Janice Galloway on love and relationships

One of Scotland’s foremost female writers comes to Skye on Valentine’s Day.

Multi-award-winning author Janice Galloway is internationally renowned for giving voice to the feminine condition in Scottish working-class communities and has been described as a “significant force in Scottish cultural life.”

Her first novel, The Trick is to Keep Breathing, is now widely regarded as a Scottish contemporary classic and won the MIND Book of the Year award in 1990.

Janice’s second novel, Foreign Parts (1994), won the E M Forster Award while her third, Clara (2002), about the tempestuous life of 19th-century pianist Clara Wieck Schumann, won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award in 2002.

Collaborative texts include an opera with Sally Beamish and three cross-discipline works with Anne Bevan, the Orcadian sculptor. Janice’s “anti-memoir”, This is Not About Me, was published in 2008 and her Collected Stories in 2009. A second book of memoir, All Made Up, was published in 2011. In 2015 her collection of short stories Jellyfish was published and has been released in paperback this month. 

Lanarkshire-based Janice has taken time out of a very busy schedule to come to Skye for an afternoon group session for writers and readers and an evening talk on love and relationships at the Sligachan Hotel on Valentine’s Day, Thursday 14 February.

In the afternoon at 4pm, Janice will provide a rare opportunity for readers and writers to attend a discussion group which takes the form of an informal introduction and discussion to consider the importance of beginnings for both reader and writer. Participants are invited to bring along a few sentences of beginnings of novels or short stories and discuss those choices to try and build a picture of how writing reaches the reader from the word go and, of course, the importance of doing so.

The evening event at 7.30pm will see Janice exploring the often quite separate and highly complex worlds of love, relationships and rearing children in modern times. The evening includes a reading or two, a chance for chat and observations as to how the world turns now.

Janice said: “I’ll be bringing Jellyfish on its first serious outing – a collection of 14 stories from which I’ll be reading a fragment of only one – after which I hope we’ll have some questions/ exchange.

“The stories in Jellyfish are based on a quotation by author David Lodge: ‘Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life’s the other way round,’ a saying that’s more profound than it at first seems!

“Jellyfish are notoriously fragile animals, of course, and I guess the stories try to reflect human fragility and resilience, focused largely on how human beings treat each other in and out of different kinds of love, fear and day-to-day life.”

Janice says she is hoping for a rainless Skye. She added: “My only previous trip to Skye was when I was 23 (a long time ago now) and it rained in buckets for two days. This time will be, in so many ways, different.”

The two events begin a new season and heralds a new phase in the Sligachan Hotel’s on-going refurbishments. The exciting transformation of their popular MacKenzie’s Bar and Collie’s Lounge will include a brand new gin bar. On the evening, the hotel will be serving a wide choice of gins and a special Valentines’ menu and everyone is welcome.

This event is funded by The Scottish Book Trust.