Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Kate Forsyth: Edinburgh, a city full of stories.

Last month children's author Kate Forsyth came to Edinburgh to do two events with us. She told us all about her latest novel The Puzzle Ring, and delighted her audiences with the gruesome tale of Mary Queen of Scots. Kate takes over the blog this week to tell us about her love of Edinburgh and passion for stories...

I love Edinburgh. It is one of my favourite cities in the world. It seems like a city out of a fairytale, with spires and towers rising high against the sky, narrow cobbled alleyways, strange stone faces on ancient fountains, grand squares and avenues with heraldic flags snapping in the wind, and towering over it all, the castle on its hill. So I was so pleased to come back to Edinburgh, at the invitation of the Scottish Book Trust, to talk about my new book, The Puzzle Ring which is set in Scotland.

I have lived all my life in Australia, seventeen thousand kilometres away from Edinburgh. Yet I was brought up on the old tales of Scottish history and folklore, stories handed down through the generations from my great-great-grandmother who was born on the Black Isle in the Highlands. Stories about ghosts and curses and fairies and battles and betrayals, stories filled with adventure and danger and magic. Just the kind of stories I like to write!

I was amazed to learn that my audiences had not heard many of these stories. The children were enraptured by the tale of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the bloodstain on the floor of her bedchamber that no amount of scrubbing can remove; by the story of Tam Lin and how he was saved from the Otherworld by his brave sweetheart Janet; by the account of old curses and prophecies and how they came at last to pass.

I learnt again that stories have the power to connect us all, to each other and to the past. My great-great-grandmother’s stories had travelled all the way to Australia, down five generations of storytellers, and then back to the land where they began. I think she’d have been very glad!

Other news:

Mr Gumpy and Other Outings, an exhibition celebrating 50 years of John Burningham's work, is now at Dovecot Studios, Infirmary St., Edinburgh, 7 July - 5 September.

On Thursday 9th July at 7pm, there is a screening of The Age of Stupid at The Scottish Storytelling Centre. All welcome!

Darren Shan, master of all things demonic, will be doing an event with us in Glasgow in October. Watch the Scottish Book Trust website for more information...


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