Isle of Man News - POSTED Tue 27-09-2016

Manx Litfest celebrates Celtic Stories, Myths and Fairy Tales

by MR

Celtic literature will be celebrated with a night of storytelling, myths and fairy tales at Peel Masonic Club on Saturday, October 1.

The event – Celtic Stories, Myths and Fairy Tales – is part of Manx Litfest 2016 and is being sponsored by Isle of Man satellite firm ManSat Ltd.

It will feature visiting Celtic authors Dr Sharon Blackie and Kevin MacNeil, in conversation with lecturer Dr Catriona Mackie, along with readings of myths and poetry, with some live Celtic music for good measure.

The night marks an initiative by Manx Litfest to develop a Celtic theme within each festival. Other events within the six-day Litfest, which gets underway on Tuesday, September 27, include a talk on the life and writing of Sophia Morrison (2.00pm – House of Manannan – Thursday, September 29), a writing workshop being run by Sharon (now sold out) and an event on the afternoon of Friday, September 30 when Sharon will talk about her new book, If Women Rose Rooted (2.30pm at St John’s Mill).

Festival Director John Quirk explained: ‘The idea for developing a mini “Celtic Fest” within Litfest came about following the visit to Litfest 2014 by Shetland-based author Donald Murray, who sat on a panel discussion about the Celtic influence in literature, alongside Catriona and other IOM scholars. Donald suggested that, given the Island’s location in the centre of the Celtic nations, we could build on the idea in future years. The event at Peel Masonic Club should be a fascinating evening’s entertainment of talks, stories, myths and music, all rooted deep in the Celtic way of life.’

Sharon Blackie is a writer, psychologist and mythologist, specialising in Celtic Studies, whose book If Women Rose Rooted interweaves myth and memoir. At one time a crofter on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Sharon now lives in the hills of Donegal. The founder of Earthlines magazine, she says her experiences on the westernmost edges of the Celtic fringe have given her a unique perspective on the psychology of belonging, and our relationship with place.

Born in the Outer Hebrides, Kevin now lives in London, but hasn’t lost that Celtic influence. A novelist, poet, playwright, journalist and writing tutor, his work includes Struileag: Shore to Shore, a collection celebrating the Gaelic diaspora, and These Islands, We Sing, a collection of poetry from the Scottish islands. Kevin’s latest novel is The Brilliant & Forever, which is based around a short story festival on a remote Scottish island, and which he will talk about at the final event of Litfest 2016, the Short Story Slam at Noa Bakehouse on Sunday, October 2.

Chris Stott, CEO of ManSat, said: ‘Storytelling is at the very heart of our culture - it is what defines us and gives us identity. We are thrilled to be sponsoring this evening at Litfest and to see the festival doing so well. I'm still scared by the stories of the Moddey Doo... and in the nicest possible way, I hope you are too!’

Tickets for Celtic Stories, Myths and Fairy Tales cost £7.50 and are available from the Villa Gaiety box office – along with other ticketed Litfest events – at or by calling 600555.

To view the full Manx Litfest 2016 programme, visit:

Manx Litfest is a registered charity (#1100) and receives financial assistance from Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin, along with several corporate sponsors and private individuals.

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