ST ANDREW'S DAY: Hawick poet throws his weight behind new Scots language campaign

A Hawick poet is waxing lyrical today - St Andrew’s Day – in support of a new book which promotes the Scots language.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 9:40 am
Thomas posing with the story's haggis hero in front of the James Wilson statue in Hawick.
Thomas posing with the story's haggis hero in front of the James Wilson statue in Hawick.

Thomas Clark has teamed up with a leading charity to help promote the Scots language to children across the region.He’s throwing his weight behind efforts by Nil by Mouth to get schools across the Borders using ‘Neeps and Tatties’, a new children’s book written in Scots, encouraging children to build bridges higher than walls.

Created by author Carey Morning and illustrator Anna York, ‘Neeps and Tatties’ tells the story of two warring vegetable tribes who are finally encouraged to put the past behind them in the interests of a better future.

The book examines issues such as discrimination and prejudice and highlights how old grievance can be overcome by a new generation.

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It was shortlisted for ‘Bairns Book of The Year’ at this year’s Scots Language Awards and from St Andrew’s Day is being made available free of charge to teachers and parents.

Thomas Clark is one of the country’s leading Scots writers and translators and has won as a host of awards for his work. In 2015 he became Scottish football’s first ‘Poet in Residence’ at Selkirk FC and has performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Aye Write! Festival.

He works at Hawick High School and this week joined Nil by Mouth in the town to help promote ‘Neeps and Tatties.’

Earlier this month Primary One pupils at Burgh Primary School in Galashiels took part in a Scots ‘Bookbug’ session, organised by Nil by Mouth to promote the book and the charity is encouraging all SBC primary schools to apply for their free paper or digital copies to celebrate the language.

A special resource pack is also being made available with games and activities for pupils to learn Scots words and consider how they can help others feel more included in society.

Nil by Mouth director Dave Scott said: "The stories we tell our children help shape how they see the world and make sense of the differences that exist around them. Nil by Mouth has always been about considering the power of words and this book uses them as a force for good. We want as many people as possible to enjoy the book and that’s why we have made it available free of charge so teachers, parents and children can enjoy this magical story. There is a great tradition of Scots on the Borders and we hope schools can get involved in the project.”

Thomas added: ‘’Neeps and Tatties’ is a delightful and timely story about how the things which unite us are far, far more important than those that may divide. It’s fantastic that Nil by Mouth are making this wonderful tale freely available to schools and children all across Scotland, and especially exciting that young people here in the Borders will be able to read Carey Morning’s words in the good braid Scots that is still, for so many of the, the language of hearth and home.’