Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 tells tales of the nation with celebratory events revealed

Scottish Story Icons Dennis the Menace and Mary Queen of Scots with Luke Winter of the Story Wagon and Rocco Cesari, 8, and Francesca Cesari, 5, at The Kelpies in Falkirk. Photo: VisitScotland/Chris Watt

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

A nationwide programme of more than 60 events presented by a range of partners from national organisations to community groups has been unveiled today (14 December 2021) in recognition of the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Additional events will continue to be added throughout 2022.

The programme was launched along with a new promotional video 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 and locals to explore Scotland and celebrate the Year of Stories.

The story begins across January-March with:

  • Glasgow’s Celtic Connections presenting ‘Whisper the Song’, a series of five newly commissioned events celebrating Scotland’s rich tradition of stories, interwoven with music, song and film.
  • Once Upon a Time in South Ayrshire, beginning with a celebration of Burns then featuring a varied programme of events, exhibitions and experiences that will run across the year.
  • Spectra – Scotland’s Festival of Light – returns to Aberdeen in February, celebrating the humour, seriousness and sheer gallus of Scotland’s storytellers, including ‘Writ Large’, which will beam the country’s finest contemporary storytellers’ prose and poetry in large scale projections and neon.

Many further events are planning for the rest of 2022, while a number of events that will take place across the year, with some touring the country:

  • Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck Botanic Gardens will host Of Scotland’s Soils and Soul – a multi-sensory journey celebrating stories inspired by Scotland’s rich and diverse plant life.
  • The Scottish Storytelling Centre & Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust present Figures of Speech with prominent and emerging figures responding to our iconic stories and imagining them afresh, sparking new dialogues and directions.
  • The RSNO bring us Yoyo and the Little Auk, a new story celebrating our diverse cultures for Early Years Audiences with an animated film and live performances at events and festivals across Scotland.
  • Songs from the Last Page from Chamber Music Scotland will take place at book festivals, libraries, and community spaces and will create new songs from the last lines of our great and favourite fiction: turning endings into beginnings.

For 2022 the Themed Year will include a brand new events programme strand. The Community Stories Fund has been designed to support organisations and community groups to take part in and celebrate the year, spotlighting the unique stories that matter to them. The fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.Around 100 events will be supported through the Community Stories Fund.

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.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating the very best in Scottish storytelling talent throughout 2022 – which will be absolutely vital to our continued culture recovery.”

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.  

“And it’s important to shout about Scotland’s new and untold stories. Year of Stories 2022 will shine a light on emerging, fresh and forward-looking talent and highlight the innovators that break boundaries across all forms of storytelling.

“As our valuable tourism and events industry continues to rebuild following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year heralds an exciting new chapter while also providing quality opportunities for artists, creatives and audiences.”

Actor James Cosmo said: “It is an honour to be involved with Scotland’s Year of Stories. 

“I know first-hand the impact our nation’s stories have on the world and to have a full year dedicated to sharing them from all corners of Scotland, is incredible.

“I am really excited to see the year unfold, and all these events take place. It’s so important that we share how Scotland’s stories, in all their forms, make our country so special.”

Many more partner events celebrating the theme will be joining the programme over the forthcoming months.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will begin on 1 January 2022 and run until 31 December 2022.  For more information www.visitscotland.com/year-of-stories

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