UHI Inverness lecturer Dr Mandy Haggith has launched two new books within weeks of each other.
Briny, the latest collection of poems from Dr Haggith, was released at an event at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) campus in Oban on Monday, 13 March.
Dr Haggith, a Literature and Creative Writing lecturer, is also one of four Scottish authors who have written a collaborative book, Lost Eden, that was unveiled in Glasgow last month.
Briny reflects Dr Haggith’s passion for the sea, whether lapping the shores of the northwest Highlands where she lives or afloat on the wild waters of the Minch.
The poems chart sailing passages and swims, drawing deeply on intimate lived experience of the marine world.
Dr Haggith said:
“I was delighted to launch Briny in the Ocean Explorer Centre and to have the chance to discuss with marine scientists and sailors the way that poetry can help to express and explore our complex relationship with the sea.
“The book is entirely sea poetry, with poems about ocean plastic and climate change as well as about sea life from barnacles to bow-head whales, so there’s no better place than SAMS to launch it into the world.”
Leading Scottish poet Liz Lochhead has praised the book saying:
“The sensuous precision of her always accessible language coupled with an often MacCaig-like wit, make for a collection as salty and bracing as the sea itself.”
Last month an evening celebration was held at The Scottish Writers’ Centre on Sauchiehall Street to mark the culmination of a unique writing project involving Dr Haggith and fellow writers Margaret Elphinstone, Douglas Thompson, and DP Watt,
Lost Eden consists of a novella by each author on the theme of the formal garden as a metaphor for human civilization and the age-old ideal of paradise created on earth.
Each novella is made up of four smaller parts to echo the ‘parterre’ or ‘charbagh’ garden found in western and eastern traditions respectively.
All four writers consider how people have failed, but may yet succeed again, in their potential role as guardians of this Earth.
Each writer read from their work at the launch and reflected on the value of their collaboration.
Dr Haggith said:
“This has been a wonderful project to be part of and I’m very proud of the beautiful book that has been produced as a result.
“My novella is set at Inverewe Garden, where I was one of a group of artists in residence in 2019, and I’ve been really inspired by working collaboratively both at Inverewe and with the three other writers.”
Sharon MacFarlane, Tertiary Education Leader at UHI Inverness, said:
“Mandy’s expertise impacts positively on her teaching, and she is a great example of the talented and skilled teaching staff we have across UHI Inverness. We wish her every success.”
Professor Nicholas JP Owens, Director of SAMS, said:
“I felt greatly privileged that Mandy chose to launch her ocean-inspired poetry collection Briny in our visitor and outreach centre in Oban.
“Her poems touch both the heart and the head profoundly, with powerful and beautifully crafted metaphors evoking lasting images.
“Scientists and artists often share what interests and motivates us, and we hope to collaborate increasingly for mutual benefit.”
Dr Haggith lives in Assynt.
Her books include five poetry collections, a tree poetry anthology, a non-fiction book about paper and five novels, including a trilogy set in the Iron Age.
Her first novel, The Last Bear, won the Robin Jenkins Literary Award for Environmental Writing.
There will be an online launch of Briny at 5pm on World Poetry Day, Tuesday, 21 March. Free tickets available here: Briny – Sea Poetry Tickets, Tue 21 Mar 2023 at 17:00 | Eventbrite
Both Lost Eden and Briny are available, signed, from Dr Haggith’s website: Books for sale (mandyhaggith.net) Lost Eden is published by Zagava of Dusseldorf Lost Eden – ZAGAVA and Briny is published by Red Squirrel Press Briny | Mandy Haggith | Red Squirrel Press