An Lanntair Launches Faclan: The Hebridean Book Festival 2015 Programme

  • Published on: 1st September 2015
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Faclan 2015: Feis Litreachas Innse Gall, The Hebridean Book Festival

Wednesday 28th– Saturday 31st October


“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”

T S Eliot

Now in its fifth year in its current format, for 2015 Faclan once again sees some of Britain’s leading writers, thinkers, career professionals and commentators coming together at An Lanntair on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides: This time they are united by the theme of blood.

Yet this is no crime spatter-fest or gothic horror convention, for blood also represents family, medicine, genealogy. It is a central metaphor for our common humanity, our lives and our mortality.

Among those appearing are Britain’s pre-eminent brain surgeon, Henry Marsh, sharing a stage with top psychologist Stephen Grosz, chaired by author and practicing GP, Gavin Francis. Showcased will be best-sellers by the authors of H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald and The Shepherd’s Life, James Rebanks. The Shroud of Turin, the most holy relic in Christendom will be expounded on and thirteen year old Jake McGowan-Lowe will speak about his Science prize short-listed book Jakes Bones. There will also be a range of authors speaking in An Lanntair and local libraries throughout Leis and Harris as part of Faclan Og (Young Faclan).

But yes, there will be bloodshed too with Francis Larson’s Severed, the history of decapitation; from shrunken heads to Islamic State, Malcolm Mackay from Stornoway – the new star of Tartan Noir – Iain Overton on the bloody history of the gun and one of Britain’s most renowned criminologists, Professor David Wilson, on serial killers.

The unique culture of the Islands is central to the aims and work of Faclan and there will also be two local book launches from local publishers Acair and the Island Book Trust promoting local authors.
An Lanntair’s Head of Visual Arts & Literature, Roddy Murray said “The programme this year is compelling and progressive. There are amazing combinations on the brain and the mind, from healers to killers, from the scalpel to the bullet, and a deep exploration of the human territory of family and bereavement. It’s complemented by a film programme that includes documentaries The English Surgeon on Henry Marsh’s work in the Ukraine, and The Shepherds of Berneray from 1981 along with world cinema such as Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Mallicks’s Badlands. All this happening in the stunning setting of the Outer Hebrides. Really, what’s not to like?”

For more details on Faclan please visit the website at