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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
Where is Deveron Projects? Where is Deveron Projects?

Bob Pegg

Secret Doorways, Strange Worlds

2006 – 2007

Where did you come from, Baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.
Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.
George MacDonald: At the Back of the North Wind
A celebration of the work of Huntly fantasy writer George MacDonald through new storytelling

Bob Pegg came to Huntly from Strathpeffer in Northern Scotland. Bob was Deveron Projects’ first storyteller-in-residence in 2006/7 during the George MacDonald memorial celebrations.

In looking at the legacy of Huntly-born fantasy writer George MacDonald (1828-1905), Bob noticed that there had been little exploration into the folklore of the author’s childhood, and the stories that he had developed from it. As MacDonald had a significant impact upon other famous writers such as C.S. Lewis, Ruskin and Tolkien, the question was asked: what was it that so influenced the young MacDonald?

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Trained as a folklorist, oral historian and professional storyteller, Bob admits to being embedded in a culture of classic tales and strange, fantasy worlds. Understanding the nature of storytelling as a traditional method of education, entertainment and also as a way of understanding a specific culture and place, he has a particular taste for Scottish storytelling. The outcome of his residency, a publication Secret Doorways, Strange Worlds, explores the stories and themes, which may have been significant to George MacDonald while growing up. Described as a ‘guided storywalk’ it invites the reader to understand Huntly through the eyes of Victorian folkloric culture, by relating the town’s history and landmarks to the fairytale world he describes. The book invites the reader to take part in storytelling - by reading aloud to others or by re-telling it to yourself from your own perspective and based on your own experiences. In doing this, the reader of the book in turn becomes part of a long tradition of sharing knowledge of culture, place, people and memories through telling stories of strange yet familiar worlds - a process that is evident in the influence of George MacDonald through the generations.

     

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