Orkney Islands expose published by small press

<p>Illustrator Max Scratchmann has published his satirical account of downsizing to the Orkney Islands from Manchester through small press Poison Pixie, in which he has a stake. The memoir was dropped by its original publisher Nicholas Brealey, which according to Scratchmann &quot;panicked&quot; after the spectre of legal action was raised.</p><p>NB had originally planned to publish <em>Chucking it All: How Downshifting to a Windswept Scottish Island Did Absolutely Nothing to Improve My Quality of Life</em> on 11th June, but when disgruntled locals complained to their MP Alistair Carmichael, he contacted the publisher about their concerns and it decided to drop the title.</p><p>&quot;They panicked,&quot; said Scratchmann. &quot;I understand Nick&#39;s point of view &ndash; he&#39;s a small firm and had a lot to lose; he didn&#39;t want to risk it ... They don&#39;t have the resources if it was decided to go to court to handle the fees.&quot;</p><p>Scratchmann said the book was &quot;irreverent, sarcastic and bitingly caustic&quot;, but also as &quot;grudgingly affectionate&quot; about the Orkney islands; Carmichael called it &quot;hurtful and vindictive&quot; in June, saying that several locals were &quot;clearly identifiable&quot; in the book. It details the nocturnal visits</p><p>Scratchmann received from &quot;drunken farmers&quot;, as well as &quot;booty calls from desperate divorcees&quot; and &quot;drunken country ceilidhs with the island single&#39;s club&quot;.<br /><br />Scratchmann this week published the book himself in a &quot;100% proof, fully-restored and totally unexpurgated edition&quot;. He called the situation &quot;a very bad state of affairs&quot;. &quot;The book isn&#39;t libellous,&quot; he said. &quot;It is just a funny book, not an expose on Orkney &ndash; really it is just a book on what it is like for someone from an urban lifestyle to move to the country. It&#39;s not out to attack or hurt anybody.&quot;</p><p>Scratchmann is not the only author to have his book pulled recently because of possible legal action. In January this year, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray published <em>The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known</em> for free online after Mainstream dropped the book following legal threats. Carnegie medal-winning children&#39;s author Melvin Burgess, meanwhile, saw his memoir dropped by Andersen Press over fears that people written about in the book might take legal action.</p><p>Nicholas Brealey declined to comment.</p>