Only the Lonely

June 10, 2017
by Dani Garavelli

When traumatic memories from Eleanor Oliphant’s past lay siege to the fortress she has built around her life, she reaches behind her mattress for a copy of Jane Eyre, a book she has read so often its edges are ‘rounded and softened with years of handling’. Loneliness is often portrayed as a modern...

Remembering Yevtushenko

June 9, 2017
by Allan Massie

It is a bit disconcerting to read of the death of someone you didn’t realize was still alive. Actually I had no reason to think of Yevgeny Yevtushenko as dead. It’s just that I hadn’t heard of him for a long time. I suppose it should have been no surprise to learn that he had been living and teaching...

Flowers of Scotland

June 9, 2017
by David Black

Some books, like old sepia calotypes, have a way of freezing a moment in time. The scenes captured by Victorian photographers were largely unpeopled, thanks to their long exposure times. A child may pose on a doorstep, face screwed up against the sun, a fishwife may stand guarding her creel; otherwise...

Small Island

March 3, 2017
by Dani Garavelli

Call it serendipity, but even as Annalena McAfee’s new book Hame – an exploration of language and identity centred on a fictional island poet – was being posted out to reviewers, the country was, once again, getting itself all het up about the alleged politicisation of the Scots tongue.

God’s Sleuth!

March 3, 2017
by Todd McEwen

You can get too much Sherlock Holmes. I once met the editor of a magazine called The Holmesian Observer. I read the Complete Sherlock Holmes while growing up, so I took an interest. Holmesian Observer? Looks good, I remarked innocently. The guy said, Actually it’s pronounced Holmeeesian. 

Her Bloody Project

March 3, 2017
by Richard W. Strachan

In Dilys Rose’s graceful and elliptical fiction, the mundane reality of everyday life is often a kind of spiritual and intellectual prison. Mothers and children, wives and husbands, drifters who never go anywhere – all her disparate characters are united by a sense that real life is happening elsewhere,...

The Ghost Writer

March 3, 2017
by Zoë Strachan

‘Writing is what I steal from the usual flow of things,’ Burnside wrote recently in the Guardian, describing working through the enforced wakefulness of sleep-disordered nights. Goodness knows how much he would produce if his writing life was perfect.

Strange Meeting

March 3, 2017
by Colin Waters

In most histories of the First World War Edinburgh rarely rates a mention. However, the War Collection at Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus presents a case for Edinburgh’s importance in this period as a centre of literary and medical innovation.


March 3, 2017
by Rosemary Goring

A man walks into the Mitchell Library: Reader: Have you got a book on Glasgow, mister? Librarian: Aye, 4000! Reader: Well, it’s the north of the city. Librarian: Oh, aye, here, there’s this, there’s that. Reader: It’s round about Maryhill. Librarian: Well, there’s a wee history of it. Reader:...

Disappearing Glasgow: A Photographic Journey

November 18, 2016

All cities are inchoate, none more so than Glasgow.