McDermid launches search for real-life stories from people of Scotland

McDermid launches search for real-life stories from people of Scotland

Crime author Val McDermid has launched the Blether campaign, searching for real-life stories from the people of Scotland, to be published on the Scottish Book Trust’s website.

The Blether campaign seeks submissions from all backgrounds and experiences, whether in written, audio or video form, coordinated by the Scottish Book Trust. “Tied to 'A Year of Conversation 2019', Blether is a celebration of Scotland and her stories,” the literary charity said. “Whether it’s the weekly catch up with a friend at a favourite coffee spot, a tough conversation or a connection with a complete stranger, Scottish Book Trust wants to know what ‘blether’ means to you.”

The word 'Blether' was definted by the Scotsman as "a lengthy chat between friends.But when applied to a person, blether is also a term for a gossip, a chatterbox, or someone who talks a lot of nonsense."

A Year of Conversation 2019 is a collaborative project in Scotland designed to celebrate, initiate and explore conversation through the arts.

Author and editor Nikesh Shukla has also contributed a story, alongside Leila Aboulela, winner the Saltire Fiction Book of Year 2018, short story writer Chris McQueer, as well as actress Jane McCarry.

The submitted stories will be published in a weekly digital issue, available to read online via Scottish Book Trust’s website. A selection of the stories will also be published in a physical book for Book Week Scotland– a week long, national celebration of books and reading. This year’s Book Week Scotland takes place between 18th and 24th November with a number of workshops, visit the website for more information or to book a place on a workshop.

The Blether writing campaign is open for submissions from today until 5th June. Writers should submit their work, in any form – story, poem, comic strip, play or letter – of up to 1,000 words, in English, Gaelic or Scots.

McDermid said: “Everybody loves a blether. It can change your life, a good blether. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But either way, a blether is the source of all the best stories. So take this chance to share those amazing exchanges with us.”

Marc Lambert, c.e.o. of Scottish Book Trust, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Blether writing campaign with the support of our patron, Val McDermid. During A Year of Conversation 2019, we hope the public will share their stories with us. In difficult and uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to speak out and be heard.”