Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Will Self lecture published in Scottish Geographical Journal

In September last year, novelist and critic Will Self gave the annual Wreford Watson lecture at the University of Edinburgh, speaking to the title ‘Decontaminating the Union: post-industrial landscapes and the British psyche’.

The lecture, which is to be published in Scottish Geographical Journal, took the audience on a ‘psychogeographical’ drift through the less trodden paths of post-industrial Scotland, culminating in detailed exploration of Motherwell and its surrounds.

Self was an obvious choice for the Wreford Watson lecture, which commemorates the life and work of the late James Wreford Watson, formerly Professor of Geography at the University of Edinburgh, Chief Geographer to the Canadian Government as well as being a poet of some distinction.

Given that James Wreford Watson had an academic interest in the relationship between geography and literature, it seemed appropriate to invite one of Britain’s most celebrated writers whose recent novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

‘I am no kind of orthodox academic’ he told the audience. ‘Rather, I am a writer – specifically of prose fiction – who in the past quarter century or so has taken an increasing interest in a practice known as psychogeography’.

The Wreford Watson lecture is a longstanding event in the University’s calendar but its profile has been raised in recent years as it aims to bring geographical ideas and scholars into circulation within a wider culture of public intellectualism.

Watch the lecture here: