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Iconic Stories and Storytellers in Scotland's Year of Stories

Scotland has created some of the world’s most iconic stories and storytellers: from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Our Community Stories Fund can support events and activity that celebrates iconic stories and storytellers, as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. Here’s some inspiration and information on how to get involved and celebrate your community’s iconic stories…

A white marble statue of Scottish poet, Robert Burns, stands in the foreground. A red sandstone church tower with a clock that is part of Greyfriars Kirk is in the background
Statue of Robert Burns, Dumfries. Credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam


2022 has been designated as Scotland’s Year of Stories. It’s a year in which stories inspired by, created or written in Scotland will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of events and activity.

Every culture has its stories to tell, and Scotland has a particularly rich heritage of stories and storytelling to spotlight and celebrate. These include our local tales, oral traditions, great stories told in books and our huge catalogue of films – all inspired by our country, our culture and reflected back by many diverse voices and across the widest range of forms.

One of the key programme strands for the year is ‘Iconic Stories and Storytellers’. These icons include the stories and writers that have endured across the centuries as well as contemporary tales that have quickly become part of the public consciousness. Often these are the stories and storytellers with a global reach – the tales we treasure, which strike a chord and connect people of all ages and backgrounds.

Iconic stories are also those which have been handed down through the oral tradition – the storytelling gems that are passed from generation to generation.

Some of our iconic storytellers’ names trip off the tongue – Robert Burns, J.M. Barrie and Sir Walter Scott. Modern day icons like Jackie Kay, Irvine Welsh and Val McDermid tell very different, but powerful tales. And it’s not just the written word. Scotland’s film and TV archive has legions of fans, from Outlander to Harry Potter, Braveheart to Brave. Then there are the brilliant storytellers that can’t be contained by genre – Billy Connolly is just one such example.

If you’re looking for inspiration, why not take a peek at the Year of Stories pages on the VisitScotland website – here you’ll find a wide range of blogs, including 9 Must-Read Books About ScotlandAmazing Locations connected to Sir Walter Scott, , Film & TV locations in Scotland10 Interesting Facts About Robert Burns plus lots more. The Set in Scotland e-book is packed with details of what films have been inspired by or filmed in each of Scotland’s regions.

There’s lots more reading in the Scottish Writers & Literature section – here you can find details of literary attractions and tours as well as an e-book which will take you on a tour of Scotland’s writers across the centuries, from Robert Louis Stevenson to Muriel Spark, Lewis Grassic Gibbon to Denise Mina.

Our Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund offers the perfect opportunity for organisations – including museums, galleries, heritage sites – and community groups to celebrate the iconic stories and storytellers that resonate with them and their communities.

There are lots of different ways to celebrate your local storytelling icons. You might want to host a special event with live storytelling that showcases iconic stories from your community. Or perhaps there’s scope to create a trail that shines a spotlight on the locations near your community that have captured the imagination of filmmakers. Did an iconic writer grow up or create their famous works where you live? Why not research their links to the area and reveal the tales you uncover via an event or exhibition?

Every community has its own tales to tell, places to highlight as inspiration for well-known books and films, visitor attractions that showcase our literary and storytelling heritage, and all kinds of places and spaces where stories, old and new, can be enjoyed. Why not make 2022 the year that you share your own iconic tales of Scotland?