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Scottish history festival expands beyond Edinburgh

Members of the Inky Fingers poetry society, who will take part in next month's Previously festival. Picture: Jane Barlow

Members of the Inky Fingers poetry society, who will take part in next month's Previously festival. Picture: Jane Barlow

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

A FLEDGLING festival of Scottish history has doubled in size in the space of 12 months and expanded out from Edinburgh to become a nationwide event, organisers have revealed.

Debates on the independence debate is set to take centre-stage in the programme for “Previously”, which was launched two years ago and now features 275 different events.

But there will also be talks, tours, performance poetry, live music and theatre productions devoted to everything from a notorious female poisoner, the origins of the Ryder Cup, long-forgotten Scottish football heroes, Scotland’s First World War poets, the early days of Scottish tourism and the men who built the Forth Bridge.

Although next month’s event - also known as “Scotland’s History Festival” - is still based in the capital, there will now be events in Midlothian, Glasgow, Stirling, Dunfermline and even a visit to Loch Ness this year.

The event will also have a permanent hub for the first time, which will be created in the historic Adam House building on Chambers Street in Edinburgh.

Former politicians Tam Dalyell and Gordon Wilson, broadcaster James Naughtie, Lesley Riddoch and Billy Kay, authors Andrew Greig, Alan Bissett and AL Kennedy, and historians Tom Devine and Alistair Moffat are due to appear.

Among the politically-themed events will be those looking at the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s “sermon on The Mound,” the 1979 independence referendum, the changes on offer if the nation votes for independence and who actually owns Scotland’s land.

Comedian Bruce Morton will be charting the family trees of actor David Hayman, chef Lady Claire MacDonald and arts impresario Richard Demarco, while there will be special days celebrating the legacy of author Robert Louis Stevenson and tycoon Andrew Carnegie.

Among the venues lined up are Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian, the Oran Mor arts centre in Glasgow’s west end and Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh.

Previously runs from 13-30 November. historyfest.co.uk

 

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