Highlands & Islands

Festival to remember 1919 Iolaire disaster

Iolaire panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption The Iolaire panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland

A new book marking the 100th anniversary of the Iolaire disaster is to be launched at this year's Faclan: The Hebridean Book Festival.

The naval yacht Iolaire was carrying home hundreds of sailors after the end of World War One.

The vessel was wrecked on the Beasts of Holm, a reef near Stornoway, in Lewis, on 1 January 1919, and more than 200 men died.

Malcolm Macdonald wrote the new book, The Darkest Dawn.

Communities across the Western Isles, including Lewis and Harris, were affected by the sinking of the Iolaire.

Various events are to be held next year to mark the 100th anniversary, including a display of a panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland that depicts the disaster.

Its launch will take place during the festival, which is to be held at An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway from 31 October to 3 November.

Image caption The festival will also discuss fear in fiction and will feature a screening of horror classic Whistle and I'll Come to You

Much of the rest of Faclan's programme of authors' will be held on the theme of "fear".

Peter May and Malcolm Mackay will discuss Hebridean Noir, while Finlay Macleod will talk on the history of a semi-mythical 19th Century bogeyman who stalked the moors of Lewis and Harris.

Louise Welsh will discuss the role of fear in her work, and Kathryn Mannix will explore taboos around death.

The festival will also feature film screenings, including the vampire classic Nosferatu, accompanied by a live piano score, and Whistle and I'll Come to You, which is 50 years old this year.

The 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein will also be marked.

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