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EIBF: Glyn Maxwell and Michael Symmons Roberts

August 12, 2013

A Sunday morning poetry sermon was held in the Spiegel tent. A nameless chairwoman in white from the Scottish Poetry Library introduced two preachers in black.  Glyn Maxwell took to the stage first and bellowed out the confrontational lyric ballad ‘Byelaw’. The first poem in his new collection...

EIBF: 10/08/2013 15.00: Salman Rushdie

August 12, 2013

‘As if by magic!’ announced Salman Rushdie when his new microphone was switched on. He had already entertained the crowd with mime after a technical fault silenced the start of his discussion with John Freeman. The rest of Rushdie’s appearance was filled with his own unique voice. Like his fiction,...

Iain Bamforth – The Crossing Fee and Rob A. Mackenzie – The Good News

August 8, 2013

Iain Bamforth – The Crossing Fee There is something terribly haunting in this new collection from Iain Bamforth. Taking the plunge from the old Germanic odyssey where a hero falling in the Black Forest emerges in the China Sea, this collection turns on the simple, elegant and yet sophisticated...

Renzo Modiano: Of Jewish Race

August 8, 2013

In his preface, Renzo Modiano asks what he can add to the testimonies of Anne Frank, Primo Levi and the Warsaw Ghetto.   Why write another book about the Holocaust?   The answer, of course, is “Because it matters”.    This is the testimony of a seven year old boy who survived...

Snake Road, by Sue Peebles

August 1, 2013

Snake Road is the second novel from Sue Peebles. Her first, The Death of Lomond Friel, won the Scottish and Saltire First Book awards. This slow paced study of Aggie who is devastated by a miscarriage, echoes some of the earlier book’s themes: grief and loss; old age and the infirmities that affect...

Peter Burnett: #Freetopiary: An Occupy Romance (Argyll Publishing)

July 27, 2013

Mills and Boon this is not.   In fact, I cannot think of any story that is less like Mills and Boon than this one.   So don’t let the title fool you.   It is not about love amongst the tents of the Occupy Movement.   It is a different sort of “Romance” altogether: much more...

Pippa Goldschmidt – The Falling Sky

May 13, 2013

The first thing that is astonishing about this book is that it made me think that I understand astronomy, which is clearly not the case.   That, in itself, is a tribute to the clarity and assurance of the writing.   But this is a story about much more than astronomy, or rather where astronomy...

‘The Revenge of History’ by Seumas Milne

April 11, 2013

Paraphrasing Diderot, the late polemicist Christopher Hitchens once warned that he would “go on keeping score” about the refusal of some countries to participate in the US-led invasion of Iraq “until the last phoney pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer”....

Frank Kuppner – The Same Life Twice.

April 3, 2013

  It’s appropriate for Frank Kuppner’s chronicle of life that it would be both a study of the absurd and the absolute, for these are the two areas which Kuppner truly brings to life. The Same Life Twice is a travel guide, a comedy routine, a rule book, a sacred text and yet, none of these things,...

‘Republics of the Mind’ by James Robertson

February 13, 2013

Review by Alan Gillespie James Robertson’s short story collection ‘Republics of the Mind’ presents an eclectic ragbag of voices that are unexpected, unheralded and unhinged. With a shamelessly Scottish outlook, Robertson’s writing delves into the relationships we have with society, with each...

Blog / Discussion

In Search of Seamus

by Alan Taylor

Iolaire

by Ian Stephen

For the Good Times

by Alasdair McKillop

Underland

by Peter Ross