John Rae Festival 4th to 6th May 2018
Following the success of the inaugural Festival in May 2017, the John Rae Society will hold a John Rae Festival from 4th to 6th May 2018. We are thrilled to be joined by author and Patron of the John Rae Society, Ken McGoogan, whose 2001 book, Fatal Passage, told John Rae’s story in vivid detail and has inspired many who have read it to campaign for better recognition for Dr Rae’s achievements, and to join the John Rae Society.
We were delighted with the response to the 2017 Festival and grateful for everyone’s interest and goodwill. Over four hundred people from Orkney, the wider UK, the US, Canada and Germany, attended events, and friendships were formed which have opened up further opportunities to raise awareness of John Rae and the Hall of Clestrain. Through sales of raffle and lottery tickets, books, merchandise and donations, we raised over £4000 during the Festival.
Ken McGoogan is a widely-travelled writer with an award-winning career as a journalist spanning two decades. A long-time literary editor at The Calgary Herald, he has also published three novels and Canada’s Undeclared War, a controversial work of non-fiction. While researching Fatal Passage, McGoogan travelled to England, Scotland and the Arctic, where he placed a plaque commemorating John Rae’s achievements on the shores of Rae Strait. His latest book is Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage. He is now planning an expedition in spring 2019 with Scottish explorer, David Reid, to retrace John Rae’s steps in the Arctic. Find out more at https://www.arcticreturn.com/ and http://kenmcgoogan.blogspot.co.uk/p/home_11.html.
The programme for the 2018 Festival is as follows:
Friday 4th May Ken McGoogan will give a public lecture at the Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall, at 7.30pm. The lecture will be free to attend, but donations towards the Hall of Clestrain project will be welcome, and John Rae Society raffle, lottery tickets and merchandise will be for sale. Signed copies of Ken McGoogan’s books will also be available.
Saturday 5th May Hall of Clestrain all-day event to enable local people and interested visitors to Orkney to meet members of the John Rae Society, hear about our plans for the restoration and future of the Hall, and see our progress since our last open day in September 2017. We have a rolling PowerPoint presentation about the history of the building and the Society’s plans, as well as a scale model of the Hall and various survey documents which will be available to view.
There will be refreshments and a sales table of John Rae Society raffle, lottery tickets, merchandise and another opportunity to buy Ken McGoogan’s books. John Rae Society membership forms will also be available.
Sunday 6th May Hall of Clestrain all-day event following the same format as Saturday, followed by the screening of John Walker’s 2008 documentary film Passage about John Rae’s search for Franklin at 7.30pm in Stromness Town Hall. The film showing will be free to attend, but donations towards the Hall of Clestrain project will be welcome, and John Rae Society raffle, lottery tickets and merchandise will be for sale. Signed copies of Ken McGoogan’s books will also be available.
The Festival will be another milestone in the John Rae Society’s project to restore the Hall of Clestrain and we are planning more events and activities for the future.