Class acts

27th October 2000 at 01:00
The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh is one of the places to head for tonight if even further stimulation is required following what is bound to be yet another undoubtedly successful annual TESSEdinburgh City Council conference earlier in the day.

It is the location for an evening of celebration, organised by the magazine Cencrastus, of the life and work of the late Iain Crichton Smith, who spent most of his career combining his writing with teaching English at Oban High Schools. Indeed, almost in reflection of these twin talents, the occasion is rather dominated by teachers-turned-writers. Hugh McMillan from Dumfries will appear, as will Bernard MacLaverty, whose classroom experience was forged at St Augustine's High in Edinburgh and on Islay.

Dennis O'onnell, a former English teacher in West Lothian, will also pay homage. And then there's Tony McManus, scourge of Higher Still, assistant principal teacher of English at Queensferry High and no mean guitarist and singer (but not to be confused with megastar Tony McManus, who is an even meaner guitarist but not, as far as we know, a scourge of Higher Still). His contribution will be to perform The SQA Republic, penned by Adam McNaughtan in honour of the exams crisis and which you read first in this column - as always.

Lest you think that only school teachers pay homage to Crichton Smith, Anne Lorne Gillies (Strathclyde), Edwin Morgan (Glasgow University) and Margaret Bennett (Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies) are also on the bill.

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