Waypoints - seascapes and stories of Scotland's West Coast is the result of many years of exploring the idea that coastal navigation and storytelling have a lot in common. The shape of Garbh Eilean, one of the Shiant Islands (just  about appearing through the mist in the above image)  is a recurring icon in the work. Illustrations and the cover image by Christine Morrison are also indebted to  several years of voyaging together.

Each section celebrates a craft which has brought me through the seascape linked to an inherited narrative. The book will appear with the Adlard Coles Nautical stamp, now an imprint of Bloomsbury. It is due out in February 2017.

Ian and Christine  presented their collaborative work at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, Tasmania 6 - 9 Feb, 2015. Christine also took part in a group exhibition of artists' responses to poetry.

These events led into a residency, meeting members of the artistic community and seeing some of the country thanks to the generosity of the community and to Creative Scotland for making the travel possible. See www.stephenmorrison.org and The Island Review on line journal:


  Cape Bruny Lighthouse, Tasmania

This research has helped set the structure of the second part of Ian's proposition that there is a useful comparison between storytelling and navigation. This is one of the illustrations in the second volume of Ian's non-fiction project –

Transitions - voyages through change (represented by Jenny Brown Associates)

Christine and Ian have also worked together on the images and texts from voyages which are being developed in partnership with an Lanntair, Stornoway as the exhibition, Grammar of Wavelength.
2017 venues include an Talla Solais, Ullapool and  Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy.

This body of work has  led into the illustrations which provide section headings for maritime
– a new and selected poems on sea themes, published by Saraband in 2016.

Ian's first novel A Book of Death and Fish was published in October 2014 by Saraband. It was launched at Faclan, Hebridean Book Festival,  with an interview with Robert MacFarlane. 
The book was discussed in depth along with Sara Baume's debut novel at the Edinburgh Book Festival in a session chaired by Peggy Hughes. 

Stuart Kelly engaged Ian in a one-to-one discussion of the novel at Wigtown Book Festival.

Ian Stephen’s vast and intricate A Book of Death and Fish (Saraband) hooked me in from its first paragraph –it is a Waterland for the Outer Hebrides, and seems to me a major moment in the modern literature of those islands.

Guardian Books of the Year 2014 part 1

I think it’s a landmark in Scottish literature and in contemporary fiction.

Robert Macfarlane (in filmed interview, Saraband)

Recent Events

Rathlin Sound Festival - Ian and Christine Morrison sailed from Lewis in the yacht Rebecca, to join in the festival programme, in 2014 and then returned in their own El Vigo to take part in the 2015 event.

 Morrison helms El Vigo to Gigha

Their event Voyage, developed for the 2013 Edinburgh International Storytelling Festival, with the singer Kirsty Law, was performed on Rathlin with the skipper and tin-whistler Ken Linklater  contributing tunes and percussion.

The show, this time with the sound-sculpture of Giles Perring, also opened Settle Stories festival in Yorkshire (9th to 12th Oct)

"Voyage is a superbly crafted storytelling experience in which narrative, song, music and evocative visuals all combine to draw us into the storytelling magic…. the perfect launch for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2013’  (Donald Smith, Festival Director ).

For a taste of 'Voyage', click here: http://vimeo.com/85604546

Commonwealth Poets United

 Close-up of a grain-elevator, Saskatchewan

Ian represented Scotland in Canada as part of the Scottish Poetry Library's  exchange  of 6 Scottish poets with 6 poets from Commonwealth countries.

Christine was funded to travel with Ian and make work in response, thanks to Creative Scotland – a comparison between a 3 night voyage to shetland and a 3 night train journey over the prairies.