We begin the week with a look at Robert Burns on the anniversary of his death, and the writer who has won an award for his work on Lord Byron.
The Legacy of the Scottish National Bard
This week marks the 225th anniversary of the death of the poet Robert Burns. At the age of just 37, Burns died on 21st July 1796. It is believed that the poet who was already known as the National Bard by the point in his life died from a condition called endocarditis which it is exacerbated or caused by rheumatism.
The poet left behind his wife Jean Armour and several children, the youngest of whom was born on the day that he was laid to rest. A fund was established in the days following his death to help his widow care for their children.
Every year people all over the world pay homage to the poet when they celebrate Burns Night. The celebrations are held on or around 25th January – Burns date of birth, this first began five years after his death when a group of his friends met up. It is widely accepted that he played a significant part in preserving the Scots language and also the nationhood of the country.
Many of the significant numbers of the poems that Burns wrote over the course of his rather short life spoke about his passion for Scotland and spoke out about their English neighbours. It is believed that this passion he had also influenced his fellow poet Sir Walter Scott, who he met just the once when Scott was a teenager.
Such is the influence that Burns had and still has, that he is the only poet who has a specific celebration dedicated to his honour. It is believed that there are more statues of him located all over the world than there are of any of non-royal or secular figure, and he is reported to be worth a staggering sum to the Scottish economy every year in respect of the tourist industry, a nine-figure sum to be exact.
The Robert Burns World Federation, who have their headquarters in Kilmarnock are in the process of setting up a Lifelong Learning Unit which will contain books on not only Burns but other Scots writers as well. This will include a digital presence and an education resource.
Elmer Dangerfield Literacy Award from the International Byron Society Awarded to Southwell Author
Geoffrey Bond has been awarded the coveted award for his second book which looks at the hidden life of Lord Byron. Dangerous to Show is in fact the second book that he has written about the poet and looks at his day to day struggles.
Bond currently lives in Burgage Manor, a house that was once inhabited by Lord Byron himself – both of his books on the poet have been published whilst he has been living here
The book was published in December 2020 and is already a best-seller.
In addition to being named as the winner, an accolade that Bond said was more than enough recognition, there is also a cash prize of £500.