Friday 2nd – Friday 30th November 2018
2018 Book Week Events Jacquetta Megarry: Rucksack Guides On 18 November, a sunny Sunday afternoon, around 35 people gathered at Colinton Library to attend Jacquetta Megarry’s illustrated talk on Rucksack Readers and the walks she has done.  There are now thirty- seven weatherproof guidebooks to adventurous walks worldwide and titles include the West Highland Way which was the first long distance walk that Jacquetta had done.   She had a guide book for this walk but it proved to be inadequate for the weather – falling apart after getting wet!   This experience led to her subsequently writing and publishing guidebooks that were weather-proof and easier to use when walking. We were amazed at Jacquetta’s determination and stamina; she has summited Mount Kilimanjaro four times by different routes!  Although Jacquetta feels that anyone can do these long distance treks, she began at the age of fifty and regards herself as overweight and not very fit, I think we all left with a high regard for this remarkable and industrious woman. Murray Armstrong: The Rebel that Scotland Forgot Scotland has its own forgotten political rebel and martyr: Muir, a young lawyer from Lanarkshire, petitioned for proper elections and  male suffrage in the  1790s and was transported to Botany Bay for fourteen years for his pains.  A well-attended event heard former Headteacher of Currie High, Eric Melvin, and ex-Guardian journalist Murray Armstrong discuss the story of Thomas Muir. After Muir’s trial for  sedition   a corrupt jury found him guilty and reactionary  Judge Braxfield gave him the outrageous sentence.  He escaped and after many adventures reached revolutionnary Paris but he died of wounds, aged just thirty four. Liz Beevers: Thomas Muir walk Murray accompanied us the next day on the Thomas Muir Walk from the Castle to Holyrood Parliament and added a great deal to our knowledge.  Led by Liz Beevers the group explored places associated with Thomas Muir’s rise, fall and trials in 1792-3.   The group of twenty visited James Court, Parliament Hall, the Martyr’s Monument and finally enjoyed a guided visit to the Holyrood Parliament in a bid to work out “Can you crush a Radical?   “Maybe” was our answer.  “But not his ideas” Blair Bowman: Reflections on the Water of Life  While there was only a small audience for Blair’s talk, we were engaged by his description of how he more or less accidentally fell into whisky and became a founder member of the Whisky Society at Aberdeen University, which then became its fastest-growing club.  Blair’s Whisky Tube Map provided an interesting perspective by grouping by flavour rather than region and, fired by enthusiasm, we came to the proof (in more senses than one) in the form of two free tastings.  Even those who had said at the start that they were not whisky fans, by the end were swilling appreciatively.  Janet Dyer: Plants on Paper: Flower Painting or Botanical Illustration?  Botanical   art   perhaps   reached   its   peak   in   the   superb   florilegia   of   the   17 th    century,   but   even   today   it   continues,   despite   photography   and   microscopy,   and we   have   locally   one   of   its   most   effective   practitioners   in   Janet   Dyer.      Janet   gave   a   packed   house   an   appreciation   of   the   task   of   the   botanical   illustrator   to depict   the   diagnostic   characteristics   of   a   plant   in   accurate   detail,   which   is   very   important   in   plant   classification   and   identification.      We   gained   insights   into the   discipline   and   practice   -   and   practice   -   and   practice   -   involved   in   her   training,   and   her   work   as   a   line   artist   in   the   Herbarium   of   Oxford   University, accompanying   botanists   to   Kew   and   the   British   Museum,   and   later   illustrating   for   botanists   in   the   Herbarium   at   Edinburgh   Botanical   Gardens.      While   it may seem a specialist subject, an absorbed audience now has a deep awareness of the continuing value of this field of study. Jennifer Morag Henderson: Josephine Tey Jennifer Henderson came from Inverness to talk about her biography of fellow Invernessian Josephine Tey.  A somewhat mysterious writer of mysteries and dead now for over sixty years, Tey’s books have never been out of print. Jennifer Henderson’s lively, illustrated talk showed us exactly why. Prize giving ceremony: The winners of this year’s writing competition gathered in Currie High School’s library on Saturday 24 November to hear from their judges the poems that had been created.  “Rebel” was the theme and all six winning poems were read out to the audience of parentsw, friends and other relatives of the aspiring authors.  The prizes, both monetary and in the form of a certificate, were awarded by Currie and Balerno rotary Club President, Roger Thom.  This writing competition is sponsored by the local rotarians to encourage young writers in our communities. Val McDermid The Pentlands Book Festival presented a conversation between the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid, and the Head of Reader Development at the Scottish Book Trust, Philippa Cochrane.  Philippa, as a fan of Val, through questions like how Val gets her inspirations for her plots to what was the way she started to enjoy books provided the Queen with the chance to tell a series of funny stories in the gripping one hour of entertainment. Many of the  large audience went away with a bargain book of Val’s from Blackwell’s supply.