Last week, Sam, Tom and I enjoyed spending a few days at Xpo North – a fantastic celebration of Scotland’s creative industries, that’s held every year in the Highlands.
All kinds of creative endeavour are showcased at Xpo North — from music and screen, to fashion and craft — and I was honoured to have been invited to contribute to a few sessions in the publishing strand.
Emily Dewhurst and I spoke about the challenges of producing illustrated books as independent publishers.
Jenny Brown and I enjoyed talking about the development of KDD and our different imprints and publishing models. (Jenny’s a literary agent who founded the Edinburgh International Book Festival and – though she probably doesn’t know it – one of my long-standing publishing heroines).
. . . and Jenny and I later joined Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland, Sheena Barclay from Harper Collins and Charlotte Dryburgh from Shetland Amenity Trust for a panel discussion focusing on our very different roles as women in the Scottish publishing industry.
I was really looking forward to other sessions at the festival, but I hadn’t quite expected everything to be so inspiring.
It was a real privilege to chat with Nicole Camphaug and April Pigalak, who were among a group of women who’d travelled to Inverness from Nunavut to talk about their important work with the circumpolar crafters network (I’ll say more about that work another time).
Xpo North provides a great platform for starting conversations, and continuing dialogues. In one particularly thought-provoking session, bringing Lagos and South Uist together, Chibundo Onuzo and Beatrix Wood spoke (and sung) about the importance of place and identity in their work.
Outside the seminars and panels, there were lots of opportunities to take the conversations forward.
. . . with journalist Peter Urpeth (responsible for the publishing strand of xpo north)
Dwynwen Hopcroft from Loch Ness Knitting
And this talented crocheter, with whom I had a great discussion about disability, crafting, and design (if you are out there, please get in touch and tell me your name!).
There was even time to listen to some music
and generally have some fun.
Thanks, xpo north, for a brilliant few days. We’ll definitely be back next year!