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The story unfolds with Scotland's Year of Stories

Book festivals, musical journeys, favourite cartoon characters and fresh takes on Scotland’s culture and heritage will form part of a dazzling programme of events to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

Led by VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation, the Year of Stories 2022 will celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland, with a nationwide programme of major events and community celebrations. From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to Scotland’s stories, past and present.

edinburgh_book_festival_13_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgEdinburgh International Book Festival © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

The programme of events for the Year of Stories 2022 was launched with a new promotional video (above) featuring the voice of Game of Thrones star James Cosmo. The Clydebank-born actor, known for his role in the fantasy epic as well as numerous Scottish film and TV shows, lends his distinctive timbre to inspire visitors to explore Scotland and celebrate the Year of Stories.

Scotland is known the world over for its story telling and has given us some of the world’s greatest writers. From Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, whose birthday is celebrated each year on 25 January (Burns Night), to Sir Walter Scott, the inventor and greatest exponent of the historical novel, whose magnificent home Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders is one of Scotland’s premier visitor attractions. 

writers_museum_06_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgRobert Burns, Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson at the Writers’ Museum, Edinburgh © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Edinburgh-born Robert Louis Stevenson is known the world over for his gripping adventure stories Treasure Island and Kidnapped, and Sir Arthur Conon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books were a milestone in crime fiction. Peter Pan, the little boy who never grew up, is one of the most famous characters in children’s literature, and he was created by J M Barrie, born near Dundee.

The Year of Stories celebrations begin with Glasgow’s Celtic Connections music festival presenting ‘Whisper the Song’, a series of five newly commissioned events celebrating Scotland's rich tradition of stories, interwoven with music, song and film. Spectra – Scotland’s Festival of Light returns to Aberdeen in February, celebrating the humour, seriousness and sheer ‘gallus’ (boldness) of Scotland’s storytellers.

Brig_o_Doon_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Brig O Doon in Alloway made famous by Robert Burns © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Spring turns the page with StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, which presents Stories Like Starting Points, exploring the role of stories in poetry and introducing a brand-new Young Makars poetry initiative. Stornoway’s An Lanntair arts centre presents Seanchas, a series of events, films and special commissions celebrating tales from the Hebrides. 

Summer provides plenty to write home about with the Borders Book Festival and, celebrating its 75th anniversary, Edinburgh International Film Festival. The Dundee Summer (Bash) Street Festival will hail Dundee as the home of comics, celebrating its characters, stories, history and upcoming talent.

RLS_kidnapped_statue_02_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Robert Louis Stevenson ‘Kidnapped’ Statue in Edinburgh © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

The world-renowned Edinburgh International Book Festival presents Scotland’s Stories Now, with tales gathered from across the country, and the Wigtown Book Festival, in Scotland’s National Book Town, will present two new commissions, Into the Nicht, an immersive Dark Skies tour, and Walter in Wonderland, a whirlwind theatrical tour through the history of the nation’s literature.

The events programme will bring Scotland’s places and spaces to life, sharing stories old and new covering everything from local tales to oral traditions, iconic books to tales told on the big screen. They will be told by diverse voices in many different places, showcasing the many sides of Scotland’s distinct culture.

Peter_Pan_Statue_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Peter Pan statue in Kirriemuir, birthplace of J M Barrie © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Scottish Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “2022 is the year we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories. Storytelling and celebrating our unique oral history tradition has never been more important as we continue to respond to the impacts of the pandemic.

“We must ensure our Scotland’s stories are preserved and celebrated. 2022 will have something for everyone from some of the biggest cultural events of the year taking place at the Edinburgh festivals, to small community festivals in our towns and villages.” 

the_conan_doyle_02_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Conan Doyle Pub in Edinburgh, close to where the writer was born © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s Year of Stories, and this exciting new events programme, offers an incredible platform to showcase the many sides of Scotland’s distinct, vibrant and diverse culture.

“We are inviting the world to delve into the wonderful experiences our stories create. From icons of literature to local tales, the year encourages visitors and locals to experience a range of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.”

Scottish_storytelling_centre_01_c_VisitScotland_-_Kenny_Lam_-_Copy.jpgThe Scottish Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 runs until 31 December. For more details about the events taking place go to the VisitScotland website.

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of Scotland in the Year of Stories, following in the footsteps of some of the country’s literary giants, or uncovering the strong story-telling tradition in communities across Scotland, please do contact our friendly team and we will put together the perfect itinerary for you.

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