An Aberdeenshire illustrator and storyteller have joined forces to create a publishing house that will print stories for all ages in Doric.
North East artist Aaron Gale and storyteller Jackie Ross are launching Doric Books this month to develop and preserve the culture and heritage of the North East.
The process began after Aaron was furloughed from his work during the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown. Gale created a book in Doric, however after meeting with publishers of the Scots language he found that it was hard to get books published in Doric.
He got in touch with the Doric Board and with the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute and through this met with professional storyteller Jackie Ross. The pair realised their shared ambitions to spread the Doric language throughout the world and began collaborating to create a publishing house that will make it easier for books to be published in Doric.
They have both spoken of their belief of the importance of promoting Doric as a language through seeing it in print and across a range of media, including TV and radio.
In a recent interview with Doric TV, the pair spoke of how young people need to see the words written down in Doric as well as helping speakers remember words not commonly used anymore.
Jackie said: ‘Our language is who we are; diversity is something we really enjoy. The world is richer for having thousands of different languages, thousands of different cultures.
‘Doric itself isn’t just one thing; there’s words that they use in the Broch that they don’t use in Lumphanan. There’s ways of saying things that differ from place to place, so there’s diversity within Doric itself.’
Aaron said: ‘You do worry that perhaps you might lose some aspects of that culture and identity if you don’t try to keep it alive and keep it going and normalise it, and through Doric Books we hope to contribute to that.’
They have already published one book together, Aul McDonald Hid a Fairm, and are looking forward to The Puddock and Nae Place Like Hame? coming out soon.
Each book will also come with its own glossary of words from Doric to English, which they hope can serve as a stepping stone for people looking to learn the language.
The publishing house will be a Community Interest Company (CIC), meaning that it will be run for the benefit of the Doric speaking community and not for profit.
Following its launch, Doric Books plan to become involved in the community engagement through storytelling, author visits and Doric workshops for local care homes, schools, and other community groups. The North East Makar, Sheena Blackhall, and fellow poet Jo Gilbert have joined the team at Doric Books to assist with the delivery of this outreach programme.
Doric Books plans to launch later this month.
To support the launch and for more information follow them on Facebook or visit www.doricbooks.com where you can sign up for regular updates ahead of their launch.