Scottish Book Trust - Days Like This
One day like this
Kirstin Innes finds out about a celebrity-studded project designed to get Scotland writing
Refining that old platitude that everyone’s got a novel in them, the Scottish Book Trust launched their Days Like This project earlier this year, looking for ordinary people’s stories of their extraordinary days.
‘Days Like This is really about Scotland talking to itself, you know, people from across the country sharing their experiences,’ says Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust, who helped initiate the project. ‘We were inspired by a project Paul Auster had started in New York, which resulted in a wonderful book called True Tales of American Life. I’d come across the book some time ago and it seemed to be such a wonderful idea that we basically just nicked it (he chuckles) and transformed the project so it was relevant and feasible in a Scottish situation.’
Days Like This is a collection of stories, submitted over the internet by anyone who wants to participate. The only stipulations are that they need to be true, and under 1000 words. Logging on to the website, you can find almost 500 stories by MSPs, school children, BBC presenters and grandfathers, with titles like The Day I Met an Absolute Jerk, Chilled Popes and Five Finnish Firemen, or even, simply, My Stupid Day at the Office. At the end of the project, celebrity curators Irvine Welsh, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Siobhan Redmond, mountaineer Jamie Andrew, percussionist Evelyn Glennie and Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble (all of whose extraordinary days can also be read on the site) will pick their favourites, to be read on a series of BBC Radio Scotland programmes and published in a book.
‘The great thing about Days Like This,’ says Welsh, ‘is that it simplifies and demystifies what writing is actually about. When people start from the known or the personal, it gives them the confidence to build up and then explore new issues and forms of storytelling”.
Lambert agrees. ‘We want people to get writing in a way that was non-threatening. We’re not asking for a piece of fiction, we’re asking for something absolutely true that happened to you.’
And he means you. If you fancy being published alongside Irvine Welsh, the final deadline for submitting your stories is Saturday 1 November. The celebrity curators will read their favourite stories out on Radio Scotland on a series of programmes over the Christmas/New Year period, and, as Lambert notes, you don’t even have to give your name. ‘You really do get to see the whole of life, working on this project,’ he says. ‘We had an absolutely fabulous story about cross-dressing in yesterday. Submitted anonymously.’
To take part, visit www.scottishbooktrust.com