Aberdeen to welcome high profile authors for August Festival of Walking

Aberdeen to welcome high profile authors for August Festival of Walking

Tickets are now on sale for a festival which will celebrate the important role walking can play in all our lives, bringing together three of the most acclaimed authors writing on the subject in Aberdeen.

Organised by the University of Aberdeen, the festival comprises an evening and a full-day programme which will see well-known writers Robert Macfarlane, Andrew Greig, and Raja Shehadeh take to the stage.

The event will address the role that walking, as a pastime, plays in the lives of people in many geographies, and explores writing and art inspired by walking.

It will also draw on the University’s research theme of ‘The North’ and Aberdeen’s location close to the Cairngorms and other scenic areas popular with walkers.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of Mountains of the Mind; The Wild Places and The Old Ways: a Journey on Foot published this summer

He won the Guardian First Book Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award for his first book, Mountains of the Mind (2003). His second, The Wild Places (2007), was similarly celebrated, winning three prizes and being shortlisted for six more. Both books were adapted for television by the BBC.

Macfarlane is editor of the recent re-publication of the Aberdeen author Nan Shepherd's The Living Mountain.

Andrew Greig is a Scottish poet, mountaineer and novelist, author of, most recently At the Loch of the Green Corrie and the verse collection As Though We Were Flying. He is a highly regarded poet and writer about climbing and landscape as well as the writer of two distinctive Scottish thrillers.

Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian human rights lawyer and the author. His book Palestinian Walks (Profile 2007) won the 2008 Orwell Book Prize and his latest work The Occupation Diaries will be published in August.

He was born in Ramallah and trained as a barrister in London before returning to Palestine to work in practice with his father, and he founded the pioneering human rights organisation Al Haq (Law in the Service of Man).

The Festival of Walking, Writing and Ideas will get underway on Tuesday August 28 with an evening lecture by Professor Tim Ingold, Chair in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, who will consider ideas of walking, weather and 'The North'.

This will be accompanied by the private view of an exhibition of photographs from the Palestine Walking Group by Bassam Almohor and Scottish Walking Photographs by Richard Cormack.

Wednesday will include sessions with the three keynote speakers discussing their work, readings,  book signings, an ‘in conversation’ style event with Robert Macfarlane and Professor Peter Davidson, Chair in Renaissance Studies at the University of Aberdeen, and a walking tour.

Professor Davidson said: “This one-day festival addresses the role that walking, as a pastime, plays in the lives of people in many geographies, and explores writing and art inspired by walking.

“The speed or slowness with which place and climate are experienced, and the freedom and opportunity for reflection that walking provides, enable the development of unique perspectives on many environmental and political issues.

“We are delighted to welcome such high profile authors and artists for whom walking has provided a vital inspiration, and to celebrate the recent publication of important works by two of them, Robert Macfarlane and Raja Shehadeh.”

Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen added: “The festival will affirm the University of Aberdeen’s role as a leading intellectual centre for the study and celebration of ‘The North’ and will feature a number of talks and exhibitions which reflect this, as well as others which encompass a wider geography, particularly that of Palestine.

“As well as being an event addressing the large and exceptionally diverse community in northern Scotland involved with landscape, walking and nature, this event has particular resonances for the University’s commitment to the study and celebration of the environment of ‘The North’ in the largest sense.”

For more information visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/walking/programme.html.Tickets for the event are available at Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122 or http://www.boxofficeaberdeen.com/events/festival-of-walking-writing-and-ideas

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