Scotland is a jewel for festivals: arts, science, culture, books…The Falkirk Storytelling Festival is one of the newer ones, just having celebrated its second year.
It’s always good to see a well-known name on the programme, a favourite author or speaker, but for me, its finding the hidden, unexpected gems – taking a chance on something different or little-known (to me). And there is always something new to discover.
Which is why, on a glorious October Saturday, I found myself accompanying The Emerald Bookshelf to the Trinity Church Hall in Falkirk to listen to the Raging Goddesses.
The Emerald Bookshelf is an innovation from local author and blogger, Sandy Bennett-Haber, who describes it as a ‘space for readers and writers to connect’.Â It is what is says, an ordinary bookcase, painted an elegant shade of green, made extraordinary byÂ its shelves: filled with books and stories, journeys and experiences, showcasing the talent of Scottish-based authors as it travels around storytelling (and writing and book) festivals.
In Falkirk, it was guest curated by AilieÂ Wallace – one of the original Raging Goddeses – and featuring:Â The Rooftop Writers Anthology, Waymaking â€“ a new anthology of women’s adventure writingÂ and works by Suzanne Egerton, Carol Allan and more.
In addition to Ailie, Suzanne and Carol,Â the other performers were Carolyn Paterson, Adele Gavin and Debbie Baker. It was an afternoon filled with some remarkable poetry and prose from this talented â€“ and brave â€“ collective of women writers. I say brave because itâ€™s as hard as it is rewarding to stand in front of an audience and read your own work, and itâ€™s doubly hard when that work dips into challenging, often personal, themes of mental and physical health, of abuse, of overcoming challenge.
If that sounds â€˜heavyâ€™, well, the issues certainly are, but the carefully-crafted poems and stories, their vivid language; the humour and the optimism in the delivery, made it a celebration of good writing and of the strength of the human â€“ in this case, the female â€“ spirit.
For more information on The Rooftop Writers and the Raging Goddesses, contact Ailie: www.ailiewallace.wordpress.comÂ
And to read more about The Emerald Bookshelf, contact Sandy: www.sandybennetthaber.com
Pic of the Raging Goddesses by Sweet P Photography/courtesy of The Write Angle.