Walked 1,000 miles to drink Irn-bru with you

Plans to shift Scotland’s focus away from the UK and towards the Nordic countries have been drawn up by the Scottish National Party. But how Scandinavian is Scotland? Well, the climates aren’t too dissimilar. The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are almost exactly on the same line of latitude as Copenhagen and Malmö. Horns, no not the horn, feature prominently in the iconography of both sides, although it’s generally agreed that the Viking helmets were conical. They do like a good detective drama. Taggart is popular in Denmark while The Killing and Wallander do well in Scotland. “Also, our languages are very alike,” claims Lea Fløe Christensen from Copenhagen’s Main Library. “Scottish Gaelic has a lot of similarities with Danish.”

Reasons enough for the very same library – the one in the centre of town, barely a minute’s walk from Abigail’s and Filostræde – to invite four Scottish poets and writers for an evening of readings and discussion. Writers Allan Wilson and Kirsty Logan from Glasgow (understand these accents and you’ll have no bother, ye ken), William Letford from Stirling (a little more understandable) and India-born Raman Mundair (grew up in Manchester, so no need to worry) will all dive into the political situation of the country.

Scotland can best be described as having a multi-party system. In the Scottish Parliament, the centre-left, pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) is the party that forms the government, currently holding a clear majority of seats in the parliament. An independent Scotland would shift much of its attention away from the UK to become a member of the Scandinavian circle of countries, with its own army, navy and air force modelled on its Nordic neighbours, according to plans from the SNP.

So will the Scots be at peace with their tweed and tartan pattern, or is Scotland on the way to becoming a new part of Scandinavia?
Hosted by Katrine Nyland Sørensen, the host of Danish Radio P1’s ‘Kulturkontoret’ (cultural office) who has special knowledge in both Irish and Scottish nationalism – the writers will read and discuss their work.

Do they write national patriotic hymns, or do they turn their literary gaze elsewhere?

“We don’t know very much about Scottish literature or the political situation in Scotland,” Christensen said. “So we’ve invited these four writers and poets, all interesting in their own way.” William Letford, for example is a roofer by day, a poet by night. And Raman Mundair, who, even though her primary language is English, uses Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Shetland dialects in her poems.

Luckily for those who ‘cannae’ understand the Scottish accent or dialect (Scots would probably say there is no such thing as a Scottish accent or dialect), there is no need to worry. “They promised to talk slowly though,” she said.

To give the evening an extra Scottish twist, the evening will be accompanied by a small Scottish treat. However, don’t be disappointed if it’s just crisps. “We tried to find Scottish snacks, but couldn’t find any,” Christensen said.  “Apparently they don’t even have their own snacks.” What a shame.


Scottish Night at the Library

Hovedbiblioteket, Krystalgade 15, Cph K;

Fri 16:00; free adm;