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Author Marian Pallister has launched her new book in Lochgilphead.
At a meet and greet on Saturday July 14, Marian unveiled the latest of her 10 books, Not a Plack the Richer, following from the success of The Crinan Canal and Cruachan: The Hollow Mountain.
Not a Plack the Richer focuses on the way that specific industries and the people who have shaped them have changed both lives and landscapes.
Marian tells the story of Argyll’s mining past through letters, official records, maps and other documentary material, set beside the personal experiences of those involved at all levels of the industry and the communities it shaped.
Marian said the idea came from researching her previous book, as well as some personal motivation.
‘I had a great-great-great-whatever-grandfather who drowned in a mining accident in the early 1800s so I wondered what might have happened to the people who worked in mines in Argyll.
‘There are stories in all of those mines of accidents – some of them terrible, some of them fatal. I’d got it into my head the fact that this talk of “health and safety gone mad” is just silly. We do actually need these things.
‘When you went into the history of these mines, you could see that we need every safety and health provision in the book because some very nasty things have happened. Even in very small mines, you can get a tunnel that can collapse or a flash flood and that’s possibly the end of somebody.’
Marian added: ‘The many different mining ventures throughout the West Highlands in the past were often much more about lining the pockets of speculators than enriching the lives of the local communities.
‘Themes of social justice are most important to me, especially when I can show the parallels between past and present lives.’
Marian was raised in Glasgow but has hopped all across the globe, living in Perthshire, France, Italy, Lanarkshire and, for the past 20 years, Argyll, contributing with tutoring in English and communications at Argyll College.
Journalism took her around the world, covering the effects of conflict and natural disasters on communities, which is evident in her book covering the effect of an often dangerous industry on a community.
In terms of looking to the future, Marian is keeping coy. ‘There’s all sorts of ideas going on and I’m hoping to move on with pretty soon.
‘I’m doing creative writing courses for the college and that’s actually a great deal of fun because it takes me out of that zone. If you’re supporting people as their talents grow, that is superb and we have very talented writers of poetry and fiction in this area so it’s great to be able to nurture that.’
10 books, probably 10 cakes later. 08_a29marianpallister02
Not a Plack the Richer is the story of Argyll’s mining industry. 08_a29marianpallister05
Marian Pallister was signing copies of her new book for fans. 08_a29marianpallister06