‘A toweringly original - multi-genre, documentary, polyphonic, heteroglossic - tour-de-force from MacGillivray, reminiscent of her The Last Wolf of Scotland in its unique and restless form and visionary imagination. No one else is writing like this. No one has ever written like this. Except maybe Kristjan Norge.’ – Steve Ely, Broken Sleep Books (Books of the Year 2023)
MacGillivray is the Highland name of Scottish writer, artist and musician Kirsten Norrie. Her fourth poetry book Ravage: An Astonishment of Fire was published by Bloodaxe Books on 16 November 2023. An online launch hosted by Bloodaxe was livestreamed on 21 November 2023, with in-person launch events taking place in November and December at the Scottish Poetry Library and the Woodstock Poetry Festival.
Ravage: An Astonishment of Fire draws together MacGillivray's extensive research into the life and work of Norwegian-Shetlandic poet Kristján Norge, who vanished from Eilean a’ Bhàis in the Outer Hebrides in 1961. Comprising two previously unpublished manuscripts by Norge, Optik: A History of Ghost (1950) and Ravage (1961), this collection also includes rare original material, giving insight into Norge's troubled existence and mysterious disappearance. Ravage: a film by MacGillivray accompanies the book and can be seen via a QR code at the back of the book (or scroll down).
MacGillivray was shortlisted for New Music Performer of the Year, one of the New Music Scotland Awards, in 2017. She incorporates her extraordinary music-making into her poetry readings. Her second collection, The Nine of Diamonds: Surroial Mordantless, was published by Bloodaxe in October 2016, followed by The Gaelic Garden of the Dead in 2019. Her fourth poetry book Ravage: An Astonishment of Fire is published by Bloodaxe Books in November 2023. After living for many years in Edinburgh, MacGillivray is now based in Oxford.
‘The subtitle “An Astonishment of Fire” says all you need to know about MacGillivray’s book: this is explosive work. Ravage presents the life and work of ... Norwegian-Shetlandic poet Kristján Norge, who “vanished” from the Outer Hebrides in 1961. MacGillivray invites us to live and breathe Norge’s last days, demons and all.’ – Chris McCabe, Librarian, National Poetry Library, in The Bookseller (Autumn 2023 Highlights)
Backlisted: Basil Bunting - Briggflatts, Episode #201, Tuesday 12 December 2023
A special edition of the Backlisted podcast devoted to a discussion about the late Basil Bunting’s long poem Briggflatts was recorded at the Woodstock Poetry Festival on 2 December 2023. Hosts John Mitchinson and Andy Miller were joined by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley and poet MacGillivray, who had just launched her new book Ravage: An Astonishment of Fire at the festival.
Tuesday 21 November 2023, 7pm GMT, joint livestreamed launch event
MacGillivray launched her new book alongside Matthew Caley and Abigail Parry at this online event celebrating the publication of their new poetry books.
The poets read live and discussed their work with each other and with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley. This free Bloodaxe launch event was streamed on YouTube Live and is now available on our YouTube channel. MacGillivray read second in each set. A new video with enhanced audio is availble below.
Tuesday 21 November 2023, 7pm GMT, joint livestreamed launch event (enhanced audio version)
Ravage: a film by MacGillivray
The fictional work The Wind of Voices, included as an appendix at the end of MacGillivray’s book Ravage: An Astonishment of Fire, is based on the diaries of Kristján Norge’s friend, Luce Moncrieff. Ravage: a film by MacGillivray also draws upon those diaries, filmed on Eilean a’ Bhàis in the Outer Hebrides, where Kristján Norge spent his final months, with Ginny Fitzroy as Luce Moncrieff. Cinematography: MacGillivray, Anonymous Bosch. Producer: A.R. Thompson. Sound: MacGillivray, Ben Chatwin. In memory of Kristján Norge (1920-1961). Spoken by Luce Moncrieff.
[25 October 2023]