Volume 01 Issue 1


October 28, 2009

Love, loss and language are the themes of Anne MacLeod’s The Blue Moon Book. The story unfolds a cappella in a deft medley of voices and cameos charting a young woman’s year-long struggle towards recovery after a devastating accident. Bereft of memory, Jess is cut off from the past. Bereft of language,...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Editorial

October 28, 2009

AS the First Minister, Jack McConnell, reminded us at the opening of the Holyrood parliament, we are a disputatious nation. Argument comes easily to us. There is something in our psyche, something deeply rooted in ours souls, something in the pugnacious northern air, that propels us to take issue, dispute,...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Contents

October 28, 2009

DUNCAN THOMSON – The Skating Minister: The true story behind the nation’s most famous painting TODD MCEWEN – Diary: At the alternative opening of Holyrood ALASTAIR REID – Letter from Elsewhere JENNIE ERDAL – Publish and Be Charmed ROSEMARY GORING – Hyperventilating with...

SRB Diary: Boredom

October 28, 2009
by Todd McEwen

The Boredom of Glass at Greenside To Calton Hill on October 9, for what was promised to be a more “real” response to the new Parliament. For those of us who live near Picardy Place, Calton Hill has all but disappeared behind two large volumes of glass, archetypical behemoths of our new capital....

The Skating Minister

October 28, 2009
by Duncan Thomson

Henry Raeburn’s portrait of the Revd Robert Walker skating on a hard winter’s day more than two centuries ago is one of that select number of pictures, such as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa or Edvard Munch’s The Scream, that is immediately recognisable. The name of the artist or the identity of the finely...

Letter from elsewhere

October 28, 2009
by Alasdair Reid

I have spent a good part of my life living in remote places, and almost always they have served up adventures in the form of small happenings that suddenly raise enormous questions, happenings that still rumble in my mind. One of the most vivid of these occurred in the Dominican Republic, where I spent...

Publish and be charmed

October 28, 2009
by Jennie Erdal

ARRIVING at Tiger’s publishing house [where she was employed as her boss’s ghostwriter] from Fife for the first time was like turning up in someone else’s dream. It seemed a very long way down the rabbit hole. There were no familiar points of reference, no compass bearings. It felt high-voltage...

Hyperventilating with self-congratulation

October 28, 2009
by Rosemary Goring

Carl MacDougall’s recent BBC 2 series, Writing Scotland, swept a magisterial yet kindly eye over the history of Scottish literature. It was an intelligently economical programme, deftly simplifying complexity to make a highly watchable, informative series that until recently would not have got past...

A long walk with Kenneth White

October 28, 2009
by Ian Bell

Some day, sooner or later, someone will get around to admitting that you cannot write a haiku properly in English. It doesn’t work. The language does not take well to syllabic verse-forms, not least when filched from ideographic Japanese, even if we can all count out the 17 syllables required. What...

Daring to be adult

October 28, 2009
by Lindsey Fraser

There are those in the children’s book world who become quite frilly-lipped when an ‘adult writer’ tries his hand at writing for a younger audience. Often their doubts are well-founded, but in some cases (predictably those who have taken the matter rather more seriously than others) the results...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – New Poems

October 28, 2009
by Edwin Morgan

My Visit to St Petersburg Gentlemen – oh and ladies, please forgive me! I have been too many years in the army. But all that’s in the past now. Here I am With a gathering of my friends in this good old house. We are cosy, are we not? Let it roar outside, Our coals and candles, sofas, drinks replenished Are...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Gallimaufry

October 28, 2009
by Colin Waters

Writing Scotland by Carl MacDougall POLYGON, £8.99 With Edinburgh now branded the UN’s first World City of Literature, MacDougall’s survey of Scottish writers provides backing for the cause while reminding readers there’s more to the nation’s literature than just the capital’s contribution....

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Reviews

October 28, 2009

THE WEE BOOK OF CALVIN: AIR-KISSING IN THE NORTH-EAST Bill Duncan PENGUIN: £7. 99 REVIEWER: RICHARD HOLLOWAY The jokey cover and the grouchy introduction could easily mislead you about this book. On a first look it appears to be a wintry counterblast to all those sunny little books of spiritual valium...