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So we're back in the Highlands & Islands!

Here we see Sheena on the eastern coast of the tiny island of Raasay, which is situated between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland. We were hiking to Hallaig, one of the better-known sites of the Highland Clearances. Hallaig is famous because Sorley MacLean (19111996), arguably the greatest poet ever to write in Gaelic, gave that name to his most celebrated poem -- a work that treats one of those infamous Clearances.  Most of the people cleared from Raasay journeyed to the colonies that eventually became Canada. Sheena and I, having travelled the other way, from Canada to Skye and Raasay, left our car when the road ran out and followed a dirt-grass track slowly upwards. The hike seemed a tad longer than the sign-promised 3.2 kilometres.
But I had best come clean as the mundane truth emerges in this photo to the left. We are back in the Highlands and Islands in imagination only. In truth I am hard at work writing captions. This shot of Sheena at the cairn is one of 60+ images that turn up in Flight of the Highlanders: The Making of Canada. I toil in the belief that all these photos and images mightily enhance the book. Either I'm right or the devil makes me do it.  You'll be able to judge for yourself come September.

Ken McGoogan
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See the most exciting Arctic sortie of 2019

Here's a fabulous two-minute video about the most exciting Arctic expedition of 2019. Its maker,  videographer Garry Tutte, is one of the guys heading out to follow in the footsteps of explorer John Rae. 
Ken McGoogan
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Anyone for a writers' retreat in Haliburton?

So we’re launching a one-week writers’ retreat in the Haliburton Highlands.
From Sunday July 7 to Friday July 12, I’ll serve as writer-in-residence at Tamarack Lodge and Art Centre. Tamarack is two and a half hours north of Toronto. Situated on a motor-free lake, the lodge comprises four cottages and a “big house” with a separate meeting space.
I’ll lead workshops for five mornings (Monday to Friday) from 9 to 12. You can spend your afternoons writing . . . or you can go swimming, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or forest walking. Or you can mix and match. Evening activities will include a campfire reading, a presentation by the writer-in-residence, and an evening of student readings.
You will stay in one of the four cottages. Tamarack will provide lunch and dinner and supplies for a continental breakfast.
The idea is to check in on Sunday July 7 between 3 and 5 p.m. Check out will be after lunch on Friday July 12. The cost will be $1150 per person, single-room accommodation, meals included. If anyone wants to share a room with bunkbeds or twin beds, the cost is $ 995, but you have to register with a roommate from the beginning.
 We have only eleven spots and they are available first-come first-serve. The person to contact is Barbara Kraus, co-owner of Tamarack Lodge. She can be reached at or 705-559-5972. 
In the workshop, Telling True Stories, we’ll focus on writing memoir, autobiography, travel articles – or whatever you are writing. We’ll look at point of view, writing scenes, handling flashbacks. And we’ll do some in-class freewriting and sharing. You will need to bring a laptop to make this possible (no printer available).
Also, after you have registered with Barbara, I hope you will send me a 1,500-word work sample which I will distribute for workshopping among all participants.
For the record, our writer-in-residence (that would be me) has earned a teaching-excellence award from University of Toronto (continuing education) and serves as a mentor in the low-residency MFA program in creative nonfiction at University of King’s College in Halifax.

Ken McGoogan
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Nicola Sturgeon shines in Toronto visit

OK, this is huge. The fabulous Nicola Sturgeon turned up in Toronto to open a new Scottish government office in Canada. She is setting it up to encourage investment and tourism, and quite rightly, too. This morning the First Minister of Scotland turned up to open the Toronto Stock Exchange. You can see her doing that in the video clip below. All this is excellent. But the most exciting news, and I know you'll agree, is that she was handed a gift . . . and it turned to be a copy of How the Scots Invented Canada! The handsome, well-dressed chap who gave it to her is James Waddell, Vice President and Chief Internal Auditor at TMX Group Limited. And he kindly thought to send me the above photo and the link below. So James: huge thanks for making my day! And for those of you who have read this far, here's a bit of news. My next books is called Flight of the Highlanders: The Making of Canada. And it comes out in September. You can be sure I will send one copy to James Waddell and another to my favorite contemporary politician. You guessed it: that's her in the red jacket.

Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.