Culture

Celebrating George Mackay Brown #BookWeekScotland

Image credit: Orkney Herald. Brown and his scarf were immortalised by R.T. Johnston in his ‘Spike’ cartoon.

To mark one hundred years since the birth of writer George Mackay Brown, the University of the Highlands and Islands has teamed up with Book Week Scotland to create a collection of texts inspired by his work, displayed digitally as a scarf.

Brown, who was born in Stromness, Orkney, worked successively for the Orkney Herald and Orcadian newspapers, using the pen name Islandman. It was during this time that he and his colourful scarf took on celebrity status said project lead Dr Ragnhild Ljosland, a lecturer at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

“He had a gift for seeing wonder in everyday occurrences and details, such a bluebottle flying around his lamp, dew in grass, or drift goods on the shore. He skilfully captured these moments in his poetry and novels, and also his journalism.

“Our creative writing students have cast on the first sections of the digital display and we are now inviting Orcadians and anyone with an interest in George Mackay Brown’s writing or a love of Orkney to contribute to the texts on the scarf by coming along to our online creative workshop.”

Speaking about the workshop Gabrielle Barnby, a lecturer based at Orkney College UHI, said:

“This is one of many events taking place this year to celebrate the centenary of the birth in 1921 of George MacKay Brown. In the workshop you will be encouraged to see wonder in everyday things – such as a knitted scarf, old tins or bruck on the beach, insects and grass – and use texts by George Mackay Brown to inspire you to write a short text of your own to be part of the scarf.”

The free online creative writing workshop takes place during this year’s Book Week Scotland on Monday 15 November from 7pm until 9pm. To book a place, visit www.uhi.ac.uk/events.

To find out more about the Wonderous Scarf, a Book Week Scotland project funded by the Scottish Book Trust, visit  www.orkney.uhi.ac.uk/business-and-community

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