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Publication Date
17 September 2015
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
16pp b/w plate section

Way of the Wanderers

The Story of Travellers in Scotland

TV programmes like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, books like Gypsy Boy and the recent disturbances at Dale Farm have created enormous interest in the history and lifestyle of gypsies. Scottish gypsies, known as travellers, have wandered Scotland’s roads and byways for centuries, and their turbulent history is captured in this passionate new book by Jess Smith, the bestselling author of Jessie’s Journey.

This is less a conventional history than a personal pilgrimage through the stories, songs and culture of a people for whom freedom is more important than security and a campfire under the stars is preferable to a warm hearth within stone walls. Settled society has always discriminated against travellers and Jess tells shocking stories of bullying, violence, the enforced break-up of families and separate schooling. But drawing on her own and her family’s experiences, she also captures the magic and drama of days wandering the roads and working the land, and brings to life the travellers’ rich and vibrant traditions.

Jess Smith was brought up as a traveller in Scotland and is the author of several books, including her autobiographical trilogy beginning with Jessie’s Journey. She is married with three children and six grandchildren and lives in Perthshire. As well as being a charismatic singer and storyteller at events throughout the world, Jess is a tireless advocate for travellers and gypsies. In 2011 she secured an official apology from the Church of Scotland for the injustices and discrimination suffered by Scottish travellers over many centuries.

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