September 24, 2014 Leave a comment
Today is the 155th birthday of Samuel Rutherford Crockett. Events are taking place in Galloway (I’m not there, I’m still in NE Scotland) and I know a lot of other people won’t be in Bonnie Gallowa’ today. So for those who can’t make it to the party, I pulled together a free ebook. You just have to go HERE and enter the coupon code WEEFREE at point of sale. Then download, and get reading. Perhaps with a gingerbread rabbit for company!
This is the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Rutherford Crockett who was born 155 years ago today. In April ‘The Galloway Raiders’ held its first series of commemorative events and now, on his birthday we hold the another set of events for those who want to remember ‘Scotland’s forgotten bestseller.’
In the past five months Crockett has been the centre of attention more than once and is perhaps at last, emerging from the shadows, to become once more, a recognised and recognisable force in Scottish fiction.
It has been a year of firsts and lasts, of joy and sorrow. On April 16th the newly formed Galloway Raiders held a memorial event at Crockett’s memorial in Laurieston and later that day in Wigtown, Ayton Publishing launched the 32 volume ‘Galloway Collection’ which represents the first significant republishing of his work since his death and ensures that it is now possible to purchase Crockett’s Galloway based writings in both digital and paperback format.
The Galloway Raiders has affiliated with ‘The Alliance of Literary Societies’ and our membership stands just shy of 100. We hope it’ll tip over the 100 after Wigtown Book Festival this year!
Crockett was subject of a ‘motion’ in the Scottish Parliament put forward by Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson, noting the Centenary of S R Crockett, Scottish Novelist— It states; That the Parliament notes the centenary of the death of Samuel Rutherford Crockett, the Scottish novelist, on 16 April 2014;… and commends the Galloway Raiders on marking Crockett’s centenary with a series of events including walks, talks, readings and the launch of the 32-volume, The Galloway Collection, which will bring all of Crockett’s Galloway-based novels back into circulation for the 21st century in e-book and print editions, and considers this to be a most fitting way to commemorate the centenary of the death of S R Crockett, considered one of Scotland’s greatest writers.
And on April 16th – the anniversary, Crockett made it onto radio and TV in Scotland. Willie Johnston filmed for Reporting Scotland at Little Duchrae.
In case you missed it, the BBC report by Willie Johnston, including video and an internet article (Giancarlo Rinaldi) can be found just by cliicking HERE.
The Scottish Review published an article by Catherine Czerkawska reflecting on the events and on Crockett as a writer. You can find this by clicking HERE
Earlier in April a ‘symposium’ dedicated to his work was held in New Galloway and Prof Ted Cowan spoke at various events across the region.
The Galloway Raiders hosted a ‘fact meets fiction’ virtual tour to tie in with Douglas Civic Week (still available on the website) and the website is being added to constantly, with book of the week and new features and articles appearing monthly. His work featured in the 3rd Edinburgh eBook festival in August.
Crockett will appear more than once at the Wigtown Book Festival 2014. This weekend, I will be talking about ‘The Raiders’ in the context of Lowland Classics and will deliver the keynote McNeillie lecture as well as introducing a 1920’s silent adaptation of his novel ‘Cinderella.’
So things are starting to look good for Crockett once more. Sadly, though, Islay Murray Donaldson, Crockett’s foremost champion and advocate over the past 40 years died in April, but was pleased to know that once more people were taking an interest in Crockett’s work. The mantle of Crockett Champion has fallen firmly on my shoulders. I think we’ve made a great start in 2014 and hope that word will continue to spread and many more people will experience the joy of reading Crockett’s work.
Today, on Crockett’s 155th birthday, a small group of Galloway Raiders will celebrate taking part in a ‘Raiders Ride to Rathan’ in the east of Galloway and a ‘Books and Baking’ event in the west.
For those who cannot be at those events, we have compiled the ‘readings’ into this ebook – available free for all members of The Galloway Raiders – so that you too can get a flavour of Crockett’s Galloway.
We hope you’ll enjoy reading Crockett’s work here and that it will inspire you to read more. There is certainly plenty to choose from, whether your interest is history, adventure and/or romance, or just an interest in the social history of Galloway of times past.
Happy Birthday S.R.Crockett. You have given me many happy hours over the past 20 years and populated my world with many ‘imaginary’ friends from the novels. And this year, you have also been the conduit for me making many new ‘real’ friends through our shared interest in your work. I’d especially like to mention Tom and Sheila Laird, Ros Nolan, Chris Roberts, Barry and Terri Farley and Robin’s Hogg and Baird for their friendship and support this year. It’s good to know you.
24th Sept, 2014.