly. Two decades later, Alasdair and Rachel are sent to the Isle of Lewis to live with Tormod in his traditional ‘black-house’ home, a world away from the Glasgow of their earlier years. Their grandfather is kind, compassionate, but still deeply affected by the Iolaire shipwreck – both by the selfless heroism and the desperate tragedy that he witnessed.
The talk will be held in the Education Room at Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle.
Tuesday 12 February - 7 - 8.30pm. Museum nan Eilean. £5/£4
Donald Murray will also be using the occasion to launch his new website – http://www.donaldsmurray.co.uk – which has been developed by Intermedia Services (Stornoway) Ltd, the publishers of welovestornoway.com