Published: 03/10/2015 10:08 - Updated: 02/10/2015 10:31

Authors use pen power to help refugees

Val McDermid.
Val McDermid. Photo: Charlie Hopkinson.

MISTRESS of murder Val McDermid will be among the writers and musicians putting their talents to good use to help save lives at a charity event at Inverness Cathedral on Friday 9th October.

The number one bestselling author, whose books inspired the ITV series Wire In The Blood and A Place of Execution, is among the authors taking part in Write With You, a performance in aid of Syrian refugees with all proceeds, after expenses, going to UN children’s agency UNICEF.

Joining her will be fellow crime writer Lin Anderson, who has a home in Carrbridge and is the author of the Rhona MacLeod series about a Glasgow forensic scientist, and novelist Moira Forsyth, editorial director of award winning Dingwall publisher Sandstone Press.

Other writers, poets and musicians are invited to participate in the Write With You open mic slot in exchange for a donation.

The event has been put together by local writer Jane Wallman, who felt she had to do something in response to images of the refuge crisis in the Mediterranean.

"I am as shocked as we all were by the photos of children and adults drowning after the refugee boats capsized," she said.

"I couldn’t just sit and do nothing, but as a wheelchair user and partially-sighted person I couldn’t help out at a collection depot or offer to go and help care for people as they sought refuge.

"I did what I do best. I’m a theatre director by training and experience, and a writer. Put the two together and this seemed the way to go. The Cathedral, where I’m attached as a self-supporting priest, were great about letting us use their space for this event.

Getting established writers such as McDermid involved also proved quite straightforward.

"Writers are a very generous hearted lot. I asked them and they said yes," Wallman said.

"I’ve had other well known writers and poets come forward offering to help too. So much so I’m organising another event for 5th December."

Next week’s open mic slot will be on the theme of freedom from oppression, war and refugees.

"In return for a paper money donation, I’d love to hear from local poets who would like to stand up and read a piece of their own work, maximum five minutes," Wallman said.

"They can contact me at janewallmangirdlestone@gmail.com."

• A number of musicians are also scheduled to participate and Wallman was hoping to confirm these in the coming week.

Write With You begins at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, at 7.30pm on Friday 9th October with a paper money bucket collection for Syrian refugees and a book signing by the authors, with a bookstall provided by the Inverness branch of Waterstones.

There will also be an Inverness Cathedral Sees Syria Vigil at 10.15pm.

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