THE colourful scarf worn by Orcadian writer and poet George Mackay Brown took on a life of its own when he wrote for the Orkney Herald and Orcadian newspapers under the pen name Islandman.

Now, the creative writing team at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is marking 100 years since his birth, and has teamed up with Book Week Scotland to create a collection of texts inspired by his work, which will be displayed as a digital 'wondrous scarf'.

Each section contains piece of text written in response to Brown, who – along with his scarf – was immortalised by R T Johnston in his “Spike” cartoon.

The writer was born in Stromness, Orkney, and Orcadians are being invited to have an input into the scarf, texts for which have been produced in creative writing workshops led by Mandy Haggith, Gabrielle Barnby and Dr Ragnhild Ljosland, and written by BA Creative Writing students and Orkney’s general public.

Ljosland, the project lead and UHI lecturer, said Brown’s scarf took on celebrity status when he wrote for the two newspapers.

“He had a gift for seeing wonder in everyday occurrences and details, such a bluebottle flying around his lamp, dew in grass, or drift goods on the shore,” he said.

“He skilfully captured these moments in his poetry and novels, and also his journalism.

“Our creative writing students have cast on the first sections of the digital display and we are now inviting Orcadians and anyone with an interest in George Mackay Brown’s writing or a love of Orkney to contribute to the texts on the scarf by coming along to our online creative workshop.”

The free online creative writing workshop takes place during this year's Book Week Scotland on Monday 15 November, from 7pm until 9pm.

Barnby, a lecturer based at Orkney College UHI, added: “This is one of many events taking place this year to celebrate the centenary of the birth in 1921 of George MacKay Brown.

“In the workshop you will be encouraged to see wonder in everyday things – such as a knitted scarf, old tins or bruck on the beach, insects and grass – and use texts by George Mackay Brown to inspire you to write a short text of your own to be part of the scarf.”