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There are few more prolific writers in Scots currently than James Robertson, his collection of written, translated and reflective works a library of our times past, present and reaching into the future.
After a busy day, with earlier engagements at the Lamlash Campus to share the life of a writer, action games and read from ‘The Gruffalo’ (which James translated into Scots) he proved a generous and more than capable storyteller, engaging 3 to 14 year olds with ease. James enthralled, informed, delighted and amused his audiences with readings, anecdotes and historical research at the October meeting of The Saltire Society held in the theatre at Arran High School.
Scots he noted is spoken everywhere, everyday but not written. Much of this is to do with a sense of Scots as a poorer form of English with children encouraged to speak ‘proper’. James enlightened us on the use of Scots language, the spoken language of the original Scottish Parliament, on its origins and as with all languages, influences from trade, migration and war. There followed a discourse on the language-led, social, political and personal inspirations that prompted his novels, reading from ‘365 stories’ including a particular favourite among the audience ‘The News’. One surprise for both James and Tim Pomeroy was reconnection after 25 years, their paths having crossed at an earlier and critical time for both.
Research is the common thread in all James writings, and his dedicated command of detail is what affords his readership assurances of authenticity. In summing up, John Bruce gave an eloquent and appreciative vote of thanks focusing on the import of reading as a key novel of our times, ‘And the land lay still’. James’ schedule did not allow for a visit to other schools but we have secured a promise that he will return. The Society is also delighted to confirm that filmed footage of the evening event is being processed and further details of its release will be found on our website.
Hazel Gardiner with James Robertson at the Saltire Society event. NO_B45hazel01