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TITLE
'The Envoy of the Black Pine' (1)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_CLIO_GRAY_01
PLACENAME
Tain
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Tain
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Clio Gray
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1271
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'The Envoy of the Black Pine' by Clio Gray, due to be published in August 2008. It is read here by the author.

'I'm going to read some extracts from my novel, 'The Envoy of the Black Pine', which although not set in the Highlands, or even Scotland has certainly been influenced by those landscapes in my descriptions. The action mostly takes place in Lower Slaughter near Stroud, and the island of Hiiumaa in the Estonian Bay, both quite a long way from where I live although not dissimilar in the way I describe the beaches and the moors.

The first section introduces two of the main characters, Griselda and Oravo.

'Griselda told the stiff-lipped, silent, humpbacked Oravo all about her island home; the miles of cliffs that wrinkled about the bays which shone like nacre above the shell-white sand, the rows of angled wooden fences that racked the rough ground into fields for the barley and the rye, the crops of cabbages and beets that kept their stomachs quiet throughout the winter. She told him of the great meteorite that had once fallen from outside their world, and left a crater lined with stone that was black and sharp as glass, made the deep water within it shine even in its depths. She told him lastly of the place near her village where the old burial grounds had been, where families had once burned their dead on pyres and buried their bones beneath low cairns of stones, of the great red boulder at its centre where their names were carved, so that it was covered almost to the top with centuries upon centuries of the details of her ancestors' lives.

She told him of those childhood days she had played in the bays around Ristnaneem, feeling her toes sink into the tide-soaked sand, so wet that when you pressed your foot upon it, the sand changed colour as the water was pushed away beneath your weight, how the waves unfurled a continuous ribbon all across the bay, and rolled and broke all at once so the dunes seemed to ring, and you could feel the singing of it through the sand and your feet, right up into your bones.'

Clio Gray was born in Yorkshire, spent much of her childhood in Devon, and has been living in the Highlands of Scotland for the past fifteen years. She works at her local library in Tain and spends the rest of her time writing books. She won the Harry Bowling literary prize in 2004, followed by the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Award in 2006 for 'I Should Have Listened Harder', set in a Siberian prison mine. Her collection of short stories, 'Types of Everlasting Rest', was published in 2007.

Clio considers herself to be a 'natural librarian', drawing upon years of compulsive list making and information gathering to help create her inspirational plots. Her writing has attracted a lot of interest. Jan Rutherford of the Scottish Book Trust was impressed with Clio's work and paired her up with a mentor, Alan Bisset, to work on her first novel - 'Guardians of the Key' (2006), the first in a series of historical thrillers featuring Whilbert Stroop, a finder of missing persons and compulsive maker of lists. A sequel, 'The Roaring of the Labyrinth', was published in 2007.

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'The Envoy of the Black Pine' (1)

ROSS: Tain

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Clio Gray

This audio extract is from 'The Envoy of the Black Pine' by Clio Gray, due to be published in August 2008. It is read here by the author.<br /> <br /> 'I'm going to read some extracts from my novel, 'The Envoy of the Black Pine', which although not set in the Highlands, or even Scotland has certainly been influenced by those landscapes in my descriptions. The action mostly takes place in Lower Slaughter near Stroud, and the island of Hiiumaa in the Estonian Bay, both quite a long way from where I live although not dissimilar in the way I describe the beaches and the moors.<br /> <br /> The first section introduces two of the main characters, Griselda and Oravo.<br /> <br /> 'Griselda told the stiff-lipped, silent, humpbacked Oravo all about her island home; the miles of cliffs that wrinkled about the bays which shone like nacre above the shell-white sand, the rows of angled wooden fences that racked the rough ground into fields for the barley and the rye, the crops of cabbages and beets that kept their stomachs quiet throughout the winter. She told him of the great meteorite that had once fallen from outside their world, and left a crater lined with stone that was black and sharp as glass, made the deep water within it shine even in its depths. She told him lastly of the place near her village where the old burial grounds had been, where families had once burned their dead on pyres and buried their bones beneath low cairns of stones, of the great red boulder at its centre where their names were carved, so that it was covered almost to the top with centuries upon centuries of the details of her ancestors' lives. <br /> <br /> She told him of those childhood days she had played in the bays around Ristnaneem, feeling her toes sink into the tide-soaked sand, so wet that when you pressed your foot upon it, the sand changed colour as the water was pushed away beneath your weight, how the waves unfurled a continuous ribbon all across the bay, and rolled and broke all at once so the dunes seemed to ring, and you could feel the singing of it through the sand and your feet, right up into your bones.'<br /> <br /> Clio Gray was born in Yorkshire, spent much of her childhood in Devon, and has been living in the Highlands of Scotland for the past fifteen years. She works at her local library in Tain and spends the rest of her time writing books. She won the Harry Bowling literary prize in 2004, followed by the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Award in 2006 for 'I Should Have Listened Harder', set in a Siberian prison mine. Her collection of short stories, 'Types of Everlasting Rest', was published in 2007.<br /> <br /> Clio considers herself to be a 'natural librarian', drawing upon years of compulsive list making and information gathering to help create her inspirational plots. Her writing has attracted a lot of interest. Jan Rutherford of the Scottish Book Trust was impressed with Clio's work and paired her up with a mentor, Alan Bisset, to work on her first novel - 'Guardians of the Key' (2006), the first in a series of historical thrillers featuring Whilbert Stroop, a finder of missing persons and compulsive maker of lists. A sequel, 'The Roaring of the Labyrinth', was published in 2007.