Upcoming event, all about Scotland!

Though the world’s attention has been on Scotland in recent days, few Midwesterners realize Scotland’s influence close to home. Sir Walter Scott never visited the United States yet left a lasting legacy on the landscape. From the states of Ohio to Nebraska, towns christened Waverly (named for a fascination with Scott’s best-selling Waverley novels) burgeoned forth between 1830 and 1880, including Waverly, Iowa. The New York Times noted last year that these novels were more influential than those by Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Herman Melville.


In recognition of the bicentennial of Waverley, the first of these wildly popular novels, a series of lectures and a celebration of literature, music, and dance will take place in Iowa City from October 1 to October 5Sunday’s literary and musical program features bagpipers Robert Gray and Ed Raber, Scottish fiddler Jeremy Kittel, soprano Jennifer Macfarlane Haworth, tenor Kevin Hanick, guitarist Jack Stapleton, and the Iowa City Crescendo Children’s Choir.  Scottish dancers hail from Iowa and Kansas.  Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow and Ida Beam Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa, will narrate the story of “Sir Walter Scott’s Legacy in Iowa,” held in conjunction with the UNESCO Iowa City Book Festival.


An author, teacher, and poet, Alan Riach has been an active participant in debates for Scottish independence, both on BBC Radio and in numerous publications, and his recent book Arts of Independence argues why Scottish culture should be at the heart of the independence debate. He will also be giving lectures for the public (see below).


Please consider attending any or all of the events, particularly the 3:30 lecture on Thursday afternoon and the Sunday performance at the Englert Theatre!

Wednesday, October 1

Lecture for undergraduates (and open to the public):  “Why Scottish Literature Matters”

3:30-4:45, 304 English-Philosophy Building


Thursday, October 2

Lunchtime program with the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council: “Reflections on Scottish Literature, Nationalism, and the Recent Referendum and Elections” 12:00-1:15, Congregational Church, Jefferson and Clinton St.

For more details see: http://icfrc.org/about/.


Thursday, October 2

Public lecture:  “Scottish Poetry and Paintings: Politics and the Arts of Resistance”

3:30-4:45, 304 English-Philosophy Building


Friday, October 3

Brown-bag discussion with graduate students in the Department of English: “How Poems Work: A Reading of a Selection of Poems and Reflections on Their Purpose and Power”

1:00-2:30, 304 English-Philosophy Building

Sunday, October 5

Literary and musical performance free and open to the public:  “Celebrating Sir Walter Scott’s Legacy in Iowa”

3:00-4:30, The Englert Theatre, 221 E Washington St, Iowa City (see http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/200th-anniversary-of-sir-walter-scotts-waverley-novels/


And many thanks to the generous sponsors for these events:  The University of Iowa Department of English, Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professorship, International Programs, and Scottish Highlanders Alumni and Friends; the Hawkeye Area Grand Gaelic Isle Society (H.A.G.G.I.S.); and the Preucil School of Music.