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Nan Shepherd: Writer Zakiya McKenzie & Composer Colin Riley


Saturday 25th Sept. 11.30am - 12.30pm BST (Online)

 Join writer Zakiya McKenzie and composer Colin Riley for an artistic exploration of Nan Shepherd, words, music and the natural world.

Colin Riley’s 2017 song cycle In Place includes a setting of Nan Shepherd's poem 'Water over Stone', while Zakiya McKenzie has drawn parallels between the relationship of writer and Cairngorms in The Living Mountain to ‘Say feh’, the Jamaican patois term to initiate a dare. In this literary-music crossover event, Zakiya McKenzie and Colin Riley will be sharing their work, not least that inspired in part by Aberdeen-born nature writer Nan Shepherd, who continues to have a broad and lasting impact on the modern genre of nature writing. 


Zakiya McKenzie is a poet, non-fiction writer and storyteller, and was writer-in-residence for Forestry England in 2019 and Bristol’s Black & Green Ambassador in 2017. She regularly leads nature, art and writing workshops, including one on Caribbean storytelling for primary schools. Her work has featured at the Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol, the Institute for Modern Languages Research at the University of London, the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, the Free Word Centre, at Cheltenham Literature Festival, on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Farming Today and Inside Out West. She has written for Smallwoods Magazine, The Willowherb Review and BBC Wildlife Magazine. A volunteer at Ujima Community Radio Station, she speaks regularly on the changes needed to ensure black, indigenous and people of colour are equally represented in the environmental movement.


'Wry, understated and slightly bonkers’ (Guardian), Colin Riley’s music draws on a range of elements including new technologies, improvisation, song-writing and large-scale classical form. His latest albums include Shenanigans and In Place, which draws on nature writing by Robert Macfarlane, Nan Shepherd, Daljit Nagra, Edward Thomas and others. Other recent works include Warp and Weft a concerto for 2 cellos, Rock Paper Scissors (Ensemble Bash) and Stream-Shine (Philippa Mo). Colin has just completed a large-scale piece, Earth Voices, for the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Sweden and a commemorative piece for the Royal Academy of Music, London. He is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University, a mentor for Making Music’s Adopt a Music-Creator Scheme, runs his own label, Squeaky Kate, and writes a regular blog about composing called Riley Notes.

In association with 

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