BookMark Book Festival

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BookMark Book Festival

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Memories Are Made Of This

11th Nov 2013

So BOOKMARK 2013 is now over, leaving in its wake a mosaic of memories for organisers, authors and audiences alike. 

Liz Lochhead signs her books

Liz Lochhead signs her books

Christine Findlay, BOOKMARK chair, talks of looking out at the almost tropical rain outside, and hugging the cosiness of the contrasting interior; of the rows of absorbed faces, caught in the web of magic woven by the individual authors, each one so different, and yet all capable of weaving threads of narrative using different beads of language; of her two grandchildren being confronted by the Gruffalo - the five year old bursting into tears while the three year old feigned coolness; of Blogger Briana, on her knees at the feet of the Scots Makar, dictaphone in hand, drinking in every word, oblivious to the social chat and chink of glasses round about her; and of the cosy room upstairs where tots to ten year olds were caught up in the wonderment of words, rhythm, rhyme and images, both in Scots and English.
Here Tracy Gellatly takes over, describing how Canadian author Joan Lennon spent a wonderful hour with a captivated audience of fifteen children and seven adults; how the inspiration for Joan's ferret stories sprang from a memory of her own - that of Leonardo da Vinci's Portrait of Cecilia Gallerand; and how Joan encouraged the children to draw on their dreams to create stories of their own. 
Up in Kirkmichael Traveller story-teller Jess Smith spoke of the importance of keeping traditional memories alive, an ambition which is realised in the books she writes. She also spoke of her delight in being in the area as, like Proust's madeleines, the venue had elicited fresh memories of tales from her childhood - of the drovers, the whisky stillers and the nefarious activities of the reivers. 
But the most eloquent memory was perhaps created by Liz Lochhead at the opening event. During her talk she had read her poem In Praise of Old Vinyl, describing how many of her memories of the 1960s were captured in their grooves. Afterwards, a guest from Dundee told her that a great friend of his had run a record shop in the sixties and that he was going to his birthday party the next day - whereupon Liz gave him her own handwritten copy of the poem as a present for the friend. Now that's the kind of memory that is appreciated by far more than the recipient alone. 


Nothing could have been better at all with the event day and my stay in Blairgowrie. Everyone I met was kind and thoughtful, including the audience.

Janice Galloway (author)

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