An event commemorating the Iolaire tragedy at the Edinburgh International Book Festival has sold out within a day of tickets going on sale – to the astonishment of Stornoway author and historian Malcolm Macdonald.

Malcolm was co-author – with the late Donald John Macleod – of the authoritative book The Darkest Dawn, published in November last year by Stornoway-based publishers Acair as part of the centenary commemorations of the tragedy.

The Edinburgh book festival, which starts on August 10th – includes a special event of conversation and music with Malcolm and with Catriona Murray, featuring readings from Donald Martin and Donald W Morrison and songs from Joan Morrison.

Malcom said today: “I was totally taken aback that all 280 tickets for 13th August at the Edinburgh Book Festival were sold in just one day. This interest, however, demonstrates the strong emotions felt a century after the loss of HMY Iolaire.”

The Iolaire event takes place on the same day as events featuring cyclist and children’s author Chris Hoy and Scottish icon Alexander McCall Smith. Tickets for both those events are still available. Find the full programme at

The picture shows Malcolm Macdonald (front right) with the editorial team at Acair.