The landscape and the clear, northern light of Shetland have inspired hundreds of artists, from the 19th century illustrator John T Reid - whose 1869 volume, ‘Art Rambles in Shetland’ is still in print – to some of the Scottish Colourists in the early 20th century. Many artists working in Shetland, or with other strong local connections, are part of the group Shetland Arts & Crafts and their website contains examples of their work.
Shetland has also inspired many writers. Sir Walter Scott set ‘The Pirate’ in Shetland and the noted Scottish poet, Hugh MacDiarmid, composed much of his best work when living on the island of Whalsay, in what is now known as The Grieve House, one of the Camping Böds. Much more recently, the noted crime author, Ann Cleeves, set her series of novels featuring detective Jimmy Perez in Shetland. Jen Hadfield, winner of the 2008 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, lives in the islands.
Last but not least, Shetland has stimulated generations of musicians. The fiddle has long been the traditional instrument and hundreds of Shetlanders play it today. However, the Shetland musical scene is all-embracing, with groups performing in classical, heavy metal, drumming, jazz, country or other styles. The widely-admired annual Folk Festival is a notably eclectic event.