Introduction


Ro-Radh

Faclan was founded in 2006 at An Lanntair, as a means to showcase writers and writing from, in and about the Hebrides and the West Highlands.  In 2011 it was re-launched and re-scheduled to late October/early November – ‘beyond the equinox, the cusp of winter’ – and themed on aspects of culture:  Second Sight & the Supernatural, Belief,  Pilgrimage & Journey… the theme for 2014 was ‘The Past is a Foreign Country’.

28.xyzena-ocean-horizonRoddy Murray: Head of Visual Arts & Literature

QUOTE, UNQUOTE

.. stunning start to the festival – one of the most memorable art events I’ve ever attended …  Ian Stephen

“Thanks for a lovely event last night! I really enjoyed it.” Jon Ronson

“..congratulations on putting together such a cracking programme … I had such a fine few days up there, renewing old friendships and making some new ones… So thank you for your part in all of it, and for masterminding the festival as a whole, about which I heard nothing but good things from participants and audience …  Faclan is just a fabulous festival: engaged audiences, the warmest of welcomes, impeccably organised, and all happening amid the astonishing moors, lochs and coastline of Lewis.’ Thanks!      Robert Macfarlane

“.. even I was surprised and heartened when I heard what an overwhelmingly positive reaction Richard got to his talk.  Sounds as if the festival was a great success, so many congratulations on that.  Paula Kirby (Richard Dawkins Foundation)

We loved it all … Thanks so much for looking after us so wonderfully.  We had a great time and … sold a decent amount of books on Saturday night.  We had a few wind-lashed adventures yesterday morning too with the guy who gave me the bottle of ‘Starkicker” whisky (named after Old Grey Whistle Test). Took us both round Callanish and out to the Blackhouse village at Gearannan and then back to Stornoway… We packed a lot in!  Mark Ellen

Thank you so much for inviting me up for the An Lanntair festival. I enjoyed both the festival, and being in Stornoway. I’ve already told at least three people that they need to go. It’s a beautiful place – upward rain or no upwards rain. I look forward to coming again. Charles Emmerson

“…the festival seemed to me a great success. It is wonderful that this event takes place in such an evocative place.” Dr Carl S Watkins.

“An unforgettable visit to Stornoway and what an impressive buzz at An Lanntair last Saturday.   Remarkable. Long may such enthusiasm continue“. Tim Severin

“..thanks for this year’s Faclan festival. I enjoyed all the sessions I attended and wish I could have come to more. It was great to see the gallery buzzing with people. ”  Torcuil Crichton

I just wanted to say how impressed I was with the programming of Faclan this year. Apart from the Dawkins coup, I was watching the demographic of the audience on Saturday and delighted in seeing the waves of humanity breaking on the shore of An Lanntair – the elderly ladies in tweed skirts retreated after enjoying the Psalms, to be replaced by the crusty bodachs coming to reminisce about their fishing days, and then in came the skipping girlies to meet chick-lit queen Jenny Colgan, closely followed by shuffling vampires. No doubt later there were undead of a different kind. It was masterly. Seriously, I also heard and participated in great debates about faith and belief, and how it is to be presented. I really thought it was all a literature festival should be.  Once again thanks and well done.  Annie Delin (Isles FM)

“When we left you resplendent in red flashy linings (etc) we hoped the masked ball would also be a highlight for everyone. It was a really good festival and I have to report that Sheila [Stewart]’s first experience of Lewis couldn’t have been better.  She just loved it!  So big thanks for your part in that. Dr Margaret Bennett

“.. thank you so very much for .. the wonderful Faclan festival. We first came to Stornoway about 20 years ago and were struck by how the town seems ever more lively and thriving which is such a fantastic thing as the capital of the Scots Gaelic speaking world. And An Lanntair is doing such a fantastic job in every way in acting as a conduit for Gaelic and other culture in a two way stream. .. I was very happy to see people come when there were such a range of famous authors on offer. It was a fantastic weekend in every way … it was a huge honour and it meant a great deal as part of the book’s journey.” Elisabeth Gifford.

“I heard it was a real success!” Catherine Bramwell PA to Alan Johnson MP

“It was great being able to do this little tour. As you might imagine, I had some wonderful connections on my way. Meeting Canon MacQueen on Barra was the first time I have ever shaken hands with a Catholic priest in the Hebrides. What does that say?! ” Alastair McIntosh

Cha robh mise aig Faclan a chord rium cho math ri siud … So, full marks dhut fhein ‘s dhan Lanntair choir. Finlay Macleod:  I haven’t attended a Faclan I’ve enjoyed so much. So full marks to yourself and the rest of An Lanntair. Finlay Macleod

“I was delighted with the way the event went … Ron Beard from Quercus was so impressed he thought we should launch the new book .. at An Lanntair … I think it would be great if we could pull it off.” Peter May

“I enjoyed the day enormously. It was great to meet Brian, Malcolm and Tim again, and to have the chance of a chat with yourself and others at the centre. For me, the talk was a real highlight of my year.” Dr Bernard Meehan (Keeper: The Book of Kells)

..the events that I attended were uniformly first-rate – thought-provoking and enlightening.   I had no problem in accommodating Prof. Dawkins within my frame of reference, though I do not agree with his rather narrow view of the world!    He deserves a hearing, and to be treated with courtesy and respect – and he could not have had better treatment than he received in Stornoway.  I am very, very glad about that.  I would have hated him to have been badly treated.  Your own chairing of the event was excellent – you adopted a very good-natured, relaxed tone, which set the mood for the evening…It was excellent too to meet Francis Spufford, whose work was new to me.  I have bought two of his books since then! The buzz around An Lanntair was a very clear indicator of how much it is appreciated in Stornoway.  Faclan – the parts that I was privileged to attend – was a delight, and obviously greatly enjoyed by many, many participants.  Professor Donald Meek

“It was a great festival – well done. I enjoyed the whole event. Good management, good speakers, good audiences and good craik…” Timothy Neat

“First of all, a major vote of thanks for arranging such a stimulating book festival and for inviting me to be part of it. It was a wonderful occasion … Thank you.” Trevor Royle

“Just a note to say that it was a great pleasure to meet you and the team  and that I really enjoyed the event. A really good, interested group of nice people – what more could you want!  Should the opportunity arise to do more of the same or similar I would be happy to brave the gales and come back…”  Gavin D Smith (Whisky Connoisseur)

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