Books Battle Bigotry

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December 1 2015

Daniel read from a variety of his books
Author Daniel Gray reading for the audience

Football and travel writing fans descended on the Borders this week for a special event celebrating the ‘beautiful game’ and the beauty of Scotland.

On Saturday 28th November author Daniel Gray brought his unique combination of football, travel writing and social history to the Borders in a special free event at Netherdale hosted by Gala Fairydean Rovers.

Daniel Gray is the author of Stramash: Tackling Scotland’s Towns and Teamsa football travelogue which takes him across 12 Scottish towns and teams during a football season. He also hosts STV Edinburgh’s People’s History Show and has written several books including Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters: Travels Through England’s Football Provinces and Homage to Caledonia: Scotland and the Spanish Civil War, which was turned into a documentary by STV in 2009. Last month Daniel was nominated for a prestigious Saltire Award in the Non-Fiction category for his book ‘This is Scotland’ which saw him collaborate with photographer Alan McCredie and visit places across Scotland.

During the event he read from a number of his books and took questions from the audience about his adventures across Scottish towns and football clubs.

The event was organised by Nil by Mouth and supported by Book Week Scotland which ran from Monday 23 – Sunday 29 November 2015. Lucky guests won signed copies of Daniel’s books and everyone who attended received a complimentary copy of the ‘Journeys’ book which was especially produced for Book Week.

The event is part of Nil by Mouth’s ‘Kiss Bigotry Goodbye’ campaign which has seen hundreds of people from across the football community in Scotland take part in events and  online campaigns aimed at highlighting the positive role football plays across the country. With a third of all sectarian arrests related to the game it’s important that the often silent majority of fans who deplore such behaviour are given a vehicle to remind society that it really can be ‘the beautiful game.’

Daniel pitchside with GFR Secretary Graeme McIvor
Daniel pitchside with GFR Secretary Graeme McIvor

Daniel Gray Said:
‘This is a football club at the heart of its community, and one of those great examples of the good work football does. I was humbled by the Gala welcome and all those folk that turned up in such testing weather, and am thankful to Nil by Mouth for putting the event on. It was special for me to have a tour of the mesmerising main stand too. I hope to be back in the future as it is one of those places and teams that gets right under your skin. I slept in my red and black scarf!’

GFR Secretary Graeme McIver Said:
“It was our great pleasure to welcome Daniel to the club and listen to him reading from his books on football and travel. Daniel was highly engaging, articulate and funny throughout, switching seamlessly from tales about small town sporting heroes such as Wee Willie Crilley, a pre-World War II footballing legend at Alloa Athletic to his entertaining take on the Scots/English Border at the Carter Bar. The highlight for me was hearing him read his piece on Galashiels from the book, “This is Scotland” which paints a brilliant and evocative picture of this old mill town and includes his reflections on our historic stand here at Netherdale. We are grateful to Dave Scott, the Campaign Director of our community partners Nil By Mouth who organised the fantastic event as part of Scottish National Book Week and the charity’s Kiss Bigotry Goodbye Campaign. We would also like to thank Gala Rugby Club and Scott Emond in particular for the use of their facilities to host the event.”

Daniel and the winners of his Book draw
Daniel and the winners of his Book draw