Keep It Lit Festival Highlights Role of Scotland’s Languages This October

For two weeks this October, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) hosts Keep It Lit with its largest programme to date, presenting over 240 events dedicated to the tradition of oral storytelling in Edinburgh, across Scotland and online.

Highlights include The Story of Auslag: A Saga from Unst, a Shetland story dating back to the 800s that is steeped in both historic truth and elements of myth. Based on Andrew T. Cluness’ Trouble With Trolls, Shetland storyteller and Scots Speaker of the Year Marjolein Robertson will be bringing Auslag’s story to life

In a mini break at Hotel Caledonia, audiences can mingle with millions of guests from all over the world drawn here by stories. Some guests become part of the story; some always were. This medley of untold travellers’ tales will be presented by storyteller Áine King and musician/composer Eric Linklater.

Presented with multidisciplinary writer and producer Aisha Josiah. SUM/body, we are asked to imagine the ‘voice’ of Scotland and whether it is possible to blend the diverse words, accents, opinions and emotions expressed by people living in Scotland, and unify them into one character.

This year the festival spreads across Scotland with a Go Local programme of regional events, including the Map of Stories Film Ceilidhs. Part of a wider ambitious project led by Edinburgh-based arts collective Transgressive North, Map of Stories is a series of multimedia performances that celebrates not only Scotland’s living oral storytelling traditions and those that carry them, but also some of Scotland’s iconic, now-departed storytellers including the celebrated Perthshire traveller Sheila Stewart OBE, the polymath Gaelic bard Norman Maclean, and Aberdeenshire traveller Stanley Robertson. After premiering at SISF, each performance will go on tour to its region of focus and explore the distinctive stories, memories and folklore arising from that community and landscape.

The festival’s online Global Platform programme, and international in-person events celebrate the artform of oral storytelling, its interaction with cultural tradition, and contemporary renaissance worldwide. A highlight at the Scottish Storytelling Centre includes A’ lorg Sruthan Falaichte | Finding Hidden Streams which explores the vital nature of language to cultural identity. Storytellers Julie Pellissier-Lush and John Shaw share stories and traditions from North America’s First Nations Mi’kmaq, who handed on their culture through oral tradition, and the Gaelic speaking cultures who emigrated to the maritime territories of what was to later become Canada.

This year, when people’s lives are under pressure, and a story shared is a trouble eased more than ever, SISF wants to make sure its events remain affordable and as many people as possible can sit by the festival’s symbolic fireside. Some events are free and ticketed events cost a maximum of £10, with family events costing £5 per ticket. For those planning on attending multiple events, the Festival Pass offers discounted tickets to many live festival events, online and at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, as well as a discount at the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s bookshop and Haggis Box Café.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 14th – 31st October 2022

For tickets and more info visit

Irene Brown

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