Secrets of the Sea HouseInspired by a letter to the Times in 1809 about a mermaid sighting in Scotland, Elisabeth Gifford’s debut novel is a story of loss and longing set in the wild isolation of the Outer Hebrides. Moving to the island of Harris to restore the Sea House, Ruth finds herself struggling to understand the truth about her past – and at the same time finds the house holds a shocking secret. She must uncover what really happened in the Sea House a century earlier if the house is ever to become the home she longs for.

Elisabeth Gifford studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She has published poems in Cinnamon Press and The Oxford Magazine, and a story in Riptide.  She has written articles for The Times and The Independent.  She has recently completed The House of Hope, a biography of Dr Joyce Hill who opened a rescue centre for abandoned babies in China, published by Monarch Press and shortly to be translated into Chinese.  She has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the course led by Sir Andrew Motion at Royal Holloway College.  She is married with three children.

Elisabeth will be joined by Gaelic historian John MacAulay who will speak about the sea road between Norway and the Hebrides.  Her novel is based on the historical research in his book on sea people, the legends and evidence,  Sliochd nan Ron, Seal Folk and Ocean Paddlers.

Trailer for Secrets of the Sea House

Introduced and Chaired by Trish Botton, Manager, Culture & Information Services Comhairle nan Eilean Siar


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