Margaret Elphinstone has decided to cut back significantly on her events programme.
She will continue to consider invitations to discuss her work and her interests in environmental writing.
CatStrand 'Continuing to write' workshops
"Continuing to Write" workshops, led by Margaret Elphinstone, meet monthly at the CatStrand, New Galloway from 3.15 to 5.15 pm, on the following Wednesdays:
February 1st, March 1st, April 5th, May 3rd, June 7th
This workshop is now a closed group but if you wish to register your interest in joining a proposed "Starting to Write" group contact the The CatStrand, New Galloway, Dumfries & Galloway, or call 01644 420 374.
Tuesday 7th - Thursday 9th. Durhamhill Writers' Course
Margaret Elphinstone and Mary Smith will once again be co-tutoring the extremely popular Durhamhill Writers' course.
Durhamhill, set in the delightful Galloway countryside, provides an ideal retreat to explore your potential as a writer or to advance your work in progress.
Thursday 30th. 2 pm to 4 pm National Library of Scotland Workshop
'Exploring archives for historical fiction'
Novelist Margaret Elphinstone looks at the diaries of Henrietta Liston, botanist and diplomat's wife, who travelled around America 200 years ago. Henrietta's words transport us to the villages of North Carolina, the dining rooms of Philadelphia, and the taverns of Virginia.
With the opportunity to try writing exercises, this workshop gives you a taste of using historical material to inspire and inform your own work.
Free. Book 'Exploring archives for historical fiction' on Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.
Association of Scottish Literary Studies confers Honourary Fellowship
Oration by Prof. Ian Brown, President of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies
Margaret Elphinstone’s career has been varied, including eight years living in Shetland and time as a gardener in Galloway. So, she has worked the length of Scotland and her writing has a parallel range. This is not just geographic. She herself has said, ‘My fiction is mostly historical and I usually write about people living “on the edge”’. She writes of the Stone Age, of Vikings, of mythical lands, returning often to the theme of journeying. Behind her work is impeccable research; her love of nature shines through; her prose embodies the beauty of words. She gives back to the writing community, too.
A member of the Strathclyde University English Studies Department from 1990 to 2008, she became in 2003 Professor of Writing, and remains Professor Emerita. She has regularly offered classes in centres of creativity like Moniack Mhor, encouraging and critically supporting the next writing generation.
Distinguished critics respect her – Professor Ian Campbell writes in The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature: ‘Her work – assured, attractive, innovative – has the attraction of rarely offering the same pleasures twice, though certain themes recur. These include interest in the historic and mythical past, the Norse and Scandinavian invasions and influences on Scotland, a perceptible interest in the fantastic, a strong feeling for nature.’
And the general public also admires her work: The Sea Road appeared in The List magazine’s ‘100 Best Scottish Books of All Time’. One may have sensible reservations about such lists, but they convey the public’s respect for the authors chosen. Margaret Elphinstone’s work is undoubtedly worthy of the highest respect.
Margaret Elphinstone now lives in Galloway where she was working as a gardener when her first novel was published in 1987. Her most recent novel, The Gathering Night, was published by Canongate in 2009. She is the author of seven previous novels as well as poetry and short stories.
As well as writing, she has undertaken an extensive programme of teaching and lecturing. She is a regular tutor at Moniack Mhor events.
She is a graduate of Durham University and an Emeritus Professor of Strathclyde University where she was a member of the English Studies Department from 1990-2008. Apart from spells of academic work in the USA, she has spent her working life in Scotland including Shetland, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Moray.
Margaret Elphinstone's writing is described as "assured, attractive, innovative" in 'The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature'. Ian Campbell, in his chapter: ‘Disorientation of Place, Time and ‘Scottishness’: Conan Doyle, Linklater, Gunn, Mackay Brown and Elphinstone’ says:
"Her work – assured, attractive, innovative – has the attraction of rarely offering the same pleasures twice, though certain themes recur. These include interest in the historic and mythical past, the Norse and Scandinavian invasions and influences on Scotland, a perceptible interest in the fantastic, a strong feeling for nature......
"Elphinstone’s characters often travel over huge distances: her world is one of expanding vision, an attempt to connect to a half-understood natural world, to understand the perplexities of human characters in affection as well as danger and stress. She has mastered the short story (An Apple From a Tree, 1991) and full-scale fantasy (Hy Brasil 2002). Voyageurs (2003) is a confident and convincing excursion into those who explored and settled eastern Canada, the settlers who fought climate, indigenous people and misunderstanding at home to carve out lives in a really new world.
From: Ian Brown, The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature Volume 3: Modern Transformations: New Identities (from 1918) Edinburgh University Press 2006.