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Strange Tales

Three Uncanny Tales by Robert Louis Stevenson

After working with the ASLS to bring you a video cast about all things Sir Walter Scott, we are joining forces once again to celebrate the work of another Scottish literary giant, Robert Louis Stevenson.

Strange Tales: Three Uncanny Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson has been a labour of love for everyone involved, and Scots Whay Hae’s contribution has been to record three of our favourite writers, and podcast guests, Alan Bissett, James Robertson and Louise Welsh reading a Stevenson Strange Tale each.

The choices available to you are that you can read the text, listen to the tale, or do both. The stories chosen are ‘Thrawn Janet’, ‘The Tale of Tod Lapraik’ and ‘The Bottle Imp’ which are collected in a rather handsome publication from the ASLS, the cover of which is to your left.

The paperback will be a limited edition, and you can pick up a copy of Strange Tales for free at Edinburgh city libraries, and other, Stevenson related, venues as long as stock lasts. The details for where and when can be found at the ASLS website where you can also download a pdf version. You Can download the audio versions as podcasts from iTunes or RSS, all for free, or you could put your feet up, click the desired tale below, and listen to them right here, right now.

Thrawn Janet

Alan Bisset reads Robert Louis Stevenson's "Thrawn Janet"

The Tale of Tod Lapraik

James Robertson reads Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Tale of Tod Lapraik"

The Bottle Imp

Louise Welsh reads Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Bottle Imp"


We are delighted with Strange Tales and we hope you are as well. It started, as so many of these things do, as a chat over a couple of drinks, and it is so gratifying that it has actually come to fruition. That doesn’t happen without a lot of people working hard, so credit where credit is due.

Thanks to Louise, James and Alan for giving their time and vocals skills to this project (and you can read all about them, and visit their websites below).

Thanks to Gwen Enstam, Duncan Jones, and all at the ASLS for being great partners once more, and to Pauline Cairns Speitel of Scottish Language Dictionaries for her terrific Scots glossaries. Thanks to the University of Glasgow for the use of their studio, and to the Robert Louis Stevenson Club of Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Libraries and Edinburgh City of Literature for their support. As always, thanks to Ian Gregson for these fantastic recordings, and, of course, hats off and happy birthday to RLS.

Alan Bissett is a writer, dramatist and performer, born and raised in Falkirk and now resident in Glasgow. He is the author of the novels Boyracers (Polygon, 2001); The Incredible Adam Spark (Headline, 2005); Death of a Ladies’ Man (Hachette, 2009); and Pack Men (Hachette, 2011). His dramatic works include The Ching Room and The Moira Monologues (both 2009). Most recently he enjoyed considerable critical success at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his one-man show, Ban This Filth!

James Robertson is a novelist and poet who grew up in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire. He is the author of several short story and poetry collections, and has published five novels to date: The Fanatic (Fourth Estate, 2000); Joseph Knight (Fourth Estate, 2003); The Testament of Gideon Mack (Hamish Hamilton, 2006); And the Land Lay Still (Hamish Hamilton, 2010); and The Professor of Truth (Hamish Hamilton, 2013). He also runs the independent publishing company Kettillonia, and is a co-founder (with Matthew Fitt and Susan Rennie) and general editor of the Scots language imprint Itchy Coo, which produces books in Scots for children and young people.

Louise Welsh is a writer based in Glasgow. She is the author of The Cutting Room (Canongate, 2003), Tamburlaine Must Die (Canongate, 2004); The Bullet Trick (Canongate, 2006); Naming the Bones (Canongate, 2010); and The Girl on the Stairs (John Murray, 2012). Her new book, A Lovely Way to Die (John Murray), will be published in March 2014. She wrote the libretto for Ghost Patrol(composer Stuart MacRae), an hour-long opera produced by Scottish Opera and

Music Theatre Wales, which won a South Bank Award and was shortlisted for an Olivier Award (2013). Louise was a visiting fellow on the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2011) and was writer in residence at the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art (2010–2012).

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