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Voluntary Action Shetland

Issue Number 269 - Hairst 2014

New Shetlander Hairst 2014 cover 269

The Hairst issue of the New Shetlander reflects life and writing in Shetland, both past and present. The editorial, written before Thursday’s vote, reflects on the Scottish referendum debate.

In Shetland at Screenplay, Mary Blance describes the recent film festival as the most ‘Shetland’ Screenplay to date, both on screen and behind the camera. She comments particularly on the the number of local film-makers, and especially the involvement of young folk. Bruce Eunson, who wrote and directed one of the Screenplay films, contributes a meditative short story, Granny o Papa, an da absence a Lolita’s voice.

Through a croft window by Stella Sutherland, is taken from a series Stella wrote under the same title between 1953 and 1966, depicting the life of ‘a crofter’s wife’. It looks set to gain a new following, as a selection of the instalments has just been published in book form.

Mystery in da möld is an Ann Cleeves short story translated into Shetland dialect by Shetlander Keith Bergman. Set in Uist, it reveals something of the early life of the Cleeves character D.I. Willow Reeves.

Best dialect script at the 2014 Drama Festival was 1299, by Willie Robertson of Ronas Drama Group, and some extracts appear here. It is a tale of one woman’s stand against authority, and was inspired by the story in the oldest surviving Shetland document, the Papa Stour letter from the year 1299. Willie explains the historical background, and how he wrote the play.

The current exhibition in Shetland Museum and Archives, Blockade 1914 – 1918, takes a central place in the magazine, featuring some of the exhibition panels. Ian Tait writes an accompanying article.

Annette Gear from Yell has compiled a quiz; the question is ‘Wha wrot yun?’ James Sinclair’s The trees gives a folk tale version of how Shetland’s hills became so bare.

The magazine opens with Christine De Luca’s Culswick triptych, features poems by Laureen Johnson, Samuel Laurence, Jim Mainland, and Kay Wheatcroft, and some delightful dialect poems from bairns at the Waas Show. There is also a nineteenth-century hymn, with a story attached. The voyage of life was written by a survivor of the 1832 fishing disaster who later became a minister: the Rev. James Pottinger, of Gletness. His hymn uses images of the sea throughout.

There are several book reviews, and a review article, in which Brian Smith examines an important recent book The Literature of Shetland by Mark Ryan Smith.

Mike Finnie’s cover photo will surely remind us of summer, as the nights draw in. The New Shetlander is on sale on Friday 20th September, price £2.

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