28th April 2021
Today – 28 April - is the 123 anniversary of the birth of writer and master poet William Soutar in 1898. Born in Perth, Soutar was educated at Perth Academy and later at the University of Edinburgh where he began publishing poetry in both English and Scots. He subsequently became a friend of Hugh MacDiarmid and is today regarded as one of the central figures of the Scots Literary Renaissance of the 1920’s and 1930’s. In particular, Soutar took an interest in writing verse in Scots for children, such as Seeds in the Wind (1933). Soutar firmly believed that if Scots was to be revived as a medium for all forms of communication beyond the informal, then it would come back through children being educated in the language. Unfortunately, William Soutar was struck down by illness early in life and was largely confined to home from the 1930’s and he died in 1943. His collected poems were published in 1948 and later his diaries.
His legacy lives on through the Friends of William Soutar, established in 2007, and chaired by Iain Mackintosh, which seeks to promote Soutar’s works and hosts a regular children’s writing competition in Scots. There is also a William Soutar Trail in Perth.