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Scotland’s top writers’ words will be Writ Large across Aberdeen landmarks for spectacular Spectra

spectra writ large

The words of some of Scotland’s most-talented writers will be splashed across iconic Aberdeen buildings as part of a new commission for Scotland’s festival of light, Spectra.

Six creatives – whose poems and prose will be displayed as large-scale projections and colourful neons – have just been unveiled as Spectra announced Writ Large,  a brand-new commission as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Scattered around the city centre, the spectacular project will feature pieces of writing from Inverness-born singer-songwriter Kathryn Joseph, who grew up in Aberdeenshire village Dunecht.

Her debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled won the 2015 Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Works by Doric Quine Sheena Blackhall, who is known for her distinctive poetry and prose and constant championing of the Scots language, will be on display too.

Award-winning literary collective and arts production house Neu Reekie also collaborated with Michael Pedersen, Kevin Williamson, Amanda Thomson, and Mae Diansangu to bring the beauty and brilliance of the written word to Aberdeen sites including Aberdeen Art Gallery, Marischal College, Castlegate, Upper Kirkgate and Schoolhill.

Kathryn Joseph is well-known in the north and north-east.

Scotland is inspiration for Spectra’s Writ Large

Kevin and Michael, Neu Reekie founders and prize-winning poets in their own right, took inspiration from their Scottish surroundings.

Kevin’s poem Voyager is inspired by his father.

He said: “My dad was an Aberdonian, born and bred, very proud of the city, especially its football team.

“When he died a few years ago, after a difficult time battling dementia, I got thinking about how we used to watch all the Apollo rocket launches in the ’60s and ’70s. The poem grew out of those memories and his final days in care.”

Michael’s poem Squatting On Rubislaw is also in part about loss.

Michael said: “I found myself in a gargantuan house in Rubislaw Den with no real right to be there. Me and a little coterie of friends were tasked with putting on a play about a great Scottish poet.

“We’d just suffered a discombobulating loss, it was winter, and there was something portentous brewing in the sky. A storm was coming to shake the city and make mischief of the garden. There were voices in the wind.”

spectra writ large
Sheena Blackhall’s work will be part of Aberdeen’s Spectra festival.

Celebrating Scotland’s Year of Stories

Writ Large is one of more than 60 events making up a nationwide programme supported by EventScotland celebrating the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland to mark Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, which supports the event, said: “From icons of literature to local tales, Scotland’s Year of Stories encourages 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.”

Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokesperson Councillor Marie Boulton added: “Aberdeen City Council are excited to welcome this major new commission to Spectra.

“Stories are an integral part of our culture here in north-east Scotland and it’s a privilege for us to showcase words from contemporary storytellers, lighting up the city and engaging our communities.”

In addition to Writ Large, “Gaia” will be another creative work displayed in Aberdeen during Spectra festival.

Writ Large is part of Spectra which will run from Thursday February 10 to Sunday February 13.

More works are yet to be announced, with details on the festival being shared at

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