Figures of Speech

by Ali Bowden
Director, Edinburgh
City of Literature Trust

30 April 2023

Figures of Speech for 2022, Scotland's Year of Stories.

Brought to you by Edinburgh City of Literature and the Scottish Storytelling Centre to celebrate Year of Stories in 2022 was Figures of Speech, a series of events thematically pairing together writers and artists, to take us on a journey through Scottish literature.

We hosted live, in-person events, which were recorded and made available as online specials throughout the year in two distinct seasons; May to July, and September to November.

Covering six wordly themes (Music, Friendship, Future, Love, Place, Big Ideas), each event explored a range of titles from literary blockbusters to discoverable hidden gems.

In our first season (May - July), we covered Music, Friendship and Future. On May 20th writer and broadcaster Nicola Meighan and author Arusa Qureshi explored Music, introducing a newly commissioned dance piece from poet and performer Katie Ailes. Poet Michael Pedersen and author Val McDermid had a deep dive into Friendship on June 24th, with music from Kim Carnie. And on July 22nd, poet Russell Jones and writer T.L.Huchu pulled us forward to the Future, with new poetry from Jeda Pearl.

The second season of Figures of Speech (September - November) explored Love, Place and Big Ideas. On September 23rd Gaelic poet Pàdraig MacAoidh discussed Love with best-selling romance writer, Jenny Colgan. On St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) we explored some Big Ideas from Professor David Farrier with activist and author Jessica Gaitán Johannesson. The event held on Place with visual artist and writer Amanda Thomson, with poet and film maker Roseanne Watt had to be rescheduled from October 21st to February 17th, due to illness.

All events were recorded and made available online, with support from BSL interpretation.

Figures of Speech was supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 aimed to spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories set out to encourage 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.

Reflect on the conversation, using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.

The Figures of Speech programme was made possible by financial support from EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, City of Edinburgh Council, The Stevenston Charitable Trust and Gillespie Macandrew, and the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Scottish Storytelling Centre gratefully acknowledge this support.