On Wednesday 30 October, an event was held at City Art Centre in Edinburgh to celebrate the publication of Blether, a free book created by Scottish Book Trust for this year’s Book Week Scotland celebrating a Year of Conversation. Writers from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Oban and more had the opportunity to gather together and read their works.
At the beginning of the year, Val McDermid, patron of Scottish Book Trust launched the public participation campaign around the theme of ‘blether’, asking the people of Scotland to submit personal and true stories. Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, encouraged people of all backgrounds and experiences to submit their work.
Tied to A Year of Conversation 2019, and with an introduction by Tom Pow, Blether is a celebration of Scotland and its stories. Hundreds of stories from across the country were collected, and can be read online here.
A panel selected 32 of the stories for inclusion in the Blether book, which will be distributed free to libraries and community groups during Book Week Scotland – a week-long, national celebration of reading and writing. Published authors such as Nikesh Shukla and Chris McQueer, and Still Game's Jane McCarry were also commissioned to write stories about what ‘blether’ means to them.
Blether will also be downloadable from Scottish Book Trust’s website during Book Week Scotland, which runs from 18 to 24 November. Working in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, writers included in the book also had the opportunity to record their story for an audiobook version.
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“We all love telling stories and sharing our own stories helps us connect with the people around us. I hope the people of Scotland enjoy the 100,000 free copies of Blether that Scottish Book Trust will distribute through libraries, community groups and gifting, as part of Book Week Scotland. This collection of tales celebrates what a simple blether or conversation can mean and the difference it makes to our lives, with stories written in English, Scots, Gaelic and Arabic."
Ann Craig, from Auchmithie, Angus, said:
"I was delighted to hear my poem had got into the Blether book. I now live in a small fishing village in the North East but my roots are in Glasgow and this piece is how I heard the rants and blethers daily when I was wee by fierce women in my life and having this appear in print is a great encouragement to keep writing about what I know.”
The Blether book includes a selection of stories about conversation and connection: in a supermarket, while walking your dog, or even as your mother is just about to pray. From small, seemingly mundane blethers, to life-changing conversations, the book features stories from many different backgrounds and cultures.
The stories included are:
- Squeak by Lindz McLeod, from Edinburgh
- Crossing the Bridge by Kirsty Souter, from Leven
- Catch-Up by Catherine Wilson, from Edinburgh
- Letter to Hettie by Hazel-Ann Urquhart, from Dingwall
- I See My Voice And It Is, Group Poem by Shakti Women's Aid, in partnership with Open Book
- Mum's the Word by Breea Keenan, from Clarkston
- Links Park Luminary by Alun Robert, from Rochester
- A Guid Blether by Craig A Mudie, from Dundee
- The Automation by Mark Haw, from Milngavie
- Mibbie Aye, Mibbie Hooch Aye by Grace Murray, from Forfar
- Blethers at the Berries by Lynn Valentine, from Inverness
- Cash by Caron McKinlay, from Edinburgh
- 'Sup? by Graeme Bradley, from Bellshill
- Two Hours by Louise Behan, Edinburgh
- Thicker than Blood by WJ Sharp, from Edinburgh
- Mighty by Lynn Fraser, from Tranent, East Lothian
- Blether by Chic Gibson, from Paisley
- F,M, Other by Laura Clay, from Edinburgh
- Hearing Voices by Lee Kerr, from Edinburgh
- Breaking the Silence by Lesley Crawford, from Edinburgh
- Longing for a Blether by Dini Armstrong, from Helensburgh
- I Come From a Distant Land by Syrian Women's Group, in partnership with Open Book
- Twa Haufs o the Hale by Bill Cox, from Bridge of Don
- The Great Philosopher by Ann Craig, from Auchmithie, Angus
- By Change by Carolyn O'Hara, from Prestwick
- R-E-S-P-E-C-K by Janet Pelerin, from Edinburgh
The commissioned stories included are:
- The B&B Blether by Leila Aboulela
- Blether by Jane McCarry
- Latha Eile nam'Bheatha/Another Day in My Life by Marion F. NicIlleMhoire
- Blether by Nikesh Shukla
- Blether by Chris McQueer
- Jason by Seonag Monk and Calum Mackinnon
Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported by National Lottery funds through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding, Book Week Scotland is delivered by Scottish Book Trust and its partners from 18 November to 24 November 2019. There are hundreds of free events taking place across many different local authorities, funded by Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). For more information about Book Week Scotland 2019 and how you can get involved, visit www.bookweekscotland.com(this will open in a new window) where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area.
Notes to Editors
For more information, quotes, or images, please contact Keara Donnachie on firstname.lastname@example.org(this will open in a new window) or 0131 524 0184.
Scottish Book Trust
Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:
- Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
- Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
- Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
- Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.
For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit www.bookweekscotland.com(this will open in a new window) or follow Book Week Scotland on Twitter(this will open in a new window) or Facebook(this will open in a new window). Book Week Scotland 2019 will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust from 18 November – 24 November. Now in its eighth year, it was initiated by the Scottish Government in 2012 and is supported by £200,000 from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland Targeted Funding and £26,500 from SLIC.
Scottish Book Trust is supported by Creative Scotland through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com(this will open in a new window), or follow on Twitter(this will open in a new window) or Facebook(this will open in a new window).