Meet Frankie Valente, Shetland Writer

In preparation for Shetland Create’s literary night, we’re getting to know a few local creatives. Today we learn a bit about romance novelist Frankie Valente.

I am a contemporary romantic novelist and occasional columnist for local media. My published writing includes: Dancing with the Ferryman; Chasing an Irish Dream; Learning to Dance Again, and Dreaming in Norwegian. Currently working on my fifth novel, Granny goes to Uni and a screenplay called Laughing with the Kookaburra. I am inspired by the scenery and people of Shetland and the problems of contemporary life, such as divorce, emigration, the “empty nest” and life after retirement and finding a work/life balance.

Frankie Valente

Home has been Shetland for many years, however, I have also lived in Ireland, Wales and England. I have a Masters in Professional Writing from University College Falmouth. I provide mentoring and editing services for writers, including Melanie Hudson who won the Contemporary Novel of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association for her novel The Wedding Cake Tree.

Twitter: @frankievalente

Shetland Create celebrates creativity in Shetland through its bi-annual literary magazine and literary readings. The next reading will take place on 9 July. Issue #1 of the magazine is available for free online at http://www.shetlandcreate.com. Hosted by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate. Come celebrate with us!

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What have we been up to?

Kirsten and I have had a busy couple weeks preparing for Shetland Create on 2 April. In addition to keeping up with our creative writing coursework, we’ve accomplished the following:

  • Tickets went live. You can purchase tickets for our teen writing workshop here and the lit night and ceilidh here.
  • We launched our CrowdFunder campaign. To encourage students to attend the literary night and ceilidh, we’re selling tickets at below cost — which means we need financial support to make the night a reality! Support us via our CrowdFunder or visit the Donate page of our blog for other ways to donate.
  • Kirsten was featured on BBC Shetland. Kirsten spoke a bit about the project on BBC Shetland’s The Book Programme — go to 45:00 in the recording to hear more about how Shetland inspires her and what the project is all about.
  • Angie created posters and flyers. I’m a bit proud of them, as I certainly don’t consider myself a designer of any sorts, my speciality being the written word! This week, we’re getting these put up around Anderson High School and the island.
  • Our Twitter reached 500 followers. Whoo hoo!
  • We featured more Shetland creatives on our blog. Check out our most recent feature on Shetland writer and musician, Chris Cope.

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate. Book Now.

Meet Chris Cope, Shetland Writer & Musician

In preparation for Shetland Create’s teen writing workshop and Night of Creativity, we’re getting to know a few local creatives. Today we learn a bit about Chris Cope, a reporter for Shetland News and musician.

I’m a journalist currently living in Gulberwick after being raised in the gloriously wild norths of Hillswick, with a seven-year stint in Glasgow in the middle of it all.

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My time is spent working as a music writer and a reporter for Shetland News. My life ranges from interviewing famed musicians and penning features to covering stories that matter to Shetland and its people.

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The compelling challenge of finding the perfect or most imaginative word or phrase to describe something is one of my biggest motivations when writing. You need the reader to feel that emotion inside them, to hear that sound, to taste those flavours.

Outside of writing, I play the bass guitar in a number of bands, including pop-rockers Trookers and comedy-rock meets jazz-folk group Big Time Quell.

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Home for me has always been Shetland, although during my mainland years I never really anticipated moving back. Being marooned in the city, however, made the heart yearn for something a little more serene.

I’ve always been impressed by the lofty levels of creativity in Shetland. Perhaps it’s the inspiring, striking environment, or the cold, crepuscular winters forcing locals to look within themselves and channel their imagination.

Learn more about Chris via his Twitter @chrismcope, and check out a new music blog, Music Mends Minds, he has created with his girlfriend.

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate. 

Tickets on Sale Now!

You can purchase tickets for Shetland Create’s teen creative writing workshop and literary event now through the Mareel box office:

Teen Creative Writing Workshop

Workshops (for high school students S1-S6) will take place 2nd April, 1pm – 3pm, in the Mareel auditorium. Tickets cost £5 + £2.50 for additional siblings.

Night of Creativity: Stories, Food & Ceilidh

The evening event and ceilidh will be held that evening at 6:30 pm (doors open at 6). Tickets cost £25, £15 for students, seniors, and under 16’s.

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1644098952510898/

Hope to see you there!

Shetland Create Poster (1)

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate. Book Now.

Help Us Spread the Word!

We still need £1,215 to meet our funding goals. That’s £48 pounds a day until the 23 March. We need your help to ensure we don’t fall short. Spread the word of our project on your social media sites or send an email blast to your friends and help Shetland Create’s teen writing workshop, literary night, and ceilidh be a success!

Here is a sample Tweet you can use to spread the word:

Help make teen writing workshop + ceilidh a success. A few £ goes a long way!

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Crowd Funder Launch: Week 1 Update

Our CrowdFunder project is now LIVE!!! We need £1700 to ensure we can cover all costs for the event. A few £’s can go a long way. Help support our teen writing workshop, literary night and ceilidh. Donate here.

Crowd Funder Photo

We’ve already seen an amazing first week of activity. 17 people have pledged £485. That means we’re nearly 30% funded! A big thanks to everyone who’s already donated.

25 percent funding progress

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate.

Meet Vivian Ross-Smith, Shetland Visual Artist

In preparation for our teen writing workshop and Shetland’s Night of Creativity, we’re getting to know a few local creatives. Today we learn a bit about Vivian Ross-Smith, a Shetland-based visual artist.

I am a visual artist currently living in Lerwick but the place I call home is the island I grew up on, Fair Isle.

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Island life is a driving force behind my art practice. Focusing on landscape, geology, community and traditions, I study and explore extreme and remote places to find my inspirations.

The work I make is experimental, tactile and surface based. I explore and contrast materials, using natural and chemical processes that are familiar but not normally associated with fine art to challenge the viewer’s perception and ask them to consider humankind’s modern relationship with the land.

I have recently been interested in the issue of sustainability and climate change in art, considering how our islands’ traditional ways of living and working are changing and adapting to fit into a technological world. Are people still willing to live in extreme and remote locations like Fair Isle?

My work attempts to turn these questions into a visual language; I use traditional methods of craftsmanship such as knitting, net making and preserving skins to explore relationships between material and surface; and between man-made and natural.

Twitter: @vrosssmith

Instagram:@vrosssmith

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate.

A Bit About the Hosts

One reason why we decided on the theme of ‘home’ for Shetland’s Night of Creativity was because of our own diverse backgrounds. Kirsten and I both attend the University of Glasgow’s MLitt in Creative Writing, we both love fantasy novels, and are inspired by our home towns — very different they may be! Here’s a bit about us, and where we’re coming from.

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Angie Spoto is an American fiction writer. She holds a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is currently studying Creative Writing at the graduate level at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. She has lived in Austria, the Netherlands, and now lives in the UK. She’s the founder of the non-profit Uncovered Artistry Boutique, an online shop that sells the art and handmade jewelry of domestic and sexual abuse survivors.

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Kirsten Boswell is from the ‘peerie’ group of islands called the Shetlands. She has an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing and is currently studying for a Creative Writing MLitt.  She loves to read and write fantasy and sci-fi. Her favourite books include: The Martian, The Hobbit and His Dark Materials.

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate.

Meet Julie Williamson, Shetland Textile Designer

In preparation for our teen writing workshop and Shetland’s Night of Creativity, we’re getting to know a few local creatives. Today we learn a bit about Julie Wiliamson from Julie Williamson Designs, a Shetland-based textile designer.

Julie Williamson Designs is a textile designer and maker from Whalsay Shetland, who creates unique hand drawn designs for digital and screen printed fabric.

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Influenced by old French Toile De Jouy and fair isle knitwear patterns, she combines these with her own personal style and uses her own stories and memories to create scenes for each design.

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She is strongly inspired by her home Shetland, with its rich heritage and culture that can be seen within her fishing and crofting designs. Her strong bold colour pallet comes from Shetland’s beautiful landscape, from the blue and green stormy seas to the purple and red heathery hills. Shetlands weather also features in her Tactile collection, inspired by Shetlands summery dusky nights and misty mornings creating a more neutral colour pallet.

Tactile Collection

Keeping with her Shetland theme each design uses Shetland words and dialect for the titles, each product is also handmade or hand finished giving it that added personal touch.

Facebook: www.fb.com/juliewilliamsondesigns
Twitter and Instagram: @JulieWDesigns
Tel: 01806566652 / 07917117138

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate.

Meet Sally Huband, Shetland Writer

In preparation for our teen writing workshop and Shetland’s Night of Creativity, we’re getting to know a few local creatives. First up is Sally Huband, a non-fiction writer whose work has touched upon the theme of home (and how to feel at home in a new place).

Sally Huband

Aith on Shetland’s westside is now my home but I grew up in England surrounded by woodlands and river valleys. I’m inspired by the wildlife, people and landscapes of Shetland and write narrative non-fiction on the theme of learning to feel at home in an unfamiliar environment (see Relict Tree published in the Island Review and the Song of the Shetland Wren published in Zoomorphic).

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I’m currently working on a series of essays, longer pieces of writing all linked by Shetland which explore the themes of drift, migration and rootedness. In 2014 I was selected to write a nature diary for BBC Wildlife Magazine and my blog, Rain Geese and Selkies, was awarded Highly Commended in this publication’s 2015 Blogger Awards. It is through blogging that I have deepened my connection to Shetland, to the extent that it now feels like home.

Thanks for sharing a bit about what inspires you, Sally! We’re looking forward to meeting more Shetland folks in the coming weeks.

Shetland Create is a teen writing workshop and literary event filled with stories, music, food and ceilidh dance hosted in Lerwick, Scotland at Shetland’s Mareel Auditorium on 2 April, 2016 by University of Glasgow students Kirsten Boswell and Angie Spoto. Follow us on Twitter @ShetlandCreate.