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How to fund a museum of literature (dump football)

January 30, 2012

Paul Henderson Scott’s plea for a Scottish Literary Museum next to the National Library, which ought to be supported, spurred the reflection that the fine rebuild of the National Portrait Gallery still perpetuates one nonsense and commits a new one. The gallery of great Scots round the entry court...

New poem by Aonghas MacNeacail

January 27, 2012

the true whiteness     because snow arrived   yesterday, with its settling   like linen over every hill and   house-gable, and with its   folding around young eyes,   for which it is perfect proof   that paradise was possible,   let us enjoy the...

SRB Scottish Book of the Year

December 21, 2011

Alan Taylor, editor  Alasdair Gray’s A Life in Pictures (Canongate) which was published in 2010 but won this year’s Saltire Society Prize. If the SS can stretch the calendar then so can I. Even by Gray’s standards this is an astonishing piece of work, reminiscent of Blake but actually inimitable,...

Edinburgh International Book Festival – Friday, 27 August 2010

August 30, 2010

Reviewer: Alan Taylor Kopano Matlwa and Marlene van NiekerkJoanne HarrisAlexander McCall Smith SOUTH Africa’s travails, submerged somewhat following its successful hosting earlier this year of the World Cup, resurfaced yesterday at the Book Festival. Kopan Matlwa and Marlene van Niekerk, who...

Edinburgh International Book Festival — 25 August, 2010

August 30, 2010

By Alan Taylor Naomi AldermanStory Machines: MoviesJohn Lister-Kaye SET a novel in Oxford and inevitably it draws comparisons with Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, Evelyn  Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited or Morse.Naomi Alderman’s The Lessons has been touted as an updating of Waugh’s hedonistic...

Edinburgh International Book Festival Despatch 7

August 30, 2010

Reviewer: Alan Taylor Lydia DavisMartin Rowson in Conversation with Steve BellWilliam Dalrymple * * * * THE American writer Lydia Davis, whose Collected Stories have recently been published here to hosannas from critics, took part in a programme strand concerned with The Future of Fiction.Whether...

Edinburgh International Book Festival 6 – Friday 20 August

August 24, 2010

by Alan Taylor Jo Shapcott and Christopher ReidJanice GallowayOliver James * * * AT the Book Festival poets, like ospreys, are rarely sighted. Two of the best of British, Jo Shapcott and Christopher Reid, demonstrated what audiences are missing with a diverting and affecting reading in which words were...

Book Festival Despatch 4 – Wednesday 18 August

August 20, 2010

by Alan Taylor Jon McGregorRobert Sackville-WestAlasdair Gray IF novelist Jon McGregor had his way he would be read and not seen. This, however, is not acceptable in an environment in which high street  bookshops may soon become as obsolete as onion johnnies. Hence McGregor’s  appearance to...

Despatch from the Book Festival – Tuesday 17 August

August 18, 2010

by Alan Taylor Aminatta Forna 10.15 John Banville 11.30 John Burnside and David Vann BORN in Glasgow to an Aberdonian mother and a Sierre Leone father, now living in London, Aminatta Forna is a cocktail of cultures. Her father, a doctor who was also a political dissident, was murdered in 1975 in...

Edinburgh International Book Festival – Monday, 16 August

August 18, 2010

by Alan Taylor Jeanette Winterson 11.30 Hilary Spurling 14.30 Simon Callow 16.30   IT”S twenty-five years since Jeanette Winterson published her autobiographical novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, which remains as fresh and tangy as it was when it first appeared. Winterson, a gamine 50...