Dumfries and Galloway is a land full of folklore and legend – Wigtown Book Festival and Fresh Start want to collect these tales and present them in a new way.
The project will involve commissioning a writer, or writers, to travel the region to gather up stories old and new. It’s a fabulous opportunity to get beneath the skin of D&G and to use skill, craft and ingenuity to reach a variety of audiences.
And it’s also a chance to follow in the footsteps of John Mactaggart who, in 1876, produced the Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopaedia after painstakingly seeking out and interviewing people with interesting tales and information.
His introduction says: “From those characters most famous for originality of mind I received the things of greatest value; these are mostly patriotic Gallovidians, and scorn to lose any of that darling legacy left them by their forefathers; they scorn to lisp English, but tell their honest tales in ‘Braid Scotch’.” The successful candidate(s) will already be a published author(s) and need to be able to think laterally about the stories that the region tells about itself now and in the past.
To find out more keep an eye on the opportunities section of the Creative Scotland website http://opportunities.creativescotland.com/ over the next week. And for anyone who is unaware of Mactaggart’s encyclopaedia – which was an inspiration for the project – it’s readily available online and is packed with gems.
One story concerns Jock Mulldroch, who lived at Craigwaggie 150 years before, and reputedly laid large speckled eggs – cackling after he did so.
So, if you fancy reading about the life of Penpunt the strange beggar and his smutty Galloway snatches, or discovering the way in which fornicators were punished, then we’d heartily recommend that you dip into this delightful work.
● You can now visit the Fresh Start website