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The Potter's Tale
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Biography, History
Publication Date
11 May 2017
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
8pp b/w plates

The Potter's Tale

A Colonsay Life
by Dion Alexander - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore


'a gentle, impressionistic book ... at times it is so vividly descriptive that you feel as if you have been transported to a simpler – and probably happier – time and place' – Roger Cox, The Scotsman

The Potter’s Tale is a story of one man’s journey of discovery and self discovery on one of the most beautiful islands on the Hebrides – Colonsay. Dion Alexander was ‘the Colonsay Potter’ through the 1970s and his own story is interwoven with that of some of the legendary characters of the islands in that period, one of the last in which Gaelic came naturally to the community. It is also the story of beginning to think about how to keep a small remote community dominated by a landed estate alive and viable in the face of modern pressures. The Colonsay of the 1970s had no electricity or affordable housing and an erratic ferry service.

The book is an autobiography, a reflection of a world still close in time but in some ways very distant interwoven with much of history, tradition and folklore, and a moving account of the trials, triumphs and tribulations of a small community. Above all it is woven with a deep love of the magical place that is Colonsay.

Dion Alexander moved in 1971 to Carsaig on Mull to set up a pottery before moving to Colonsay. He set up a pottery on Colonsay through the 1970s before leaving for South Uist in 1980 to become the first manager of the Co Chomunn at Lochdair. In 1983 he moved to Glengarry and began work for Shelter Scotland where he set up the Lochaber Housing Association. He has continued to specialise in that area and has both written a number of high profile reports and has chaired a large number of committees and action groups on housing and fuel poverty across the Highlands. He now lives near Dornoch.

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