Contact us on 01851 705743 or

Author Donald S Murray is more used to crossing the Minch. But this autumn, he will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean to research a new book set in Canada and the US during the Roaring Twenties.

The as-yet-unnamed novel is largely based on the experience of Highlanders and islanders who emigrated to North America seeking a new life. 

Murray’s book will focus on the indentured men who fled farms in Ontario and Manitoba to seek better prospects in Toronto and across the border in American cities such as Detroit and Chicago. He will also appear at various Detroit and Chicago venues during his two-week-long visit.

Murray, a semi-retired English teacher who now lives in Shetland and previously taught art The Nicolson Institute and Sgoil Lionacleit, has authored numerous books and is set to be a guest at the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

His latest title was For the Safety of All, an exploration of Scotland’s lighthouses through history, storytelling and the voices of the lightkeepers.

Taking place in Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, the event is Canada’s largest and longest-running literary festival and is now in its 43rd year. The festival presents “a vision to inspire, empower and connect through the art of stories.”

Murray also plans to meet dancer Emma Draves during his North American trip. She used Donald’s poem, Sphagnum Moss, as inspiration for a new work debuting later this month at the Death’s Door Dance Festival in Door County, Wisconsin, USA. The poem is a piece Donald wrote after many childhood hours spent on the South Dell moor.

More about Donald on