During the first part of the project, Writing the North has been exploring Orkney and Shetland literature in the form of conversations between academic researchers and creative writers. We started with a series of short pieces and extracts from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth. We wanted to explore both island writing and the experiences of visitors so we chose a selection of different material from Walter Scott’s novel The Pirate–one of the most popular of the nineteenth century–to the almost unknown poet Margaret Chalmers. We’ve been looking at novels, short stories, poetry and history.
The partnerships have recorded their conversations and these are now appearing on the website on the ‘Dialogues’ page. We’re getting near the end of the discussions so you can see how the creative process is working, as poets and novelists exchange ideas with historians and literary critics. Our creative writers are now working on new pieces of writing, inspired by the source texts and the discussions, and these will be published in a downloadable book in April and performed at our final event in the Shetland Museum on May 10th 2014. The dialogues have been a wonderful journey for everyone involved and we hope you find them interesting.