The Raven's Nest

Wednesday 16 November | 15-16:30

Edinburgh Panel event / author reading

Free (ticketed)

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Join author Sarah Thomas for a special reading from The Raven's Nest, her ecological memoir set in Iceland's otherworldly Westfjords.

This reading is inspired by the Icelandic tradition of kvöldvaka, which began on farms in the dark winter months. A member of the household would read aloud to the others as they performed the necessary wool work of knitting, darning, spinning and mending, all sharing the light of a single fish oil lamp.

For this kvöldvaka, guests are invited to bring their making and mending projects to do as Sarah reads, or just to listen and be transported to sixty-six degrees North. Carrying threads from recent stitching workshops, RBGE artist in residence Natalie Taylor will present Sarah with the Keepers of the Soil cape to wear during the reading.

Collectively stitched by hand over the course of a year, the cape contains 16 symbolic samples of soil from the Central Belt collected alongside 100 pilgrims, along the route of their Pilgrimage for COP26 from Dunbar to Glasgow in November 2021. It continues to be worn at various occasions as a symbol of hope for ecological repair and restoration and will be exhibited at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2023.

Venue information

The Botanic Cottage

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Arboretum Place


You can find more information about accessibility at the Botanics here: If you have any access requirements or questions relating to this event, please do not hesitate to email

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