Talks and readings about Shetland and Orkney literature project

A day of talks and readings about Shetland and Orkney literature is being held at Shetland Museum and Archives today to celebrate the end of the Writing The North project.

Writing The North is a collaboration between Shetland Museum and Archives, the Orkney Library and Archive and Edinburgh University.

It examines the writings of Shetland and Orkney and looks at the history of literature in the islands from the early 19th century and connections with creative writers today.

As part of the project an exhibition has been held at Shetland Museum and Archives, which runs until tomorrow.

The exhibition contains books, sound recordings, manuscripts and illustrations to explain the story of literature in the Northern Isles through four themes: myths and legends, visitors to the islands, working lives, and the sounds of Orkney and Shetland.

There are interactive displays and items on loan such as a portrait of Walter Scott by William Nicholson from the National Portrait Gallery, and a Robert Louis Stevenson manuscript from the Edinburgh writers’ museum and a recreation of Victorian wood-panelled study.

Local schools have also been involved in an education project focused on four authors with a strong connection to Shetland.

They learnt about the work of each writer and children wrote, directed, produced, filmed and edited a film based around each writer and their work.

Today at 2pm there is a talk entitled Walter Scott’s Tour to Orkney and Shetland, with Professor Penny Fielding and Professor Alison Lumsden. At 2.45pm there is a talk called George Mackay Brown and Orkney Literature, with Dr Linden Bicket.

This is followed by a discussion of language and dialect  in Orkney and Shetland writing at 3.30pm. This is a  panel discussion with speakers and is led by Dr Mark Smith.

At 7pm there will be poetry readings from all the new work from the project, introduced by poets themselves. The event showcases new works from Orkney and Shetland writers, and provides information about the creative process.

Members of the Writing the North team will discuss earlier writing from the islands and show how important and inspirational it is for writing today.

Tickets can be reserved by calling Shetland Museum and Archives or by dropping in at the museum reception.

More in next week’s Shetland Times.

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