Scottish Stories

Scottish Stories aims to produce an archive of stories by Scots, which will in turn provide a unique record of life in Scotland during 2011: a year that looks set to be characterised by profound economic and cultural change.

A new age of austerity is being talked about as the UK Government battles to reduce the economic deficit through a programme of public sector cutbacks and benefit reductions. Already, the trades union movement has pledged to engage the public in a campaign of protests and civil disobedience. What will happen over the coming months is impossible to predict. However, as with the post-war period, the winter of discontent and the age of Thatcherism, we think this will be an era-defining time. It could have a profound effect on everyone in Scotland.

For those who lose their jobs or struggle to maintain their homes, the effects could be enormous. Others may be comparatively unaffected. Perhaps some people will even change their lives for the better. Whatever your own experience, it is an important part of Scotland’s story during 2011, and this is your opportunity to place it on the public record.

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay writes for Scottish Stories

Scottish Book Of The Year Award-winning author, poet and playwright Jackie Kay has written a moving account of a journey around Edinburgh, in which she revisits the hospital where she was born. En route she learns that the hospital has since become an elderly nursing home, which recently closed amid concerns about standards of care. She also meets up with a disabled family friend, whose experiences provide illuminating insight into the difficulties faced by elderly Scots as the cuts in health and social care services begin to bite. Jackie Kay’s Scottish Story, A Life Of Loss, is available here

Your stories: the tale continues

Scottish Stories was launched along with the new-look Sunday Herald, with a specially commissioned essay by acclaimed novelist Alan Warner. The Gathering Storm (available here) is a true account of a day Alan Warner spent with a friend who has just been made redundant, and vividly depicts the impact of unemployment on one individual, and those around him. Next, multi-award-winning poet, novelist and memoirist John Burnside has written a challenging original account of his attempt to come to terms with having developed a mysterious illness – and his discovery that the roots of the problem, and the cure, were political. It's available here

They are the first of a series of pieces by high-profile authors to be published at intervals throughout 2011. We hoped it would inspire you to contribute to this unique archive of Scottish culture.

Your response was impressive, and on February 20, the first three of your stories were published in the Sunday Herald. Three further Scottish Stories were published on June 5, and another three appeared on October 30. Here they are:

  1. Modern Life Is Rubbish by Edward Burns
  2. Jumping Ship by Rachael Fulton
  3. Essex Man by Katrina Lyon
  4. The Boxer by Robbie Handy
  5. Jock Tamson's Bairns by Mari O'Brien
  6. Mrs Lindley And Benny by James Aitken
  7. Confessions of a shoplifter by John David
  8. In the poor people's queue by Wendy Muzlanova
  9. Gold without guilt by Ronnie McGowan

How do I take part?

You needn’t be an aspiring novelist to take part, however. We are not asking for structured, plotted narratives. Instead we are asking you to provide a short commentary that will illuminate one important moment or aspect of your life, or the life of a friend and relative. The accounts may be edited for publication.

We are not looking for fiction: your story must be true. We are not looking for history: your story should relate to an incident that happened within the last three months.

How do I send my story?

Over the coming months, this page will be developed to enable readers to contribute different kinds of narratives in a variety of ways. For now, we invite you to send one short piece of between 250 and 1000 words by email to:

Please include your name, email address and a contact telephone number.

Can I take part by telephone?

If you prefer, you can phone the number below with a brief account of the story you want to tell, and where appropriate, we will arrange for a journalist to interview you.

To find out more, telephone 0141 302 7860

Over the coming months, a selection of your stories will feature on this page and in the Sunday Herald. Together, they will form an important archive of Scottish life in the year 2011.