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Islands Book Trust

Rewriting St Kilda

Rewriting St Kilda

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The world-wide fascination with the deserted islands of St Kilda shows no sign of waning, and we all share certain conventional assumptions about and stereoypical images of the islands - remoteness, dramatic landscape and bird-life, a distinctive 'primitive' community, the St Kilda Parliament, the mail-boat, thestrict teachings of the Church, an economy uniquely dependent on sea-birds, and the sad decline and eventual evacuation of the remaining inhabitants at their own request in 1930.

it is a remarkable fact that of the over 700 books and articles written about St Kilda - on which our images overwhelmingly are based - almost all were written by visitors to the islands, often on the basis of pre-conceptions and very little first-hand knowledge. it is not suprising therefore that many myths have developed, and been repeated. the voice of the Gaelic-speaking native people has been largely lost or overlooked.

in the summer of 2010 The Islands Book Trust held a major conference, to mark the 80th anniversary of the evacuation, which looked behind the myths and re-examined some of the conventional wisdom: the fascinating results are published here in this book.

Published: 2011

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