The year 2014 already feels like another era, a century before Brexit, Trump… During that year author James Robertson (And the Land Lay Still, The Testament of Gideon Mack, The Professor of Truth) set himself a challenge. Every day he would write a short short story: 365 words only. The stories were ‘fairytales, memories, keen observations and bold provocations’ and published online, one per day throughout 2014, the year of the Scottish referendum on independence. Eventually, the stories were published in a single volume by Penguin as 365: Stories.
Inspired by Robertson’s project, Aidan O’Rourke – Scottish fiddler, composer and one third of the folk supertrio Lau – decided to write a tune every day in response.
Skipping forward to the present day, the Scottish Poetry Library is the host of a sound installation based on Robertson and O’Rourke’s twinned endeavours; the installation will be at the SPL from now until 15 January. Visitors to the Library can for the next month listen to 365: Stories + Music via an installation which, in this blog-writer’s mind at least – looks like a more lo-fi version of the Tardis’s console. Sit down, slip on the headphones and set the co-ordinates for the day of the year you’re interested in. Robertson reads many of the stories himself, with other storytellers — artists, actors, friends young and old — adding a handsome range of voices from across Scotland.
If you can’t make it to the Library while the installation is running, fear not. Each pair of stories and tunes will be released throughout 2020 and you can subscribe to be sent the daily releases via the 365: Stories + Music website.
365: Stories + Music is run in partnership with Edinburgh International Book Festival, with support from Creative Scotland, PRS for Music Foundation’s The Open Fund, the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Literature department, BBC Scotland, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Poetry Library, An Tobar, Reveal Records and Penguin Books.