News & Events > Commemorating the Iolaire disaster

Commemorating the Iolaire disaster

November 1, 2018

As the Women Lay Dreaming, the debut novel by acclaimed Hebridean writer Donald S Murray, tells the heartbreaking story of the sinking of HMY Iolaire shortly after the end of World War I.

Published on November 8, it describes the events leading up to January 1, 1919, when the ship sank just outside Stornoway harbour, Lewis, killing more than 200 servicemen on the very last leg of their long journey home from war. It’s one of the worst maritime disasters in British history, but one that has been largely forgotten.

As the Women Lay Dreaming is highly evocative literary fiction, whose authenticity is informed by the author’s own family roots in Lewis. It chronicles the life of Tormod Morrison, who was marked indelibly by the tragedy, and his grandchildren who come to stay with him in the Hebrides during the 1930s. Ultimately the novel reveals how a single event can so dramatically impact communities, individuals and, indeed, our very souls.

Alistair Braidwood, of the Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae, describes As the Women Lay Dreaming as “a powerful book…which reveals new layers with every reading. It is history brought to life through fiction, and when it is done in a manner as moving and beautiful as this it is invaluable.”

Donald S Murray will be launching the book at a series of events around Scotland:

Nov 7: Waterstones Aberdeen

Nov 8: Waterstones Inverness

Nov 10: An Lanntair, Stornoway

Nov 12: Waterstones Glasgow

Nov 13: Waterstones Edinburgh

Nov 22-24: North Uist

Dec 4: Shetland Library

Feb 14-15, 2019: Pitlochry Winter Words Festival