Isles’ literary inspirations chronicled in new guide

Shetland’s literary heritage is being put on the map thanks to a new guide produced by VisitScotland and the University of Glasgow.

Featured in the work of writers as diverse as Sir Walter Scott and Ian Rankin, Shetland is an important part of Scotland’s literary landscape and is celebrated in Literary Scotland: A Traveller’s Guide.

Sandness, the home of poet and novelist Robert Alan Jamieson, is featured in the guide, along with the Sullom Voe Terminal – the subject of Jamieson’s book Thin Wealth and featured in Ian Rankin’s Rebus novel Black & Blue.

Sumburgh Head is vividly described in Walter Scott’s novel The Pirate, while Eric Linklater’s book, The Dark of Summer, is partly set in Shetland.

The guide highlights 60 fascinating literary locations throughout Scotland, including the stunning settings for world-famous novels, the scenery that inspired poets and the birthplaces of some of the country’s most distinguished writers.

It is the first guide of its kind to be put together by VisitScotland and it is hoped it will appeal to residents and visitors alike.

It has been compiled in association with the University of Glasgow’s Department of Literary Studies and the Association of Scottish Literary Studies.

VisitScotland’s Shetland island manager Steve Mathieson said: “Shetland has been a rich source of inspiration for writers down the centuries. The Stevenson family built Muckle Flugga, Britain’s most northerly lighthouse, off the coast of Unst, and it is here that Robert Louis Stevenson is believed to have gained his inspiration for Treasure Island when he visited during the construction.

“This new guide highlights just some of the fascinating places associated with literature, and rightly includes Shetland. We hope it will appeal to people living in Scotland who want to learn more about Scottish writers and associated locations, as well as provide an interesting hook to visitors from further afield.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest from people visiting film locations in Scotland, so we hope the literary angle will have a similar strong appeal.”


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