Volume 13 Issue 1 Editorial

February 10, 2018
by Alan Taylor

MURIEL Spark, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate in this special issue of the Scottish Review of Books, left her native heath in 1937 not knowing when, if ever, she was likely to return. She was still a teenager and eager to see what lay beyond Edinburgh’s vertiginous tenements, greasy, gleaming...

Volume 12 Issue 5 Editorial

November 18, 2017
by Alan Taylor

LET’S face it, too many books are published. Figures vary but it is generally believed that in the region of 200,000 titles are published in the UK each year. This is a staggering number which leaves us dumbfounded.

Volume 12 Issue 4 Editorial

August 11, 2017
by Alan Taylor

Publishing is a precarious business, not least because significant capital must first be spent before any of it starts to trickle back. Every book is a gamble and few are the ones that turn into gold. Yet publishers are often portrayed not as philanthropists or bulwarks against philistinism but as chancers...

Volume 12 Issue 3 Editorial

June 10, 2017
by Alan Taylor

Here at the Scottish Review of Books we choose our heroes carefully. One such is Richard Hoggart. His is not a name, we acknowledge, which will be familiar to many readers, even those of a ‘certain’ age. But to many baby boomers Hoggart epitomized an era – the two decades immediately following...


March 3, 2017
by Rosemary Goring

It is one of the mysteries of human endeavour that a Golden Age is only recognised when it has passed. Like happiness, it appears in the rearview mirror. When it is in full swing, insiders are oblivious, but with hindsight, what seemed like the usual grind and turmoil can be seen as a halcyon period...

Volume 12 Issue 1 Editorial

November 18, 2016

We have reached that point in the calendar when the book trade is at its most buoyant. Over the coming month or so more books will be bought than in the rest of the year put together. Or so the theory goes.  Booksellers, publishers and authors all look to Christmas and the shopping frenzy it encourages...

Volume 11 Issue 4 Editorial

August 5, 2016

Seven decades ago plans for the first Edinburgh International Festival, which finally took place in 1947, were well underway. Its promoters were visionaries who through art and culture aspired to unite nations and peoples who for six long and calamitous years were hellbent on wiping each other out....

Volume 11 Issue 1 – Editorial

August 14, 2015

WHAT Edinburgh was like before the coming of the festival is hard for anyone who did not know it then to imagine. That it was smaller, less populous, darker, sootier, beerier and danker is undoubtedly true. In the years immediately after the Second World War, Britain in general was often portrayed in...

Volume 11 Issue 2 – Editorial

August 14, 2015

EARLIER this year Creative Scotland published a report on the state of literature in Scotland. Titled Literature and Publishing Sector Review, it included a raft of recommendations. Of particular interest to the Scottish Review of Books was the section dealing with reviewing and criticism where it was...

Volume 11 Issue 3 – Editorial

August 14, 2015

EVEN today, when we are blessed with an avalanche of history books, many Scots remain painfully ignorant of their nation’s past. This is not a problem for which there is an instant panacea. For too long, influential Caledonian cringers and whingers have argued that if children in school are force-fed...