Festival is a home win for young poet

Ian Macartney.''''Picture Alan Rennie.
Ian Macartney.''''Picture Alan Rennie.
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A young poet is set to perform in front of a home crowd at an upcoming literary festival – organised by the book shop where he works.

Ian Macartney, 17, was named one of Foyle’s young poets of 2015 and has booked a slot at the Further From Festival in Linlithgow next month.

The sixth-year pupil at Linlithgow Academy has worked at Far From the Madding Crowd on the High Street since last December and owner Sally Pattle has organised the festival which is set to be a hit in its first year.

Liz Lochhead, Tam Dalyell and illustrator Nick Sharratt are booked to appear at the festival, beginning on Friday, February 6, and Ian said he is pleased to be on the bill with such established authors.

He said: “I’m pretty honoured to be alongside people like Liz Lochhead. It should be a really interesting weekend.”

Ian’s poem, Snails, took him to the final of a UK-wide poetry competition in October, but he is keeping tight–lipped about what the audience can expect at his upcoming show.

He said: “It’s going to be a surprise, but it will be some of my new work.”

Sally said she hopes the festival will hold appeal as there is a strong local connection with many of the authors. Tam Dalyell was a Labour MP for Linlithgow and posed the famous “West Lothian Question”.

He will be appearing in conversation with local historian Bruce Jamieson. Linlithgow artist Leo Du Feu will also take part in a panel discussion at the event.

A prominent West Lothian businesswoman has been appointed as a member of the Court of Queen Margaret University.

Cynthia Guthrie, joint managing director at the West Lothian-based Guthrie Group Ltd and former board member of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce, has taken up her appointment.

Ms Guthrie has been on the board of governors for West Lothian College for over four years and has also been chair of WhatELSE – the Edinburgh & Lothians Safety & Environmental Group –since 2011.

In her earlier career, Ms Guthrie held senior human resources and personnel positions throughout the UK, including Ferranti Defence Systems Plc and as group HR director for British Sky Broadcasting.

Professor Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of QMU, said: “I believe she can help us realise the ambitious and enterprising plans in our strategic plan.”

Ms Guthrie added: “It’s a great privilege to have been appointed as a member of Queen Margaret University’s Court. I’m looking forward to working with other court members, staff and students, to help add value to the university’s reputation as a leading centre of ideas and influence.”