On Monday, I went along to the Low Museum in Hamilton to hear my friend and former MLitt classmate, author Ethyl Smith, talk about the 17th century period setting of her debut novel, Changed Times. It was a fascinating illustrated talk about the Covenanters and the important role they played in Scottish history.
The Read The Past Imagine the Future campaign is supported by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).
The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness among people of all ages to discover what their local library offers and aims to encourage reading throughout communities across Scotland and to widen knowledge of local and national history.
Here’s an account of the event in Ethyl’s words…
“It wis organised by South Lanarkshire Leisure tae promote reading thru libraries. Seven titles wur chosen tae be available fur readers groups across the county and ‘Changed Times’ is ane o them. It’s sittin alang wi some famous titles so ah’m weel pleased tae hae crept in there aside them.
The theme for the promotion is ‘touch the past imagine the future’ an ah wis asked tae speak aboot the past …. Me bein auld an ma book bein aboot a time 300 hunner years ago.
It wis held in the Assembly Room which is awfy big an posh. Ah felt lik a fish oot o watter in sic grand surroondins.
When ah arrived thur wis a big foto shoot which wis a strange experience fur somebody as hates bein snapped then folk stertit comin in … An they kept comin till the place wis fu. Ah began tae wunner if ah wis in the wrang place but naw they’d come tae hear aboot the Covenanters.
Hert in ma mooth ah began an they aw listened, an luked at ma slides, an laughed in the richt bits. .. Believe it or no thur is humour in that time. Richt enough wi some o it if ye didna laugh ye’d greet.
A yapped on fur an hoor an hauf an maist o ma audience wur still awake at the end which wis a relief.
They said they’d learnt a lot aboot the time, asked questions, wur amazed an saddened by much o it, said thur wis a lot tae think aboot then gied me a big clap.
SO sharin information aboot oor heritage wis worthwhile …. folk dae want tae ken.On this occasion we wur sittin quite close tae the site o Hamilton Palace which hud close connections wi that time in history.
Anither thing the Vice President o the Covenanting Memorial Association turned up. He wis at at ma last event so he’s a richt glutton fur punishment. Wur still speakin so it cudna hae been that bad an tae hae that kinda support is really a guid feelin.”
The seven-month Scottish national reading promotion celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology focuses on Scotland’s heritage and depicts images and ideas of the future.
Library users can also enter a competition to win a £50 book token by submitting a book review, either to their local library or on Twitter using the hashtag #ReadThePast17 What’s not to like?
And if you get a chance to read Ethyl’s book or hear her speak at an event you’re in for a treat!