The third Write Highland Hoolie attracted people from as far afield as Scandinavia and Italy.  Best selling author Barry Hutchison, Scots Magazine editor, Robert Wight and the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay held events and workshops in Mallaig High School on Friday morning. Jackie Kay’s birthday was celebrated in the staff room before she captivated her young audience. Later she spent time with senior pupils during The Scots Magazine editor Robert Wight’s feature writing workshop.


The main event opened with a dram provided by the Ardnamurchan Distillery as Marc Ellington related tales from the book, Distilling and Whisky Smuggling in Scotland.


On Saturday, as Rum’s peaks appeared mistily through low cloud, specialist deer vet John Fletcher revealed many mysteries of red deer and their fascinating history both on and off the island.


Jackie Kay read from her numerous literary works, and her latest poetry collection – Bantam, and made us laugh and cry with her thought-provoking stories and shrewd observations on life, from the extraordinary to the mundane.


Val McDermid’s session, in conversation with the literary critic and author Stuart Kelly, was a personal, amusing and candid insight into the mind of a writer whose award-winning crime novels keeps her burgeoning readership impatient for the next bestseller.


Once again The Scots Magazine was the Hoolie’s media partner. Its award-winning editor, Robert Wight held a second fascinating and informative feature-writing workshop, whilst Kate Leiper’s charmingly illustrated talk for the younger audience was a lively journey through the realms of beasts both real and imagined. This interactive session centred around her latest book written by Karine Polwart A Wee Bird Was Watching.


Polly Pullar’s inspiring presentation about her new book A Richness of Martens revealed much of the natural world of Ardnamurchan as well as much about the mischievous pine marten. Sally Magnusson’s event based on her debut novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, was a heartbreaking historical tale of Iceland’s Westman Islands and the people who were taken as slaves to Algeria. Talking to Stuart Kelly this emotional history gave another sellout audience much to reflect upon.


Appropriately on Armistice Day, Stuart Kelly’s thoughts on religion, based on his book, The Minister and the Murderer opened Sunday’s programme. In a sensitive and highly amusing exposé, Mallaig High School’s English teacher, Mandy Tevendale skilfully interviewed the interviewer. The author reflected on the events of 100 years ago and following a minute’s silence, piper Colin Graham played Flowers of the Forest.


Paul Murton whose Grand Tours and numerous Scottish travelogues have justly made him one of the most popular presenters on television chatted candidly as he revealed more fascinating stories relating to his first book, The Hebrides.


Angus MacDonald talked to Breege Smyth of Oban FM about his new novel, We fought for Ardnish, an emotional story of war and its effects on a remote Argyllshire community.  


Bookbug made two appearances over the weekend and the finale, a prize giving for the winners of the Hoolie’s annual schools’ writing competition was judged by Robert Wight and was well attended by young literary hopefuls and their families.


A Write Highland Hoolie takes places again in the West Highland Hotel on 8-10 November 2019