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Aberdeen debut novelist joins all-star literary cast at Word 2001

Aberdeen-based writer Martin Shannon will give a public reading at the Central Library on the second day (Thursday, May 17) of WORD 2001, the University of Aberdeen’s writers festival.

Martin, who published his debut novel The Tin Man last year, will be joined by fellow writers Kenneth Steven, Colm Quinn and Matthew Fitt at the public reading.

The five-day festival follows on the success of the University’s first festival, which was held in May 1999, and promises to be Scotland’s largest literary event outside the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Featuring more than 30 writers and artists from throughout Scotland and Ireland, including William McIlvanney, Alasdair Gray, Bernard MacLaverty, Liz Lochhead and Tom Leonard, the programme will have something for everyone, from readings in bookshops and libraries, film screenings and readings at Aberdeen’s new art house cinema, The Belmont, and children’s theatre.

Thursday’s programme is as follows:

all day     Travelling Gallery     Hazlehead Academy
10am       Reading by Matthew Fitt    Old Machar Academy
10am       Reading by Kenneth Steven    Ellon Academy
Noon      Word and Image Haiku reading by Alan Spence with slides by Andy Goldsworthy  Aberdeen Art Gallery
2pm        Workshop at Travelling Gallery with Sian Preece Hazlehead Academy
6pm        Discussion Group on Nora for S4-6 pupils  The Belmont
6.30pm   Nora for S4-6 and general public   The Belmont
7pm        Reading by Kenneth Steven, Colm Quinn, Matthew Fitt and Martin Shannon   Central Library

The first Word festival, held in Aberdeen in 1999, was a highly successful event with hundreds of local people attending the many readings, music and word events, lectures and workshops. The Scotsman described it as ‘the largest, and most impressive literary event ever held in Aberdeen’.

This year, the festival has the very great honour of welcoming as its patrons the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and Edwin Morgan, regarded by many as Scotland’s greatest living poet. Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 ‘for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past’ officially launched WORD 2001 in February when he visited the University. Edwin Morgan was the joint winner of the 1998 Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year with his latest book of poems, Virtual and Other Realities. In 1999, his performance in Planet Wave with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra as part of the Word ’99 Festival completely packed out the Lemon Tree.

The festival is supported by the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery, Aberdeen City Council, First Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire Council, the Belmont and the Lemon Tree, as well as local Aberdeen bookshops.

A full programme for WORD 2001 can be obtained by subscribing to the mailing list online at, or by telephone (01224) 272078.


Issued by Public Relations Office, External Relations, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, telephone: 01224 272014, fax: 01224 272086.

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email