Latest New Shetlander out now

The summer issue of The New Shetlander appears as the 2010 Hamefarin begins, and celebrates the fact with Ian Tait’s preview of the new Shetland Museum and Archives exhibition From Old Rock to New Life. Ian briefly conveys an impression of the huge task of putting together such an exhibition, and gives the magazine a pictorial sample, which can serve both as an appetiser and a souvenir.

In a similar vein, Laughton Johnston, author of A Kist of Emigrants, which he was commis­sioned to write for the Hamefarin, tells us something of his experience of gathering the information from all over the world, and writing the stories of over a hundred emigrants.

In the last issue Ian Napier described the ocean currents around Shetland and mentioned the fact that “sea-beans” travel here from the Caribbean. Christian Tait now tells us a little more about sea-beans, in a lightsome article including a photograph, a skipping rhyme, some folklore and extracts from a trial for witchcraft.

Brian Smith has been doing some meticulous place-name research. In The facts in the case of Arentsburg he sheds clear light on a Bressay place name and its Dutch connection. The article is accompanied by sections of Dutch maps from the 17th and 18th centuries and a modern photo.

Holger Schmitt of the University of Bonn contributes Language and identity in Shetland, recounting some of his findings as he carried out interviews in Lerwick in 2005. Da Wadder Eye takes a piercing look at politics, oil spills and local planning. The editorial is concerned with impending cuts in public expenditure. Jim Mainland, inspired by a story by Milos Macourek, and perhaps by certain national developments, has written the satirical story Jacob’s chicken.

The magazine features several contributions from new young writers. Christopher Jamieson contributes Da ebb, an intriguing short story set – partly – in a very recognisable modern Shetland. Bruce Eunson writes the unusual Outside in summer.

Two thought-provoking poems from Brae High School senior pupils, written as the result of a workshop with writer in residence Choman Hardi, reflect on “leaving Shetland”. And two of Shetland’s Young Writer prizewinners from 2009 (6-9 and 10-13 years) contribute stories inspired by the Papil Stane.

Scalloway is the setting for Willa Kate’s clear recollections of childhood Mad March Days while S G Irvine from Whalsay draws on years of collecting weather information to compare Two snowy winters: the winter we have just come through and the famous one of 1946-47.

The poetry in this issue first breathes the summer air in Unst with Sheenagh Pugh, and Finland with Lise Sinclair. Some poems by the Norwegian Øystein Orten have been translated into Shetland dialect by Christine De Luca. Jim Mainland, James Sinclair, Christie Williamson and others contribute poems on a wide range of topics, from the sixareen to the stock market.

There are book reviews as usual. The New Shetlander is priced at £2.Contributed


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