4th August 2023
Back to the Future
Northern Numbers – a Centenary
A celebration of new writing in Doric Scots is being launched to mark the centenary of a Scottish literary revolution.
A century ago Hugh MacDiarmid’s Northern Numbers was responsible for reinvigorating the use of Scots in poetry. Now Stonehaven based Mearns Writers have published Mair Northren Nummers, an illustrated anthology of poems in the North East’s mother tongue.
The collection, which has an introduction by renowned novelist James Robertson, will be launched at this year’s Wee Gaitherin Poetry Festival in Stonehaven.
‘A puckle o Mearns Writers heard James Robertson on the centenary of MacDiarmid in Montrose,` said Dr Nicola Furrie of the Mearns Writers Pamphlet Collective. `Inspired by his research, and in particular the series of pamphlets, Northern Numbers, we thought to echo their grand poetic voices 100 years on. We challenged our members and are now thrilled to share the results of their collective screivin n pintin with a new 21st Century audience.’
The new writing has won praise from Scotland’s Makar: `What a vivacious collection of poems is here, from poets whose concerns are by turns affectionate, serious and heartfelt.` said Kathleen Jamie. `A sma biuk with a whole lot of soul.`
Hugh MacDiarmid’s grandson Christopher Grieve has warmly welcomed the new pamphlet:
‘Mair Northren Nummers is a wonderful centenary treat!` Mr Grieve said. `How apposite that this new volume should come out of the Mearns, where my grandfather adopted his nom de guerre Hugh MacDiarmid. I am sure my grandfather would be thrilled to know that his work still inspires today.’
The project was sponsored by The Doric Board, Round Table Stonehaven and District and Aberdeenshire Council.
Mearns Writers will perform their poems on Thursday 10th August at Number 44, Allardice Street, Stonehaven, from 9pm as part of the Wee Gaitherin. The two day festival features free readings and workshops and attracts poets from around Scotland writing in Scots, Doric and Gaelic.
For details on where to buy Mair Northren Nummers contact Mearns Writers Facebook page.
Mearns Writers has over forty members living in and around Stonehaven and Inverbervie. The group was originally set up to promote and enhance creativity and mental wellbeing. It produces a wide range of writing, including songs, plays and essays. There are several published and award winning authors among Mearns Writers’ membership.
For futher information or to arrange interviews please contact Cheryl Margiotta. Cherkaypaul@gmail.com 07707686304
Picture caption : front left to right : Jacqueline Tweddle, Caroline Carruthers
back : left to right Alistair Lawrie, Gay Halley, Nicola Furrie and Elaine Morrison