Saturday 21st September, 1.30 – 2.30 pm ‘A the Airts, Sanquhar, ‘Festival of Folklore’: ‘Swords in Stories: the epic tale of a sword, a story and a song‘
Why the Ettrick Shepherd Still Matters: James Hogg at 250. Roundtable discussion at the 3rd World Congress of Scottish Literatures, Prague, 2022. Participants: Dr Valentina Bold; Dr Adrian Hunter (University of Stirling); Prof Silvia Mergenthal (University of Konstanz); Dr Meiko O’ Halloran (University of Newcastle); Duncan Hotchkiss (University of Stirling). this event, postponed from 2020, is a legacy event from ‘James Hogg 250’: a year of celebrations February 2020 to December 2021. From the Borders to Edinburgh, to Washington and Otago, it comprised creative events and initiatives. The aim of this panel is to celebrate Hogg as a poet, novelist, storyteller and songwriter, much more than simply the admired writer of Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
Valentina participated, as an expert in Scottish cultural heritage, in this programme to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott. Author Damian Barr goes in search of the legacy and lasting influence of one of Scotland’s great historical figures, novelists and poets.
Hosted by the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh, this roundtable took inspiration from ‘Unforgettable, Unforgotten’ – the title of prolific Scottish author Anna Buchan’s 1945 autobiography. It was part of a day seminar featuring scholars who are investigating and exploring overlooked, marginalised, or ‘forgotten’ Scottish women writers between 1880 and 1940.
In this event, award-winning writer James Robertson and cultural critic Valentina Bold discussed James Hogg, ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’ (1770 – 1835), and Walter Scott, ‘The Great Unknown’ and ‘The Shirra’ (1771 – 1832). Original, innovative and skilled, they were almost exact contemporaries; Borderers at heart, but from very different backgrounds. This event explored the lives and works of these Scottish writers of international significance, and celebrates their distinctive legacies in poetry and prose, from The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner to the Waverley novels.
Hogg at 250: A Dundee Showcase Friday 29th January 2021, 7 pm – 8 pm. Online event:
This event celebrated the 250th birthday of Scotland’s greatest storyteller, James Hogg. It introduced Confessions of a Justified Sinner: The Dundee Edition, a free online edition of Hogg’s most iconic work of fiction; launched the latest free poetry pamphlet by the Wyvern Poets; and shared early glimpses of Monica Burns’s exciting work-in-progress graphic novel A Justified Sinner. It began with a short plenary address by leading Hogg expert Valentina Bold.
Image courtesy of Monica Burns. Follow the Dundee Gothic Group on Twitter (@DundeeGothic).
The Orkney Digital Storytelling project is a collaboration between Robert Gordon University, the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies and key stakeholders in Orkney. The project is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
On the 1st of December 2020,Valentina organised and co-hosted, with Adrian Hunter, an online event to celebrate James Hogg, a Scottish writer of international standing, on his 250th birthday. Stirling University hosts the Stirling / South Carolina Research Edition of The Collected Works of James Hogg, published by Edinburgh University Press The event explained why Hogg is still important, 250 years after the birth of the celebrated writer of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, bringing together a wonderful group of eminent writers, singers, performers and academics, to mark Hogg’s 250th Jubilee.
Coming together to toast Hogg. From Ettrick to Edinburgh, Dundee to Fife, Europe, the USA and New Zealand, speakers included:
Award-winning writers James Robertson and Liam McIlvanney; Scots-language authority and broadcaster Billy Kay; songs from Sheena Wellington and Kirsteen McCue; academic experts Prof Ian Duncan, Prof Penny Fielding, Prof Silvia Mergenthal and Dr Daniel Cook; Dr Nancy Groce of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress; Vicky Davidson, of Ettrick & Yarrow Community Development Company; from St Mary’s Loch, Jim Mitchell; Donald Smith, Chief Executive of Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland and Bruce Gilkinson, author of ‘Walking with James Hogg’ and a direct descendant of the Ettrick Shepherd.
These special guests each offered a toast to Hogg, explaining why he is important to them and why his work still matters in 2020 and beyond, in what was a sparkling celebration.
‘Why James Hogg (Still) Matters at 250: Collector, Song-Maker, National Treasure’, Plenary Lecture, James Hogg: Scotland’s Shepherd Poet Symposium, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington. 21st February 2020.
This one-day symposium, supported by the Library of Congress, University of Stirling, and Scottish Government USA, explored the work of James Hogg, “The Ettrick Shepherd” (1770-1835). Hogg was an influential Scottish song-maker, folklore collector, novelist, and poet. Inspired by Robert Burns, colleague of Walter Scott, and friend of Lord Byron, Hogg played a major role in creating and promoting Scottish culture, within Scotland and internationally. Widely read in 19th century America, he is best remembered for his novels, including The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) and his folksong collection Jacobite Reliques (1819).
This symposium, for the first time, compared Hogg’s work with that of more recent American performers and collectors, who also served as intermediaries between the worlds of folk, popular, and literary culture. Speakers will explore issues around field collecting, song transmission and creation over the past three centuries. An afternoon of presentations and discussions will be capped by a performance featuring renowned singer Sheena Wellington, who has recorded and performed some of Hogg’s best known songs.
Lecture, ‘She came with a drove of cattle to Hallow, Fair, Edinburgh’: Halloween in Popular Print, Scotland’, at Skeling, Skeklers and Guising’, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sunday 24th November 2019.
This lecture was part of a day celebrating Scotland’s storytelling traditions, at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, in Edinburgh. Organised by the Taibshear Collective:
‘It’s braw to ride round and follow the camp’: the linguistic journey of a Scots song, with an Irish soldier, through space and time’ Zoom presentation, Multilinguality in Folklore Conference hosted by ZRC-Sazu, Ljubliana, Slovenija. 1st – 3rd October 2020.
Public Lecture, ‘Why James Hogg (still) matters: James Hogg 250’, North Bute Literary Society, Rothesay, Bute, 12th November 2019.
At the age of eight on the dirt roads of Arkansas, Dr. Maya Angelou, poet, novelist, educator and civil rights activist discovered the poetry of Robert Burns. In 1996 Elly Taylor made a film exploring the strong parallels that existed in their lives. This rare screening is followed by a discussion with director Elly Taylor and international Burns scholar Dr Valentina Bold (who features in the film). The event will be curated by Shona Thomson from A Kind of Seeing, with thanks to Taylored Productions Ltd. (Director: Elly Taylor, 1996, 48 mins, Recommended Certificate 12).
This free (but ticketed) event from Literature Alliance Scotland provides a space and time to bring together members, literature professionals and peers as well as others working in Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing sector for a planning and information-sharing day, with plenty of time to chat to and connect with other delegates and peers from Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing sector.