Friday, 29 June 2012

Story Lab - Summer Reading Challenge

Well that's the schools finished for the summer which means it's time to launch this year's Summer Reading Challenge!

Children can sign-up for free and receive their own 3D Story Lab model where they can keep track of their progress. Help the Story Lab characters find the three lost items, by collecting stickers for every two books read, you will  need to read a total of six books to find all three items and complete the challenge.

As well as the stickers to collect you can join in the fun on the Story Lab website, where you can create your own profile; take part in the competition to win a lap-top computer by finishing a story started by top authors Jacqueline Wilson and Andy Stanton; use the Book Sorter to help you decide which book to read next; share book reviews and recommendations with other readers; and meet the Story Lab characters and find out more about their adventures.

To find out more about the Story Lab Challenge and the characters, take a look at the Story Lab trailer

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Magnetic North

In our look at St Magnus Festival events we forgot to mention a performance, which although not taking place in Stromness, does have Stromness connections.

Erland Cooper who grew up in Stromness and whose parents still live here, is part of the band The Magnetic North along with Simon Tong (ex Verve and Gorillaz) and Hannah Peel. They will be performing their debut album Orkney Symphony of the Magnetic North on Thursday 28th June in St Magnus Catherdral at 7.30pm.

The album is inspired by the landscape and legends of Orkney and was recorded locally on location and in Erland's family home in Stromness. It features contributions by the Stromabank Pub Choir from Hoy who will join the band for Thursday's performance.

Here is the video of  The Magnetic North's track Stromness from their album.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

St Magnus Festival

Tomorrow sees the start of the St Magnus International Festival 2012. With lots of exciting events, from a production of Carmen at the Orkney Auction Mart to the chance to join in with the CLIC Sargent sponsored Street Conga, as usual there is something to suit all tastes.

Festival events take place in many venues through out the islands but we thought you might like to hear about those taking place in Stromness. These begin on Friday 22nd June with an event at an exciting new festival venue,when the Ness Battery hosts It Ain't Half Cold Mum. This is the first venue on a tour by a concert party of singers, a magician and musicians who will re-visit the haunts of the ENSA troupes of the Second World War, with a show which promises to take the audience back to the 1940's.

On Saturday there is a reading by Festival Poet Alice Oswald in Stromness Parish Church at 11am, and at 2.30pm there is a Celebrity Recital by mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers, accompanied by James Baillieu on piano in Stromness Town Hall. Then at 5pm in the Stromness Academy Lecture Theatre there is A Johnsmas Foy entitled The Young Ones, performed by young folk from Orkney. Then on Sunday 24th June in the Stromness Town Hall the Aronowitz Ensemble will perform works by Judith Weir, Korngold and Shostakovich at 2.30pm.

But perhaps the event we are most excited about will take place on Sunday at 4.30pm in the Stromness Hotel when the participants from the Orkney Writers' Course will read from the work they have produced during the course; which starts on Thursday 21st and is directed by Pam Beasant and Jen Hadfield. The event is called "Poems with tunes, tea and cake" - how could we resist all our favourite things at one event?!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Author of the Month for June - Alan Warner

Our featured author for June is Scottish novelist Alan Warner, whose latest novel The Deadman's Pedal has just been published. While we wait for our copy to come into stock we though this would be a great opportunity to re-visit Warner's earlier works, and perhaps introduce him to some of you for the first time.

Born in Oban in 1964, Alan Warner might be identified as part of the new generation of Scottish writers, including Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks, and James Kelman, bringing readers gritty depictions of contemporary Scottish life. But while those other, arguably better known authors, tend to focus on Scotland's urban landscape, Warner turns his attention to the modern rural experience.

With his fictional setting of The Port recognisably based on his birthplace of Oban, Warner's characters dispel any remaining romantic ideas of the rural idyll, as they contend with the same issues and tensions of the modern world as their urban counterparts.

But amongst the sex and drugs and rave culture references Warner manages to weave a thread that connects his often complex, and occasionally insane, characters with the landscape they inhabit. His prose is rich with dark humour and linguistic texture, blending the poetic with the profane, and modern colloquialisms with traditional dialect words.

While perhaps not as widely read as his contemporaries Alan Warner has still received critical acclaim and recognition for his work. -  Morvern Callar (1995), won the Somerset Maugham Award; These Demented Lands (1997), won the Encore Award; The Sopranos (1998), won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award, while its sequel The Stars in the Bright Sky (2010) was long listed for The Man Booker Prize.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee Celebrations

Time to remind you that the Stromness Library  will be closed on Tuesday 5th June due to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.

But never fear, for the good folk of Stromness have planned lots of fun things to fill the day, and help you to celebrate in right Royal style.

At 11am there will be a Scavenger Hunt for all ages, followed by a tea party fit for a Queen from 12 noon until 2pm. Then in the afternoon there will be two children's parties, the first from 2.30pm-3.30pm for children in nursery - primary 2 , and a second from 3.30pm-5pm for children in primary 3 - Primary 7.

All events will be in the Stromness Town Hall and folk are encouraged to wear a splash of red, white or blue for fun.

Tea, cake and a scavenger hunt? How could we resist?!