Writing the North

Shetland and Orkney’s literature will take centre stage in a major new project being launched this weekend in Edinburgh. The project will culminate in spring of 2014 with a specially designed exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives, and will include activities for school pupils, new contemporary writing and a series of public events.

Writing the North is a partnership between Shetland Museum and Archives and the University of Edinburgh, who have been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant of £114,000. The project is led by Dr Penny Fielding, head of English at Edinburgh, and Dr Mark Smith of the Shetland Archives. The exhibition will include interactive displays and activities, and a number of important literary items will be borrowed from other institutions. Several public events will be held during the course of the project, and there will also be an accompanying website, incorporating a range of fun ways to learn about writing from the northern isles.

In addition to events in the Museum and Archives, staff will be working with schools to develop new education packs. Contemporary authors from Shetland and Orkney have also been signed up to collaborate with leading academics in the creation of new pieces of writing. The work they produce will find inspiration in stories and poems from Shetland and Orkney writers of the past.

Mark Smith commented on the project: “We’re very pleased to be working with Edinburgh University on Writing the North. It’s also 200 years since Walter Scott visited Shetland and Orkney, so it’s a good chance to explore his legacy. The funding allows us to do lots of stuff we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do, and we hope people will enjoy coming to the events and exhibition we’ll be putting on.”

The project will be officially launched in Edinburgh on Saturday 3rd May with Pentland Crossings, a conference on Orcadian writing.

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