The Isle of Skye’s busy summer tourist season shows no sign of slackening as another group of visitors is set to descend for the Skye Book Festival at the end of the month.
One of the headlining events at the Festival brings to the island yet another special and unique treat. Graeme Macrae Burnet, winner of Author of the Year 2017 Sunday Herald Culture Awards and author of His Bloody Project, has told organisers that it is “particularly exciting” for him “to speak at an event so close to the setting of His Bloody Project as I expect the conditions under which the crofters live in the book will be of particular interest to the audience there.”
The story of a 17-year-old Highland boy named Roddy Macrae who committed a triple homicide around 1869 brings modern literature close to home for a Skye audience as the scene is set in Culduie, Applecross.
Graeme Macrae Burnet was born and brought up in Kilmarnock but his mother was from Lochcarron, just across the water from Skye. His Bloody Project was short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize in October last year and has now sold more copies than any of the other books nominated.
Macrae Burnet added: “Many of the incidents in the narrative were directly inspired by things I came across in the course of my research into the lives of Highland crofting communities in the 19th century.”
Macrae Burnet continued: “The event in Skye will be unique as it will be chaired by my uncle, the critic and academic, Alasdair DF Macrae, who was brought up in Lochcarron.” Alasdair Macrae, now retired as Senior Lecturer in English Studies at the University of Stirling where he taught for over thirty years, has written a literary life of W.B. Yeats and his book on the life and work of the prolific poet Norman MacCaig, published in 2011, is recognised as a classic of its kind. He has also written extensively on modern poetry. His friendship with the leading poets of the age has seen him share stages with, among others, Sorley Maclean and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney.
Skye Book Festival Chairman, Donald MacDonald said “it is great news for people living on Skye as well as for our visitors that they can see this unique ‘nephew and uncle’ combination on stage together for the first time and the response all-round has been extremely heartening.”
Graeme Macrae Burnet is “looking forward to hearing directly from readers how the book has been received.” He joins Ian Rankin and many other leading writers at the Festival. The presence of international bestselling authors ensures busy sessions at the 3-day Book Festival at The Aros Centre in Portree for which organisers are experiencing record early ticket sales.
Macrae Burnet will appear at the Book Festival on Thursday 31 August at 7:30pm.