A visit from novelist, poet and historian, Mr James Roberson.

Loretto School was pleased to welcome novelist, poet, and historian Mr James Robertson to deliver a lecture to the Sixth Form on the craft of writing, and the importance of time and truth.

Delivering his lecture between two excerpts from 365: Stories, he eloquently defended writing as neither frivolous nor fanciful but a way of exploring the past and the present to create a questioning reader. ‘My role as a story teller is to get people to question. To show the importance of history,’ James Robertson told the audience.

Clearly emboldened by the speaker’s message, Lorettonians took up his call to question and asked Robertson about the importance of capturing the present in a timeless novel.

Exploring some of his own work, James Robertson spoke of the author’s ability to merge fact and ‘fictional strands’ to create a vivid history of society and culture. The students, impressed with the breadth of Robertson’s works, took note of The Testament of Gideon Mack, the contemporary tale of a minister questioning his own god, and Joseph Knight, the story of an emancipated slave in eighteenth century Dundee.

Speaking on the importance of perspective, Robertson compared himself, ‘a 20th century person’, with his audience, ‘very much 21st century people.’ He spoke of how the present conflates with experience to become the past and that ‘fiction allows you to get into the shoes of someone else and understand them.’ Finally, presciently, James Robertson explained how ‘The truth is always questionable. History is not stable. The past moves and the past shifts’, leaving Lorettonians to question their present, their view of the past, and their future.

The Sixth Form thanked James Robertson and were pleased to present him with a memento of his visit to Loretto School.

(With thanks to Lachlann for his excellent report on Mr James Robertson's Lecture)

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