Friday, 22 February 2013

Readings and Readers

Advance warning of a couple of literary events taking place in Stromness next week.

On Tuseday 26th February  Orkney Arts Society have arranged a reading by author Meaghan Delahunt at the Pier Arts Centre starting at 7.30pm. Entry is £4, Concessions £3 and school students £1.

Meaghan Delahunt's first novel In the Blue House (Bloomsbury, 2001) won the regional Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in 2002, the Saltire Award for First Novel, a Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize. Her second novel  The Red Book (Granta, 2008) which is set in India during the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, was shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year Award for 2008.

Then on Wednesday 27th February the Stromness Library Reading Group will meet at 7pm to discuss The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. New Members are always very welcome to join us for an informal discussion over tea and coffee.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Bubbles Immortalised

Longstanding readers may remember our sadness when Bubbles the cat  met with an untimely end. She was a much loved visitor to the library, often to be found curled up on the issue desk - that's if she couldn't find a friendly lap to sleep on. 

One of her particular friends was the novelist Lucy Ellmann who was staying next door to the library while working on her novel. Bubbles made such an impression that she appears as a character in Lucy's latest work Mimi,  which was published this week by Bloomsbury

We are looking forward to reading Mimi, in which Bubbles appears as a stray cat, rescued from starvation in the Manhattan snow by the central character - plastic surgeon Harrison Hanafan. 

Picture: Phil Wilkinson from

Described by Lesley McDowell in the Herald  as 'an early contender for 2013's Book of the Year' McDowell goes on to say that in Mimi  -  'Lucy Ellmann once again turns the comic novel into a work of the highest art.'  

There is also an interview with Lucy in the Books section of today's edition of The Scotsman Magazine, which is available to read online

We hope to welcome Lucy and her husband and fellow writer Todd McEwen, back to the library when they next visit Orkney and look forward to sharing memories of our mutual friend, now immortalised in print -   Bubbles, the cat who loved books. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Poem's the Thing

Tonight sees the first meeting of our new poetry reading group - The Poem's the Thing -  led by Reader in Residence Alison Miller.

The group will meet on the second Wednesday of every month from 6pm - 7pm in the Stromness Library exhibition room - the Kirkwall group will meet on the same dates from 1pm-2pm in the Kirkwall Library. Come along to share your favourite poets and poems and discover new ones.

This week also sees the launch of  2013 Young Orkney Writers’ Prize for poetry run by Orkney Library and Archive and the George Mackay Brown Fellowship

The theme this year is Adventure and poems will be judged in two age groups, 8-11 years, and 12-15 years. Entry forms are available from both libraries or can be downloaded from the Orkney Library and Archive website

The closing date for entries is 16th March 2013 - so get writing!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

National Libraries Day

Happy National Libraries Day!

Celebrate by coming along to your local library today.  We have something for everyone from wifi access to the latest thrillers and it's all free!  But without you, we're nothing. 

Well actually, without you we're lonely folk sitting in a room full of books talking to ourselves - so please save us from that!  

Monday, 4 February 2013

No Knitting Tonight...

...At least not at Stromness Library.

Unfortunately due to the pretty dreadful forecast for storm force winds coming our way later today we've decided to cancel tonight's Yap and Yarn meeting.

A night at home in front of the fire with the knitting needles sounds like a good way to stay safe and warm in this weather.

 from Orkney Beachcombing

But you can still share your knitting triumphs and disasters on our Yap and Yarn Facebook page. Share your photos, tips and advice, and we'll keep an eye out for anyone needing help.

The Kirkwall Yap and Yarn group meets next Monday 11th February and we'll meet again in Stromness on 18th February - weather permitting. You'll find a full list of dates on the Yap and Yarn page of the Orkney Library website.

Saturday, 2 February 2013


We have a dreadful admission to make, we may have been cutting it bit fine opening up this morning.  But we hope that when you hear our excuse you may forgive us.

Yesterday we saw some exciting photographs on a friend's FaceBook timeline of a rare Gyrfalcon  which had been spotted near the Brig O' Waithe in Stenness. This impressive bird is the largest of the falcon family and usually resident on Arctic coasts, so despite the recent wintry weather it is rare to find one here in Orkney.

When we got a phone call this morning from someone in-the-know that the Gyrfalcon was still at large in a field just outside Stromness - and not far off our route to the library - we couldn't resist the chance to get a glimpse of this rare and distinguished visitor. The spot was easy to find as word had obviously spread quickly among the Orkney Twitchers and a collection of cars parked with varying degrees of care at the side of the main road led us to the correct spot. There sitting in the middle of a field was the Gyrfalcon, and very impressive it was too - although we're sure it would have been more impressive still had we remembered to pick up our binoculars as we rushed out the door! Luckily a local resident, who had come to investigate the source of the excitement, was better prepared and  let us have a look through his binoculars, so we did get a good view of the exotic visitor in the end.

I'm afraid we haven't been able to find any books describing the Gyrfalcon as its usual habitat puts it outside the range of most of our bird guide books. But to find out more about the world of Birdwatching we can offer you Everything you always wanted to know about birds ...but were afraid to ask!, A Bird in Bush: A Social History of Birdwatching and even How to be a bad birdwatcher .

Being in a rush to get to the library we didn't hang around for long but were still glad of our hand knitted woolly gloves and hat. We hope those dedicated Birdwatchers, who seemed to be setting up camp for the day, were equally well provided with knitted warmth - perhaps we should have invited them along to Yap & Yarn?!

If you, or someone you know, is a Birdwatcher in need of some knitted warmth, why not come along on Monday, 4th February, when the Yap & Yarn group will meet here in the Stromness Library from 5-7pm. Just drop-in at any point within those times and you'll find help and encouragement with your project whatever it may be. If you're stuck for inspiration we have loads of books of patterns you can borrow and if you still can't find what you are looking for we can even help you get online where you will find a wealth of patterns, many available for free, on sites such as Ravelry. We came across the following pattern for Mobile Mittens which might be just the thing for cold hands which still need to work the focus on the binoculars!

by mariadenmark  Flickr