• John Dempster

Punch and Barbara!


A small group of us, reduced in number by seasonal bugs and the snow, had a lovely evening at the Glen Mhor Hotel yesterday.

First, we had the AGM of HighlandLit, at which chair Paul Shanks gave a comprehensive and encouraging summary of the progress made in 2017. Then Inverness author Barbara Henderson shared wisdom on writing for children. I particularly loved the quote from Kurt Vonnegut that, in telling a story, you should ‘Start as close to the end as possible,’ and Katherine Rundell’s advice ‘Never be afraid to write badly. It is so much better to write badly than to write nothing. You can bend bad writing into great writing: blank pages are immoveable.’

In the second hour, Barbara talked with her usual enthusiasm about researching and writing her new children’s novel Punch, set in part in Victorian Inverness, which includes a major fire, a false accusation, a dark story from the past, an escaped convict, a travelling Punch and Judy show, the lovely Moffat family, a member of the royal family, two dogs, a dancing bear…..what more could a 12-year-old want? Barbara read the first breathless chapter which plunges us into the soul of Phineas, the main character, and into the heart of the action. Marvellous stuff! It was, as always, a great privilege for us to spend time with Barbara.

The minutes of the AGM will be circulated to members shortly. The next evening event will be on February 20th, the first of our new series of quarterly hands-on workshops, which will in February be led by Paul Shanks.

Barbara and Paul are pictured below at the event.


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