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We all need to be like Debbie! Nigg Hall Virtual Bookfair will help Highland writers


By Barbara Henderson

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Nigg Hall Virtual Bookfair.
Nigg Hall Virtual Bookfair.

It often just takes one person, doesn’t it? One person to get the ball rolling, one person to nail their colours to the mast and act.

Last week I received an email from just such a person: Debbie Ross.

“I’m raising funds for Nigg Community Hall, especially now that there are no weddings and events there. I plan to organise a virtual fundraiser; a book fair where local writers can sell their books. It’ll be on Facebook. Would you like to be part of it?”

Opportunities for this kind of thing are very thin on the ground for writers now, as you can imagine. I jumped at the chance.

Clearly, many others did too.

The “bookfair”, called Nigg Hall Virtual Bookfair on Facebook, will open on Saturday at 10am and close on Sunday at 5pm. It will enable local booklovers to purchase directly from local writers and make a difference to both the Highland creative community and Highland businesses.

The proceeds will go to a Highland cause and benefit a north of Scotland community in a very tangible way. Seriously, what’s not to love?

More than 20 stalls have already been allocated and products range from non-fiction and crime to children’s books and picture books. In addition, Debbie has enlisted a local artist selling prints and cards. As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be a second-hand bookstall.

“We’ve got everything from fantasy, cookery, short stories, murder, mystery and romance. It’s going to be amazing!2

Having sent the details for my books through, I took a look and discovered that I’ll be in excellent company. Award-winning Highland authors like SG MacLean, Helen Sedgwick and Margaret Kirk will rub socially distant shoulders with Mod Gaelic children’s book prize winner Catie Hutton, Inverness picture book author-publisher Pauline Mackay of Ablekids Press and crime novelists Neil Lancaster and GR Halliday; and there are so many more.

Liz Treacher, Paula Harmon, Liz Hedgecock, Val Portelli, Sim Alec Sansford from Caithness’s Crowvus to Nairn’s James Andrew and Kincraig’s Cairngorms writer in residence Merryn Glover – the wares on the shelves will be varied and plentiful.

I only hope that activist Debbie’s own cookbook, The Highland Home Cook, will be available too!

Both my daughters were happy recipients of their copies last Christmas to give them a head-start in their independent living. But be that as it may, I take my hat off to the person who has an idea, takes action and puts in the hours for a good cause. We all need to take a leaf out of Debbie’s book!

However, for the time being, let’s get behind her and support local authors! I anticipate that my own Christmas wallet will look a little leaner after the weekend…


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