Those braw folk at Scottish Book Trust huv came up wi' a beezer of an idea... as lang as ye dinna fash aboot issues o' gender, class and a whale host o' other wee things that I dinna want tae gang intil juist noo.
But hey, it's easy tae criticise, eh? Here at McRenegades we like tae offer alternative views and so we've came up wi' oor ain version of the project - wi' the same goal - getting fowk readin' (though we're happy tae hae buik wifies as well as buik cuifs an' book chiels).
In essence here is the Scottish Book Trust's idea: [taken from their website - they winna mind - it's free advertising after all]
It's an initiative that brings together 50 men and aims to raise £50,000 to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the same opportunity to thrive through reading and writing. We want to encourage more men to read for pleasure and highlight the importance of dads reading to their children.
Reading and writing have the power to change lives.
This is where we need you. Help us turn Scotland into nation of booklovers. The idea is simple. Each of the 50 men commits to raising £1,000 each in any way you like by April 2017. Each of the 50 men becomes a role model for reading in their families, at work and with friends. The money raised will support Scottish Book Trust’s literacy programmes.
You will immediately become part of an exclusive group of 50 men across Scotland. You’ll meet new people and widen your personal and business networks. You’ll be championing a great cause, having fun and making a real difference to the future of people in Scotland.
At Scottish Book Trust, we’ll support you with your fundraising, promote your fundraising in the media, share ideas and keep you updated on the group’s successes and we will give you the opportunity to help us in special reading missions such as gifting our free book of short stories to the people of Scotland during Book Week Scotland.
Perhaps you might like to bear in mind the following quote from 'Scotland's Forgotten Bestseller':
'Any cuif can write a book but it takes a man to Herd the Merrick' (S.R.Crockett 'Men of the Moss Hags')
Here at McRenegades oor stomachs turned juist a wee bit at the method o' delivery o' what is, in essence of course a grand idea. Here's oor thochts:
SBT: Help us turn Scotland into nation of booklovers.
McR's: We are all for Scotland becoming a nation of booklovers. It's a laudable goal and one that we McRenegades (male and female) are happy to get behind.
SBT: (goal) to ensure that everyone in Scotland has the same opportunity to thrive through reading and writing. We want to encourage more men to read for pleasure and highlight the importance of dads reading to their children.
McR's: We'd love everyone to have the same opportunity to thrive. That's why we are involved in making a wide range of diverse Scots writing available at the cheapest possible prices (and often free). We don't think that money should be at the heart of an initiative to get folks reading.
SBT: Reading and writing have the power to change lives.
McR's: Absolutely. And our work changes the lives of both men and women, be they reader and writer. Just explore McStorytellers if you don't know how.
Now this is where we start losing empathy with the aims of SBT. (Well, we're a wee bit worried about the sexism of the concept but more than that it's the following which gets oor comunal goat.)
SBT: Each of the 50 men becomes a role model for reading in their families, at work and with friends.
McR's: Nothing wrong with role models for reading of course but if the reason you are becoming a role model is as follows: (Prospective Bookfella asks what's in it for me?)
SBT: The Benefits
You will immediately become part of an exclusive group of 50 men across Scotland.
McR's: Okay, haud the bus. So we are going to increase reading by creating an exclusive club of men? Does that no' strike folk as a bit... er... elitist and thus possibly contrary to the original stated aims? It's great to have role models, but to encourage them to raise money by being part of an exclusive club...???????
Here at McRenegades we're appealing to all our writers (and readers) of both McRenegades and our sister site McStorytellers, to get behind the 'Buik Cuifs' and do what they can (as they always do) to encourage reading - to help turn Scotland into a nation of booklovers.
You can go one of two ways - think it over... become a Bookfella or a Buik Cuif/Quine.
Signed up Bookfellas (Dec 2016)
Stewart Argo Director, Weber Shandwick Project: Stewart is going run - and walk - the c40 miles from Edinburgh Waverley (the only train station in the world named after a novel) to Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott.
Alan Bett Books Editor, The Skinny Project: A self-claimed pretentious literary type, Alan is being sponsored to read the 50 Shades trilogy, (often publicly) within the month of February 2017. Support him here.
Murray Buchanan Media Consultant, Murray Buchanan Ltd Project: TBC
Robert Burdock Freelance journalist and copywriter Project: TBC
Matt Cartney Children’s Author Project: TBC
Roger Cox Arts Editor, The Scotsman Project: At some point between now and the end of April 2017, Roger will climb a big hill in a gale and read a passage from the Storm Scene in King Lear ("Blow winds, and crack your cheeks" etc). There will be video evidence, so if you'd like to see Roger getting beaten up by a real storm while mangling one of the best rants in Shakespeare, please sponsor him at the link below.
More Info: justgiving.com/fundraising/R-Cox1
Rob Flett Communications and PR, Church of Scotland Project: Create ‘Book Map Scotland’ – an interactive map of Scotland which, in return for a donation, people can populate with images, videos and stories about books they have enjoyed linked to places around the country.
Don Ledingham Chief Executive, Ceannas Project: Celebrate John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps by walking the 39 km from Broughton (his birthplace) to Moffatt, which features in the novel.
Chris Leslie Schools Resources Developer, Scottish Book Trust Project: King of the Mountains Sportive
Fraser Leslie Partner, Gillespie Macandrew LLP Project: TBC
Scott Lothian Investment Manager, Baillie Gifford Project: TBC
Fred MacAulay Comedian Project: TBC
Ryan Macready Business Development Assistant, Charlotte Square Investment Managers Project: Hold a music concert and earn donations by selling a CD
Jim McLeod Owner, Ginger Nuts of Horror Project: TBC
Mat Norbury Business Development Director, Jump Marketing Project: Running the Cape Wrath half marathon.
Ian Rankin Author Project: TBC
Peter Ranscombe Freelance journalist and copywriter Project:Beards for Books! 'During November, I'm going to try to grow my first beard - I've always avoided sporting a beard in the past because I'm worried that it'll make me look too much like my Dad, who has some fine facial hair. Please sponsor me in my attempt to lose my clean-shaven visage and end my days as a beardless wonder.'
More Info: justgiving.com/fundraising/Peter-Ranscombe
Allan Rennie Managing Director, Media Scotland Project: Sponsored takeover of the 50-Word Fiction Competition
Blythe Robertson Director, Scran Salon Project: 100 Bookpeeps -100 friends write about a book that is important to them, send a pic, donate £10 and it is then posted on 100bookpeeps.wordpress.com.
More Info: justgiving.com/fundraising/Blythe-Robertson
Jeff Sanders Dig It! 2017 Project Manager, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Project: Awkward Dads - Ten dads are filmed reading a part of a book. Every £100 raised unlocks the next part of the story.
J David Simons Writer Project: Robert Louis Stevenson hike across Mull in the footsteps of David Balfour in Kidnapped
Mark Smith Sustainability Programmes Manager, Standard Life Project: TBC
Raymond Soltysek Lecturer, University of Strathclyde Project: Robert Louis Stevenson hike across Mull in the footsteps of David Balfour in Kidnapped
Will Stockham Managing Director, Scottish Routes Project: Will is planning a special whisky tour that incorporates books and reading.
Jonny Sweet Journalist Project: TBC
Jason Thomson Editor, Edinburgh Whisky Blog Project: TBC
Calling all Buik Cuifs and Quines
Brendan Gisby. Mr McStoryteller himself. McStorytellers has been running online for over six years now, during which time the site has published 1.5 million words in close to 900 short stories penned by some 100 authors, many of whom are regular McStorytellers. The site offers all genders the possibility of reading writing by Scots related writers for free. It also publishes work by Scots writers - the 'wee voices' who otherwise would stand nae chance o' a publishing deal - because they are not the kind o' folk who work in Media, Journalism, Consultancy, Academia or 'traditional' mainstream publishing - and don't mix wi' those kind o' folk on a day to day basis. They're 'cuifs' not 'fellas' in every respect. They represent the real diversity of Scots writing, the stuff that doesn't doff its cap to the gatekeepers.
Many of the McStorytellers make their work available regularly for free as ebooks. We believe this is a very good way to encourage a broader readership among men and women in Scotland. Oh that the Scottish Book Trust would use some of its funds to help promote this work!
Rab Christie: editor of Gateway online Magazine which offers free monthly writing on cultural and political topics, and champion of freeing public domain work from the prison of a paywall culture.
The question is:
Who else - male or female will sign up to the Buik Cuifs/Quines project?
Buik Cuifs/Quines have the following aims:
To encourage reading of and by Scots of any gender, class or religious/political persuasion and to make a broad range of writing available to readers for free (or cost price). To show that money and exclusivity aren't the answer. We need role models from all socio-economic brackets - a grassroots thing rather than a top down one. Surely we can be our own role models without needing the carrot of becoming one of the suited and booted elite?
We have a wee hunch that many folk don't read because they don't find anything in common with the mainstream offerings - and that if we can match folk with the kind of things that are relevant (and enjoyable) to them they may find they do love reading. It's certainly worked for McStorytellers. That's a 'go to' place for readers and writers outside the mainstream and its success, while firmly under the radar, is that it reaches out to those who are otherwise not well served by the market-driven mainstream publishing model.
So what can you do?
We're looking for writers prepared to offer their work for free (digitally and online) or where possible, the odd free paperback (not in exchange for being part of an exclusive gang but to promote the inclusivity of Buik Cuifs/Quines to a wider audience). If this is something you do already, or are keen to do you can support Buik Cuifs/Quines by simply giving us the heads up on social media when you have a free offer and we'll do our best to shout out about it. We're happy to try and co-ordinate this at McRenegades - but remember we're not in this for profit in the financial sense - we're doing it because we believe in reading as a positive force in Scotland FOR ALL.
We're also looking for READERS to share what they've enjoyed with the wider world. Shout out about the writing that you've enjoyed. Use social media to encourage others to read, by sharing free offers and saying what you've loved about the things you've read. Again, we're happy to co-ordinate any such action. Just get in touch with your ideas/reviews/thoughts.
So cuifs an' quines - it's over to you... we welcome your comments. Of course if you'd rather raise a grand by joining an elite club then the details are all there for you on the left-hand side of the page.
You've got the chance to buy into a gang with the likes o' these guys for just a grand... (as long as you're male of course!) or be in wi' a gang o' buik cuifs n quines for free! You pays your money and you takes your choice...
Thanks for reading!