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Also in the news / Jen wins book prize, NFU meeting, SIC survey and memories of oil era

SHETLAND based poet Jen Hadfield has won the Highland Book Prize for her collection The Stone Age.

Presented by the Highland Society of London, the winning title was announced on Thursday during a celebration at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, high in the hills above Loch Ness.

The event featured readings and discussion with all four of the shortlisted authors: David Alston, for Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean (Edinburgh University Press); Cal Flyn, for Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape (William Collins); and Donald S Murray, for In a Veil of Mist (Saraband).

Trustee of the Highland Society of London Alex Ogilvie said the judging panel had a difficult job at their hands.

“The Stone Age does a rare thing in that every poem in the collection brings a fresh perspective to the reader; Hadfield makes the ordinary quite extraordinary,” he said. “This is a special collection that we are delighted to honour with the Highland Book Prize.”

In accepting the prize Hadfield said: “I was so glad to be part of this moving and important shortlist. I am deeply appreciative of this prize and so happy to celebrate it at Moniack Mhor.”

FARMERS and crofters are invited to an event in the Shetland Hotel to discuss the future of agricultural policy in Scotland.

The Lerwick event on 31 May, from 7pm, is part of a Scotland-wide roadshow which will see the NFU hosting similar meeting in 12 different locations.

All events will be attended by president Martin Kennedy and director of policy Jonnie Hall.

Regional policy advisor for Shetland Lorna Scott said: “Agricultural policy and support are about to go through huge changes in the next couple of years, so this is a great chance for members to discuss this and hear how this will affect us in Shetland.”

SHETLAND Islands Council has launched an online survey looking for feedback on customers’ experience of its services.

The survey, which is available online until 17 June, is looking for the community’s views on topics such as how satisfied people are with the customer service they have received and how well they think the council listens to their views.

Chief executive Maggie Sandison said: “The best way to find out how well we are doing is to ask the people who use our services.

“It’s important that we know what we’re doing right and where we could do better, and chart our improvement against past performance.  I hope that everyone will take the opportunity to get involved.”

A RESEARCHER from the University of Glasgow is looking to speak to local people about their memories and experiences of the social changes triggered by the development of Sullom Voe Terminal.

Dr Ewan Gibbs is coming to Shetland at the end of June and is asking local people to get in touch if they would like to share their stories with him.

In a letter to Shetland News, he writes: “Shetland is an important part of my research project which includes a study of the Sullom Voe oil terminal and gas plant.

“As part of my work, I am conducting oral histories with current and former workers, their family members and local residents who have connections with the terminal.

“If you would like to take part in an interview or have any questions about my research, please email me on ewan.gibbs@glasgow.ac.uk.”