Book launch: Celebrating Silvana McLean’s work in pictures and poetry

The Lit Room Press publishes its latest book on Friday 12th July at the Coach House, in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire. The Artist’s Tale is a celebration of the work of the late artist Silvana McLean, with poems inspired by her legacy.

The current Gracefield Art Gallery’s exhibition “Ladies First: 70 years of Women’s Art” features, alongside the work of both national and local important women artists from 1950 to the present day, a wall of Silvana’s pictures as a memorial to her.

Based in Moniaive, Silvana died last year after a long illness, leaving a body of acclaimed work – much of it in recent years inspired by the landscape of the far north – mainly Iceland and Shetland. Now a group of local poets (also based in Moniaive) has produced a book that celebrates her work through their eyes. The Artist’s Tale marries beautiful colour reproductions of her work on each page, alongside the poems that they inspired.

Moniaive published-poet Annie Wright founded The Lit Room Press in 2015. “Silvana’s work has inspired an astonishing range of wonderful poems that speak of the hidden layers that characterise her work,” she said. “In some instances, we have more than one personal interpretation of a particular work – and the results will be a challenge to readers to explore their own reactions to each painting.”

The project is supported by Silvana’s husband Alasdair McLean, who made available the high-quality photos (by Euan Adamson and Peter Roberts) and extracts from her sketch books. He also wrote the preface: “I am delighted that Silvana’s work has been reflected by these poems, which illustrate so well the mystery and depth of her art. In the same way that poetry paints pictures with words, Silvana aspired to paint the way a poet writes. The book is a wonderful tribute to her memory,” he says.

The Artist’s Tale (ISBN 978-1-9999482-1-4; £14.99) is on sale at Gracefield Arts Centre and Waterstones in Dumfries, the Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright, and in Moniaive at Watson’s Shop, Glenwhisk Café and The Hive, or by post from Annie Wright (

The book will also be available soon at Wigtown Festival Company’s shop at 11 North Main Street, Wigtown.

The poets will be reading from the book at:
Friday 12th July 7.30 pm The Coachhouse, Moniaive
Tuesday 16th July 6 for 6.15 pm Waterstones, Dumfries
Tuesday 30th July Thomas Tosh shop Thornhill
Friday 9th August 6 pm The Whitehouse Gallery, Kirkcudbright

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