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Issue 41 - PART ONE: ROBERT BURNS

Scotland Magazine Issue 41
October 2008

 

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PART ONE: ROBERT BURNS

Scotland is definitely the place to be in 2009. Commencing in January, there are more than 100 scheduled events that have been specially devised to celebrate the contributions made by Scots to the wider world. These will encompass the legacy of Robert Burns, Golf, Scotch Whisky, Great Minds and Innovation. Expertly packaged by VisitScotland under the banner of Homecoming Scotland 2009, Scotland’s diversity will be seen at its best. In the forthcoming editions of Scotland Magazine, we will be highlighting these themes with our readers specifically in mind.

Starting off the schedule, the Homecoming Scotland 2009 programme commences on the weekend of 24th January with the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national poet and cultural icon Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns, whose message of friendship, as captured in the song Auld Lang Syne, lives on internationally.

The legacy of Robert Burns is synonymous with Scotland, and the festivities in his honour begin next year with a series of emotional tributes to his memory, from Celtic Connections in Glasgow, the world’s largest Scottish music festival, to Burns Light, a dazzling lantern procession through the historic heart of Dumfries to mark his birthday.

Burns Night on 25th January, will also be marked with a spectacular outdoor celebration in Alloway’s Burns Heritage Park, and a Homecoming Burns Supper which will be the centrepiece of the world’s biggest Burns Supper celebrations.

For the first time ever, 36,000 objects from the National Library of Scotland – manuscripts, books, art and artefacts – all intimately associated with Robert Burns will feature as a touring exhibition visiting Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dumfries.

From 16th to 24th May, some of the top names in Scottish music and comedy will participate in the 8th Burns an’ a’ That! festival in Ayrshire. There will be touring exhibitions visiting Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Glasgow and Kilmarnock, and his songs and verse will this year provide the underlying theme for the ever popular Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August. In September, venues across Scotland will feature Burns’ epic poem Tam O’Shanterperformed by Scotland’s National Youth Performing Arts Companies.

In recognition of his contribution, and those made by other legendary Scottish writers, the City of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, was in 2006 designated the first UNESCO City of Literature. Among Scots whose fiction has reached out into the world are Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Lewis Grassick Gibbon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Compton Mackenzie and Eric Linklater, and, more recently, Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Irvine Welch and J.K. Rowling.

Aye Write!, the Bank of Scotland Book Festival in Glasgow, and the St Anza Poetry Festival in St Andrews, are highlights of the month of March. Word 2009, the University of Aberdeen Writer’s Festival takes place in May. There are also book festivals in Nairn, Dundee and Melrose in June. The two-week Edinburgh International Book Festival is taking place in August, and the Book Town Festival is once again being held at Wigtown in September.

www.homecomingscotland.com