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.
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.
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,...
‘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.
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.
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:...
All cities are inchoate, none more so than Glasgow.
You can assume that the ambiguity in the title of this dense, lyrical and thrillingly intelligent book has been carefully mused over. I should disclose immediately that I’m in the end credits, along with some other usual suspects, as an early adviser.
Despite failing to win this year’s Man Booker Prize, Graeme Macrae Burnet won what you might call won the popular vote, dominating media coverage before the actual winner was revealed as The Sellout by Paul Beatty.
Islands fascinate us. Skye, for many, was indefinably devalued when at last, two decades ago, linked to the mainland by bridge. Many of our islands, once inhabited, are today deserted and forlorn. Scarp and Taransay, for example, off the coast of Harris, supported families into the 1970s.