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Arts / Literature, food and music on board the Swan

Swan under sail.

A LITERARY evening will be held on the Swan in September – with music and food on offer too.

Whilst berthed alongside in Lerwick Harbour, guests will hear readings from John Goodlad’s new book The Salt Roads.

It explores Shetland and its relationship to the rest of Europe, told through the salt fish trade that powered the local economy for more than 200 years.

This will be accompanied by music from Swan skipper Maggie Adamson, as well as drinks and bacalao, a traditional salt fish stew which was a commonly eaten by fishermen at the whaling.

All of this links to Goodlad’s book, which covers two centuries, a vast geographical area and shows how many poets, novelists, musicians and artists have been inspired by the world of fishing.

Taking place on the evening of Friday 23 September, the event will be held in the middle of Shetland Arts’ Wordplay festival. There will only be 12 tickets available.

Shetland Arts commissions lead Rachel Dominy said: “Literature lovers across Shetland and beyond look forward every year to Wordplay.

“We’re delighted this year that The Swan Trust event will supplement the busy schedule and give audiences the opportunity for a unique Shetland experience.”

Goodlad, who is also a Swan Trust trustee, said: “There is no better place to launch my new book than in the mess room of the Swan during Shetland’s festival of literature. It should be a great evening with the finest bacalao and the best of Shetland fiddle music.

“It is also fitting that all proceeds from the evening will go to the Swan Trust, and I am grateful to those involved and local businesses, for donating their time and produce.”

The bacalao will be made by local food and drink expert Marian Armitage.

Her second book, Food Made in Shetland, is also being released this year and features the traditional bacalao recipe she will be making for the event.

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“The foods and flavours of traditional Shetland cooking have been heavily influenced by our historic fishing links,” she said.

“The work of the Swan Trust really keeps these alive and I am very much looking forward to cooking and serving this delicious salt cod dish in such a unique and fitting setting.”

All proceeds from the evening will go to the Swan Trust, the charity that maintains and operates Shetland’s historic sail boat. 

To book a place, priced at £45 per person, e-mail

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