Fundraiser for the Bhopal Medical Appeal with ALASDAIR GRAY, WILLIAM LETFORD, ALISON McMORLAND, GEORDIE MCINTYRE, and others..., at the 16th Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair
Friday 26 October 2012 at 8.30pm
Out of the Blue Drill Hall
30-38 Dalmeny Street
Admission Free! Donations Needed!
'Scottish Friends of Bhopal is a project of the Bhopal Medical Appeal. The BMA fund the only facilities in Bhopal that provide free, first class medical care to those affected by the 1984 Bhopal disaster and the ongoing water contamination; the Sambhavna Clinic and The Chingari Rehabilitation Centre. To date it has cared for more than 50,000 people. Please visit The Bhopal Medical Appeal website to learn more about the disaster and additional information about the clinics.
The SFB began in July 2011 and is aimed at providing support, fundraising events and awarness for Bhopal survivors and other victims of pollution. The people of Bhopal continue on their courageous, 27 year fight for justice, and still the factory site remains highly toxic and un-cleaned which continues to be a serious hazard and threat to the health and safety of all those who live within the community.
At present, an estimated 120,000–150,000 survivors of the disaster are still chronically ill. Over 25,000 have died of exposure-related illnesses and more are dying still. Tens of thousands of children in Bhopal have been born with birth defects and require lifelong care and support. TB is several times more prevalent in the gas-affected population and Cancer rates are on the rise.'
ALASDAIR GRAY has been a prolific producer of novels, short stories, plays, poems, pamphlets and literary criticism. He is also an accomplished artist who has painted remarkable murals and is the designer and illustrator of his own books and those of other writers.
Alasdair James Gray was born on 28 December 1934. At the age of five he was evacuated to Lanarkshire along with his mother and younger sister before being reunited with his father in Wetherby, Yorkshire, in 1941. After the war the family returned to Glasgow where Gray attended Whitehill Senior Secondary School. As a teenager Gray wrote a version of one of Aesop’s fables which he read, along with some poems, on a BBC children’s programme. At the same time he was writing and drawing pieces which appeared in the Whitehill School Magazine. After leaving school Gray studied at Glasgow School of Art where he specialised in murals. His experiences as a child and young adult in Glasgow would later form the basis for books One and Two of Lanark, his first and still his best known novel.
After graduating Alasdair Gray taught art in Lanarkshire and painted murals in churches and a synagogue. Many of these murals were lost when the buildings were destroyed, but some, together with Gray’s later work, still survive. Between 1960 and 1962 Gray worked as a scene painter in the Glasgow Pavilion and Glasgow Citizens theatres and from 1977 until 1978 he was employed as artist-recorder at Glasgow’s People’s Palace. In the 1960s and 1970s Gray wrote plays for radio, television and stage, many of which would be revised and reappear later in prose form. During this time Gray continued to work on the novel which would eventually be published as Lanark in 1981. Gray attended Philip Hobsbaum’s Glasgow writers’ group, along with fellow Glaswegians James Kelman and Tom Leonard.
Since 1981 Gray has worked mostly as novelist and short story writer. He has also worked as a writer in residence and later Professor of Creative Writing, along with James Kelman and Tom Leonard, at the University of Glasgow. A well known socialist and supporter of Scottish independence, Gray’s activism extends beyond the covers of his books, protesting against nuclear weapons at Faslane and against the second Gulf War in 2003.
GEORDIE MCINTYRE is a Glaswegian of Highland and Irish descent, his lifetime involvement in song, ballad and poetry is reflected in his singing, collecting and songwriting.
His early years as a radio and television technician and later as a Modern Studies teacher, coupled to his passion for the outdoors have in diverse ways fueled and complemented his central interest in folk music. He has an extensive repertoire and has sung at clubs and festivals in most corners of Britain and Ireland and more recently in the USA.
ALISON McMORLAND came to wider public notice in the early 1970's and since then has been active as a collector, performer, teacher editor and publisher. Not least has been her single-minded commitment to developing the traditional arts within the community both in England and in the last decade in Scotland. This wider concern and perspective has embraced pioneering and innovative work in; oral history and reminiscence, children's folklore, as well as voice workshops and Arts for Health.
Alison "stands out as one of the principal modern interpreters of an ancestral ballad singing tradition, breathing new life into ancient memorials by uniting scrupulous traditional fidelity with versatile and resourceful creative artistry." Hamish Henderson
"She is, in her field, one of the greatest singers to emerge and her importance cannot be too greatly stressed." Dick Gaughan
During the 70's and early 80's Alison recorded her solo album 'Belt Wi Colours Three' and the 'Funny Family', an LP that was widely regarded as a classic children's album. She worked throughout Britain and in a partnership with Peta Webb that resulted in one of Melody Maker's records of the year and one of Phillip Donnellan's films in the series 'Pioneers of the Folk Revival'. She contributed to various compilation albums and sang in the original Bill Bryden's production of the 'Mystery Plays' at the National Theatre with the Albion Band.
Since returning to live in Glasgow in 1989 she has shared with Jo Miller the first Traditional Arts Development position in Scotland, co-founded a community arts organisation and is a tutor on the Scottish Music Course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Glasgow. She now lives in Perthshire with her husband Geordie McIntyre.
WILLIAM LETFORD has worked as a roofer, on and off, since he was fifteen years old. He has received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust and an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary which allowed him to spend three months in the mountains of northern Italy helping to restore a medieval village. He has an M.Litt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow.