Il­lu­mi­nat­ing The Dark­est Dawn

The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

The He­bridean Book Fes­ti­val, Fa­clan, re­turns to Lewis from Oc­to­ber 31 to Novem­ber 3, in­clud­ing the launch of The Dark­est Dawn, a new book mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the Io­laire tragedy, in which more than 200 men from Lewis and Har­ris lost their lives only a few me­tres from shore when the yacht car­ry­ing them home from the First World War was hit by a fierce storm, writes Sandy Neil.

The launch of The Dark­est Dawn – the most de­fin­i­tive and com­pre­hen­sive book to date about the tragedy – is one of a se­ries of spe­cial events at An Lan­ntair through­out win­ter 2018 to mark the an­niver­sary of an event that had a pro­found im­pact on the is­lands.

Fa­clan is one of the flag­ship cul­tural events at An Lan­ntair in Stornoway, and its uniquely dra­matic lo­ca­tion draws au­di­ences and top-level authors from across the UK.

Fa­clan 2018’s line-up of authors – many of them re­flect­ing on this year’s fes­ti­val theme of Fear – in­cludes Peter May and Mal­colm Mackay, both dis­cussing He­bridean Noir; Sir Christo­pher Frayling on the 200th an­niver­sary of Mary Shel­ley’s Franken­stein (fol­low­ing a screen­ing of the clas­sic 1931 film); Fin­lay Macleod on the true his­tory of a semi-myth­i­cal 19th cen­tury bo­gey­man who stalked the moors of Lewis and Har­ris; and Louise Welsh, who will re­flect on the role of fear in her work. In a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach to fear, Kathryn Man­nix will ex­plore the var­i­ous taboos around death.

Other high­lights in­clude a Satur­day night ap­pear­ance by lead­ing spo­ken word per­former Hol­lie McNish, a screen­ing of vam­pire clas­sic Nosferatu with a live pi­ano score by Peter Ur­peth, a voy­age into the un­der­world with com­poser Jes­sica Danz; and a trib­ute to the late Gaelic writer, play­wright and sto­ry­teller Chrisella Ross.

In ad­di­tion to the packed pro­gramme of au­thor and mu­si­cal events, there will be day­time film screen­ings through­out the fes­ti­val, also fo­cus­ing on the theme of Fear – Psy­cho, Vil­lage of the Damned, The Cabi­net of Dr Cali­gari, Rose­mary’s Baby, Schal­cken the Painter, The Babadook, and clas­sic ghost story Whis­tle and I’ll Come to You, which this year marks its 50th an­niver­sary.

This year’s pro­gramme will also in­clude a new Fa­clan Fringe – full de­tails to be an­nounced in the com­ing weeks – which is sup­ported by LEADER fund­ing and is part of a brand new pro­gramme of win­ter fes­ti­vals that will con­tinue at An Lan­ntair un­til July 2020. There will also be a pro­gramme of events for schools, Fa­clan Òga, run­ning through­out the fes­ti­val.

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