MacGillivray reads extracts from her new poetry collection, The Nine of Diamonds, a book in nine parts which plays the Butcher – the Duke of Cumberland – in a Gaelic version of the ghost gamble. Given his command on the back of a nine of diamonds – the Curse of Scotland – that the Highlanders should all be slaughtered, the persecution of Jacobites after the battle of Culloden was one of the worst atrocities carried out on British soil. Written on Skye and in Edinburgh in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, the book is set in a phantasmagorical landscape, part Scottish, part mythical. MacGillivray calls the book a "wish-text”, a poetic spell to turn Cumberland’s curse back on himself.
MacGillivray is the Highland name of writer and artist Kirsten Norrie, known especially for her outlandish performance art, staged as far afield as Las Vegas, Berlin and Greenland as well as in Edinburgh, Oxford and Birmingham. Her cross-genre work has included — and mixed — poetry, song-writing, music, sculpture and photography. Published by Bloodaxe in November 2016, The Nine of Diamonds is only her second book of poetry, following The Last Wolf of Scotland, published by Pighog in 2013, a work featuring outlaws and showmen from Scottish and American history.
To get into the mood of this usual book, check out MacGillivray’s short trailer film on Vimeo (vimeo.com/185835237): like this video, a MacGillivray/Anonymous Bosch production. And for more more information, see bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/the-nine-of-diamonds-1127