Current Edition

EDITORIAL

November 10, 2018

According  to Chambers Dictionary – perhaps the only book on our shelves that earns its daily keep – the word ‘maverick means ‘a person who does not conform, a determined individualist’. True mavericks are few. One such was John Calder who died in August in the midst of the Edinburgh Festival...

THE SRB INTERVIEW: Carol Ann Duffy

November 10, 2018

In 2009, Carol Ann Duffy was appointed the UK’s Poet Laureate. She was the first woman to be awarded the honour in its 400-year history. Her new book, Sincerity, is her last collection of poems before she steps down from the laureateship in May 2019. It was written over a period of two years and contains...

ON THE TRAIL OF TROCCHI

November 10, 2018
by James Campbell

In June of 1972, I hitchhiked from Glasgow to Istanbul, via Bulgaria, then down to the Aegean island of Spetses, where I spent the summer leading tourists from coast to coast on horseback. The autumn changeover swept me to Israel, Kibbutz Mishmarot, midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. I arrived back...

IS THIS A NOVEL?

November 10, 2018
by Brian Morton

Whenever I’m blocked, or stuck, or just don’t understand, I like to copy-type. It’s a tip I got from the saintly Frank Delaney, who left us last year. Nothing is better, if you write as well as read, for revealing the heft and rhythm of the sentences, where the punctuation goes, the breaths and...

ANYONE FOR TENNIS?

November 10, 2018
by Susan Mansfield

In August, Edinburgh’s City Art Centre opened its doors for a surprising exhibition: a major retrospective by an artist no one had heard of. Edwin G. Lucas lived and worked in Edinburgh all his life, and produced an extraordinary body of modern painting but, when he died in 1990, was entirely unknown...

Name Dropping

November 10, 2018
by Colin Waters

In Against Oblivion, poet and critic Ian Hamilton posited only four twentieth-century English-language poets had a chance of achieving something like literary immortality: Hardy, Yeats, Eliot and Auden. The rest? Sooner or later time would Tippex out their names – even ones as familiar and diverse...

GET OUT OF HERE!

November 10, 2018
by Alan Taylor

History, Gore Vidal believed, was too important to be left to historians. He was particularly exercised by American academic historians whom he invariably prefaced with the word ‘fucking’. In Vidal’s opinion they had ruined history and turned readers off it by making it indigestible. Like Sir...

INCLUDE US OUT

November 10, 2018
by Tobias Kelly

On a damp Edinburgh day in July 1940, Fred Urquhart stood before a tribunal on the Royal Mile. Just a few weeks previously, over 300,000 British and French troops had been rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, as the German military pushed onwards towards the Atlantic. Since the start of the war, all...

INSPIRED BY MURIEL

November 10, 2018

WAITING FOR THE POMEGRANATE BOAT Judy Brown I strung my noticing eyes on a rosary, and clicked and confided. On the island I stuck to the facts; they were slippery and touchable as blood. The crater’s lava groaned and sighed folding itself over itself, like laborious student soup. The goat died, the...

SRB DIARY: STREET CLEANING IN WHITBY

November 10, 2018
by Peter Ross

IT was the sort of mist that carried the promise of sun; a face glimpsed through a bridal veil. That morning, it lay so thick on Whitby that the jagged ruins of abbey, at the top of the famous 199 steps, could not be seen from the town. In a glass-fronted alcove above the doorway of St Patrick’s,...

MONEY WORRIES

November 10, 2018
by Jamie Maxwell

In the years leading up to the 2008 financial crash, an influential sub-section of the American political class became convinced that a major economic crisis was on its way. Serious Washington players like Robert Rubin, who served as head of Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995,...

A DEARTH OF JOIE DE VIVRE

November 10, 2018
by Nick Major

Every year the Scottish Association of Literary Studies publishes an anthology of new writing: a gamut of stories, essays, poems and novel extracts. Readers aren’t given a context for any of the pieces, which is good. It means we have fewer expectations and the writing has to work on its own merits. In...

NIGHTMARE ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE

November 10, 2018
by Todd McEwen

As a child I thought little about history and politics; astronauts took up all my time. But after the wave of assassinations in the 1960s, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Watergate, and Iran/Contra, I decided that all the patriotic, narcissistic, self-ennobling rhetoric...

SRB AT THE THEATRE: ON REBUS’S CASE

November 10, 2018
by Joseph Farrell

The programme at the King’s carried an advertisement for the next production which will be Macbeth, a work which theatrical superstition forbids naming except by some euphemism such as the Scottish Play. Perhaps the curse extends beyond performances of the tragedy itself to other works staged in the...

CORRESPONDENCE COURSE

November 10, 2018
by Kristian Kerr

Writers writing about books has always made for compelling reading. Writers writing about their own books in private correspondence to their publisher tends to produce a particular kind of letter. There is passion, conviction, fluency, doubt, deference, sometimes frustration and anger, maybe even gratitude....

CHERCHEZ LES FEMMES

November 10, 2018
by Rosemary Goring

My study, all the study I have ever attained to, is the little second drawing-room where all the (feminine) life of the house goes on; and I don’t think I have ever had two hours undisturbed (except at night when everybody is in bed) during my whole literary life.’ So wrote the Victorian novelist...

CHEZ RLS

November 10, 2018
by Theresa Munoz

The Hôtel Chevillon in Grez-sur-Long has long been a place of artistic endeavour. The Swedish writer and playwright August Strindberg and his wife Siri resided there. Another Swedish writer, Carl Larsson, lived in a small house in the surrounding compound and his daughter was born in the attic room. The...