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Scotland’s Festival of Light, Celebrates Scottish Literary Talent in Scotland’s Year of Stories

SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, celebrates Scottish literary talent with new commission Writ Large in Scotland’s Year of Stories

  • Spectra, Scotland’s festival of light, announces Writ Large as part of 2022 line up

  • Inspired by Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 Writ Large brings illuminated poetry and prose to Aberdeen by means of large-scale projections and neon

  • From 10-13 February five brand new commissions from contemporary storytellers and prize-winning poets Neu Reekie can be found across Aberdeen city centre

  • Spectra is delivered by Curated Place and commissioned by Aberdeen City Council with support from EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022

Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram. Light Night Leeds, UK, 2017. Photo (c) Leeds Living

SPECTRA, Scotland’s festival of light, announces brand new collaboration with prize-winning literary collective and arts production house Neu Reekie as it launches Writ Large a brand-new commission as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories.

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Taking place in Aberdeen as part of Spectra from the 10-13 February, Writ Large will deliver poetry and prose from some of the country’s most talented writers’ by means of awe-inspiring large-scale projections and colourful neons thanks to the spectacular talent of from Solus Neon Sign Co., scattered around the city centre.

Comprising six commissioned pieces of writing from Neu Reekie poets and creatives Michael Pedersen, Kevin Williamson, Amanda Thomson, Kathryn Joseph, Mae Diansangu and Sheena Blackhall, Writ Large brings the beauty and brilliance of the written word to sites across Aberdeen city centre including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Marischal College, Castlegate, Upper Kirkgate and Schoolhill.

People enjoying the Trumpet Flowers light installation in the Chatswood precinct during Vivid Sydney 2019.

Kevin and Michael, Neu Reekie founders and prize-winning poets in their own right, took inspiration from their Scottish surrounds, with Kevin’s poem Voyager which is inspired by his father. Kevin Williamson said:

 “My dad was an Aberdonian, born and bred, very proud of the city, especially its football team. When he died a few years ago, after a difficult time battling dementia, I got thinking about how we used to watch all the Apollo rocket launches in the 60s and 70s. The poem grew out of those memories and his final days in care.”

Michael’s poem Squatting on Rubislaw is also in part inspired by loss. Michael Pedersen said:

“I found myself in a gargantuan house in Rubislaw Den with no real right to be there. Me and a little coterie of friends were tasked with putting on a play about a great Scottish poet. We’d just suffered a discombobulating loss, it was winter, and there was something portentous brewing in the sky. A storm was coming to shake the city and make a mischief of the garden. There were voices in the wind.”

Writ Large is one of more than 60 events making up a nationwide programme supported by EventScotland celebrating the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

To plan your trip to experience the explosion of the colourful words of contemporary Scottish poets visit www.spectra.co.uk

Gaia at Liverpool Cathedral for Liverpool City Council’s River Festival, 2019. Photo by Phil Longfoot

Neu Reekie said: “Neu! Reekie! are elated to be joining the force and fold of SPECTRA, working with Curated Place and all the sublime artists in their orbit. Together we have summoned a scintillating bunch of writers from across poetry, prose, and music (the realms in between) who’ve produced words that truly coruscate — sentiments worthy of the illuminative futures in store for them. The poetics of: Amanda Thomson, Kathryn Joseph, Mae Diansangu, Sheena Blackhall, and our Michael Pedersen & Kevin Williamson, will soon be lighting fuses in both the een and imaginations of the denizens of the North East, and we’re pure delighted about that.”

Cllr Marie Boulton, Culture Spokesperson, said: “Aberdeen City Council are excited to welcome this major new commission to Spectra. Stories are an integral part of our culture here in north-east Scotland and it’s a privilege for us to showcase words from contemporary storytellers, lighting up the city and engaging our communities. Curated Place and Neu Reekie have brought together a diverse and brilliant group of writers to share their stories with us, helping Spectra kick off Scotland’s Year of Stories in style.” 

Travelling Light Circus Hypercube Doncaster Light Night2. Credit James Mulkeen

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and this year’s Spectra festival will illuminate Aberdeen and its iconic buildings, showcasing contemporary poetry and prose in dramatic fashion. We are delighted to be supporting this festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 as they bring to life six new specially commissioned pieces by some of Scotland’s most talented writers in Writ Large.

From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.”

Spectra is Scotland’s festival of light taking place each February in Aberdeen. Part of the North East’s vibrant, year-round calendar of cultural events, Spectra lights up the winter nights with breath-taking installations, giving locals and tourist alike the perfect opportunity to discover the city in a new way.

The Spectra website will share more information on the installations and how to enjoy them and will include all new commissioned pieces of writing in full. Whether travelling into the city centre with family or travelling from Dundee, Perth or Edinburgh with friends visit www.spectrafestival.co.uk

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