Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Scott’s Waverley novels at the Book Fest

WaverlyIn celebration of the 200th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels, a free literary and musical performance of Scottish culture will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Englert Theatre. Narrated by Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow and Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at The University of Iowa, the program will include readings, music, songs, and dances from and inspired by Scott’s work. Musicians include Scottish fiddler Jeremy Kittel, bagpipers Robert Gray and Ed Raber, soprano Jennifer Macfarlane Haworth, and the Iowa City Crescendo Children’s Choir. Scottish dancers hail from Iowa and Kansas. Wildly popular throughout the nineteenth century, Scott’s Waverley novels eclipsed other fiction of the period, so much so that eponymous towns popped up throughout the Midwest between the 1830s and 1880s, including Waverly, Iowa. Published anonymously in 1814 and known as the first historical novel, Waverley; Or, ‘Tis Sixty Years Since, inaugurated a staggeringly successful series of books that became known as the Waverley novels, since Scott signed subsequent novels “by the Author of Waverley” until he publicly acknowledged authorship in 1827. Come celebrate Scott’s remarkable legacy in Iowa during the year of Waverley’s bicentennial and learn not only why his historical novels captured the imagination of nineteenth-century readers but also why they remain relevant today, as Scotland seeks independence from the United Kingdom. This program is made possible due to funding from The University of Iowa’s Department of English and Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorship.