As well as looking back at past film and television, the Natural Scotland on Screen project also wanted to create something new as a lasting legacy beyond the 2013 Year of Natural Scotland.

Scottish poet and novelist Sophie Cooke was commissioned to write an original poem inspired by film from the Scottish Screen Archive and the themes of the Year of Natural Scotland. Sophie watched many hours of footage, then helped select the final clips that would be edited together in this single short film.

The result was Byland. Sophie hopes the poem – and accompanying film – will help to tell the story of our changing relationship with nature.



Poem by Sophie Cooke

All film courtesy of Scottish Screen Archive

Sophie Cooke is one of Scotland’s most significant young writers. She is a novelist, short story writer, poet, and travel writer. Sophie spent her childhood in Kilmahog, in a house that later formed the setting for her second novel. She attended McLaren High School in Callander (Perthshire) and then the University of Edinburgh, where she gained a Masters degree in Social Anthropology.

In 2000, Sophie’s short story ‘Why You Should Not Put Your Hand Through The Ice’ won runner-up prize in the MacAllan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition. She also contributed the short story ‘At The Time’ to the anthology Damage Lands (2001), edited by Alan Bissett; and more recently, ‘United Solutions’ to the anthology The Year of Open Doors (2010), edited by Rodge Glass. Other short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio. Outside of Scotland, her stories have been published in anthologies and literary magazines in London, Prague, Belgrade, and Zagreb; and she reads at festivals and art galleries around Europe.

Sophie’s novels ‘The Glass House’ (shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award) and ‘Under The Mountain’ are both set in the Scottish Highlands. This year, she was invited to give the keynote speech on ‘Style versus Content’ at the Edinburgh World Writers Conference in Beijing. She teaches classes in novel writing at Skriva Writing School in Edinburgh.

Sophie won the Genomics Forum Poetry Prize, and was also long-listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, the largest poetry prize in the world. Her travel writing appears in The Guardian newspaper.

For more details of Sophie's work, visit http://www.facebook.com/sophiecookewriter

You can read the words of Sophie's Byland poem here

The Scottish Screen Archive was set up in 1976 to find, protect and provide access to Scotland's moving image heritage. It preserves over 100 years of Scottish history on film and video. The archive houses more than 32,000 items, mostly non-fiction, including: documentaries, newsreels, educational material, television and public information films, industrial material, advertising and promotional material.

The archive has been part of the Collections Department at the National Library of Scotland since April 2007. To learn more about their extensive moving image collection, visit their website http://ssa.nls.uk/

Natural Scotland Films is part of the Year of Natural Scotland

year of natural scotland

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