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The Riverrun Series

Wild Goose Festival 2021

The Stove Café is proud to present, as part of this year’s Wild Goose Festival and in partnership with Wigtown Festival Company, the RIVERRUN SERIES.

Over three days, within the festival programme, Riverrun celebrates poetry and literature and features special guests including: Tom Pow, Hugh Bryden, Robin Crawford, Malachy Tallack, Alec Finlay and Esther Woolfson.

The Stove Café will host two of the Riverrun events on the 18th and 19th at its venue on Dumfries High Street, the third will be hosted online as part of the Wigtown Wednesday series on the 20th.

First in the series is Riverrun 1 – Life Is Still Life which sees the launch of two new pamphlets published by Roncadora Press and featuring poetry by Tom Pow and artwork by Hugh Bryden both of these are responses to the natural world during lockdown. The first, Life, through a range of emails sent to Tom, which he shapes into moments of haiku; the second, Still Life, through Hugh’s painted observations of an immediate world of plants and objects, which Tom responds to in poetry.

Hugh Bryden and Tom Pow have collaborated on many publications over a long period of time. Initially with Cacafuego Press, which they ran together, and then with Hugh’s own Roncadora Press. With both presses, Hugh’s visual presentation and attention to detail have been paramount and recognised by a number of awards.

This evening’s illustrated launch will be an opportunity to see and to hear this new work and to buy the pamphlets.

Riverrun 2 – The Lure Of The River, on Tuesday 19th October features Robin A Crawford, author of ‘Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through The Moorland Year’ (2018) and ‘Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers: A Treasury of 1000 Scottish Words’(2020).

Attendees at this event will enjoy a special preview of two new books about life on the river; The first, ‘Along the River: A year’s journey on the Tay’ (Birlinn, 2022) by Robin Crawford which interweaves history both human and natural from the Highland crannog on Loch Tay to the V&A at its North Sea Firth, an extract.

You never enter the same river twice and yet it remains. Heraclitus’s river flows, everything flows but the water that my great grandfather swam in as a youth is the same river that ferried my Granny over from Fife before the First World War, that I road bridged as a boy, heard the wintering geese return to as a student, saw from the window of the maternity ward at Ninewells as my wife’s waters broke as our son was born. It is all rivers, it is unique.” 

The second is Malachy Tallack’s; ‘Illuminated by Water’ (Doubleday, 2022), a combination of memoir, nature writing and reflections on culture and history, examining why angling means so much to so many.

Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of three books, most recently a novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate, 2018). It was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize and longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. His first book, Sixty Degrees North (2015), was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and his second, The Un-Discovered Islands (2016), was named Illustrated Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. Malachy is from Shetland, and currently lives in central Scotland.

On Wednesday 20th October, Riverrun 3, The Urban Naturalist, forms part of the Wigtown Wednesday programme and will be hosted online, featuring authors Esther Woolfson and Alec Finlay.

This special event explores the idea of what it might mean to say, ‘we are all naturalists now’; and, in the light of covid and COP26 questions what our relationship to the natural world might be.

Esther Woolfson, author of ‘Field Notes from a Hidden City and Between Light’ and ‘Storm – How We Live with Other Species’ (both Granta) argues that encouraging children and adults to talk about urban nature is one of the most important and neglected areas of possibility for change that there is.

Woolfson began her writing career with highly acclaimed short stories. She has been Artist in Residence at Aberdeen University’s Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability, Writer in Residence at the Hexham Book Festival and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.

Esther Wolfson

During the pandemic, Esther has become increasingly interested in the boundaries between human and non-human, the links between how we treat other humans and other species and in finding ways of altering the traditional, accepted ways of treating other species which appear to have led to the development and spread of SarsCov-2 and the drastic loss of species which is further endangering all life on earth.

She’s joined by poet and artist, Alec Finlay, who has developed a practice that draws attention to urban nature as a way of stimulating our imaginations and our well-being.

Alec Finlay’s work crosses over a range of media and forms and considers how we relate to landscape and ecology, including recent projects on place-awareness, hutopianism, rewilding, and disability access.

His recent publications include the Scottish Design Award best publication winner a far-off land (2018), made for Marie Curie, exploring landscapes of healing; gathering, a place-aware guide to the Cairngorms, published by Hauser & Wirth (2018); and th’ fleety wud (2017), a response to climate change and flooding, as part of an artwork being created in Hawick, in collaboration with Andrew MacKenzie and Gill Russell.

In 2018 Alec Finlay turned his focus onto the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces. In collaboration with The Walking Library (Dee Heddon & Misha Myers), he created a generous mapping project, Wild City, which is available as a book. This features photographic and written documentation of a series of participative walks through Glasgow exploring wild nature,reflecting on the politics of green spaces and the commons, and proposing imaginative pathways to adapt to and reverse climate breakdown.

This fascinating conversation of ideas and experience will interest any naturalist and any urban dweller. Tickets for this online even are free but need to be booked in advance.

For more details on each of the River Run series of events, visit the Wild Goose Festival page, or book your free tickets below:

Monday 18 October RIVERRUN 1:

LIFE IS STILL LIFE

7:00pm – 8:00pm The Stove Café, 100 High Street, Dumfries Free but ticketed

Tuesday 19 October RIVERRUN 2:

THE LURE OF THE RIVER

7:00pm – 8:00pm The Stove Café, 100 High Street, Dumfries Free but ticketed

Wednesday 20 October RIVERRUN 3

THE URBAN NATURALIST WITH ESTHER WOOLFSON AND ALEC FINLAY

7:00pm – 8:00pm

For more information on the Wild Goose Festival check out the festival page: https://thestove.org/wild-goose-festival/

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Musings News

Wild Goose Festival 2021 Photo Competition

Each autumn, tens of thousands of wild geese arrive in Dumfries & Galloway after their long migration, some travelling over 2,700km to reach the region. This mass gathering of geese, including barnacle, greylag, brent and Greenland white-fronted geese, flock to Dumfries & Galloway each year, making our region one of the best places in the UK to see such a variety of geese.

As part of the 2021 Wild Goose Festival, we want to celebrate the beauty and wonder of our visiting geese, as well as the vast photographic talent found in our region. This competition is open to professional and amateur photographers from or based in Dumfries and Galloway. 

To enter the competition, please send us:

Your chosen photograph (any nature/environmental themed photo taken in Dumfries and Galloway);

Your name; 

Your email (so we can get back to you);

Your age;

Where the photo was taken;

And one or two sentences about your image.

Please enter the competition using this Google Form, where you will be asked for the above information: Link to enter here.

The deadline to enter is midnight on 11th October 2021. The top 10 finalists’ photographs will be displayed at the Wild Goose Festival Closing Gala on the 23rd October 2021, where a winner will be announced.

Winning prize to be announced.

The festival is part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2021 and is supported by Dumfries & Galloway Council and TRACS – Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.

Learn more about Wild Goose Festival here.