Fearie Tales 2014

© Bookseeker Agency

© Bookseeker Agency

Last night, battling my agoraphobia, I made it for the first time to the final event of the 2014 Winter Words literary festival at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. This festival is the first in Scotland’s literary calendar, and each of five weekend evenings is rounded off with a couple of macabre short stories –  winners of their annual ‘Fearie Tales’ competition. I made a point of being there because my short story Da Trow i’ da Waa – a chiller set in Shetland – was the climax of the evening, sending festival-goers away until next year with a shiver in their spines.

The regular readers are actors (man-in-black) Dougal Lee and (woman-in-grey) Helen Logan. Dougal is a big guy, and sometimes at a tense moment he seems to hunch over his lectern, and glower at the audience over his specs. Helen, who read my story, has eyes that glitter, and a grin of delight at every ghoulish detail.

Although I say it myself, I’ve had a pretty good run at ‘Fearie Tales’, and I’m not about to stop, either. I dare say I’ll submit entries as long as they run the contest. Here’s a run-down of my successful entires so far – might as well blow my trumpet a bit!

2008 – Chagrin – and old man remembering a demon lover.
2009 – Vae Victis – horror at Rome’s northernmost outpost.
2010 – The Place of Safety – a tale of love, magic, and insanity.
2013 – On the Platform – a haunted railway station.
2014 – Da Trow i’ da Waa – old stones possessed.

The festival has some marvellous speakers and events, judging by the programme. Both the competition and the festival as a whole are well worth supporting and visiting if you can.