Guest post by Alison Miller
A year or so before he died my uncle told me of a piece of Orkney dialect that had tickled his father, my grandfather, who had preserved it intact. My uncle told me the circumstances in which it was uttered: a man from a farm near Viewfield where my grandfather was a dairy farmer came by one day. He may have been looking for peats. He delivered the piece of language my grandfather kept. …read more >>
The Writing the North Exhibition
at the Shetland Museum and Archives
Hay’s Dock, Lerwick, Shetland.
March 29-May 10 2014
This major new exhibition tells the story of Northern Islands literature through books, sound recordings, manuscripts and illustrations. The exhibition will guide visitors through four themes: myths and legends, visitors to the islands, working lives, and the sounds of Orkney and Shetland. …read more >>
Guest post by Pam Perkins
The winter of 1802-03 was a difficult one in Orkney. Crops had been scanty and late, and there was considerable distress among the poor. Thomas Stewart Traill, the twenty-one-year-old son of a Kirkwall clergyman had just returned to the islands after completing his medical studies in Edinburgh, …read more >>
Christina Mackay Costie was born in Kirkwall on the 6th of August 1902. She grew up with her parents, a sister, and a brother on St Catherine’s Place, and attended Kirkwall Grammar School (then, Kirkwall Burgh School). She later moved to Willowburn Road, where she remained with her sister for the rest of her life. …read more >>
Guest post by Simon Hall
The Orkney poet Robert Rendall (1898-1967) loved European travel almost as much as he loved his home islands. The antithesis of the parochial islander, he travelled extensively, sampling the cultures of Germany, France and Switzerland. He made no fewer than nine trips to Italy, and it was on one of these visits that he and a travelling companion stood on the Palatine Hill, surveying the glories of the city of Rome. ‘Hid’s bonny’, conceded the poet, ‘but hid’s no a petch on Birsay!’ …read more >>
Guest post by Brian Smith
In 1765 a farmer’s son from Inverness-shire published a comprehensive edition of The Works of Ossian, the son of Fingal, a project he had begun a few years previously. As before, he told the world that it was a translation from Gaelic poems that he had collected in the Highlands. His books were a literary sensation. …read more >>
Orkney writers talk about Orkney writing, past and present …read more >>
Writing the Map, our interactive literary location feature, is now up and running. We’re looking forward to reading the poetry or prose of anyone who’s been inspired by the islands.
…read more >>
Guest post by Katherine Wright
Mary Brunton, evangelical novelist and author of the literary sensation of 1811, was born in Orkney in 1778. She published two novels, Self Control (1811) and Discipline (1814). Emmeline, her unfinished novel, was published posthumously in 1819. …read more >>
The idea for Walter Scott’s The Pirate, set on Orkney and Shetland, started with Lord Byron’s hugely popular poem The Corsair of 1814.
Noticing the success of Byron’s poem, Scott’s publisher, Archibald Constable, prompted …read more >>