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Volume 10 Issue 4 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 10 Issue 4

The SRB Interview: Rona Munro

November 11, 2014

Rona Munro was born in Aberdeen. Primarily a scriptwriter for the stage, she has also written for radio, television and film. Her theatre credits include Bold Girls (7:84 and Hampstead Theatre), Dear Scotland and The Last Witch. Little Eagles, a play about the space race, was produced by The Royal Shakespeare...

Volume 10 Issue 4 – Editorial

September 13, 2013

IN 1970, there appeared a collection of essays in honour of Hector MacIver who taught English at Edinburgh’s Royal High School. MacIver, who was born on Lewis in 1910 and died in Midlothian in 1966, was a man of many parts. He was a writer, broadcaster, producer of plays, a talker and a speaker. He...

SRB Diary: Chaos in Lagos

November 11, 2014
by Tom Pow

I am sitting in a bookshop’s small cafe, waiting for Tolu Ogunlesi, my exchange writer. While rain stots off the car roofs, I listen to two women in their thirties discussing Lagos life. One, let’s call her Braids, is advising a newbie, recently returned from many years in NYC. There is a discussion...

SRB Diary: À Paris

November 11, 2014
by Dan Gunn

After a very fine reading by Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden, at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, I found myself seated at dinner with a mixed crew of Scots and Canadians – writers and festival-goers.

Be The First To Like This: New Scottish Poetry

November 11, 2014

The Work Niall Campbell If I have to, then let me be the whaler poet, launcher of the knife, portioning off the pink cut, salt trim and fat, tipping the larger waste off the side of the boat, and then to have the poem in the drawer; or, perhaps, let it be the poet nurse, hearts measured by a small...

The Sins of the Father

November 11, 2014
by Joseph Farrell

In The Father, August Strindberg’s harrowing account of the protagonist’s descent into paranoid insanity, the problem that initially obsesses the Captain is how to control Laura, his wife, and have her comply with his wish that their daughter be educated as a teacher and not as an artist. Laura...

The Iceman

November 11, 2014
by Susan Mansfield

IT has been the fate of British polar explorers to be glorious in defeat. Our most famous contribution to the genre is still Robert Falcon Scott’s ill tarred Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1912. Next to Scott comes Ernest Shackleton, best known for bringing his men back alive when his...

Unquiet Flowed The Dons

November 11, 2014
by Harry Reid

When Alex Ferguson arrived at Aberdeen in 1978 to take charge of the city’s persistently underachieving football club, few anticipated the spectacular success he was to achieve over the next eight years. I certainly didn’t; I had been a committed Dons fan for 16 years and had grown too used to false...

Adios España

November 11, 2014
by Jamie Maxwell

IN July 2011, two months after the SNP secured majority control of the Holyrood Parliament, I interviewed Neal Ascherson, the Edinburgh-born political writer, in central London. For Ascherson’s convenience, we met at the Euston Hilton, a short walk from where he worked, somewhat incongruously, as...

Gays United

November 11, 2014
by Lee Randall

It has been twelve years since the last anthology of contemporary Scottish LGBT writing appeared, a period of enormous change, legally, ideologically, and socially. With that in mind, Zoë Strachan has assembled Out There, a pick ’n’ mix of Scottish fiction, nonfiction and poetry which, according...

One Day At A Time

November 11, 2014
by Zoë Strachan

While writing War and Peace, Tolstoy spared a few words for his diary: ‘I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine.’ Patricia Highsmith wrote every day as well, first bribing herself with sugary coffee, cigarettes and a doughnut,...

Nairn in Darkness and Light

November 11, 2014

AMID the chatter and babble of the referendum debate, certain words and phrases rang out and were repeated, over and over. But among those echoing words, surely few were used as inconsistently or confusingly as the one around which, in a sense, the whole conversation revolved: nationalism. This inconsistency...

Sisters! Sisters!

November 11, 2014
by Anni Donaldson

DEMANDS for independence are turning up in the most unlikely places, none more surprising than Sarah Browne’s new history of the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) in Scotland. Browne concentrates on the heyday of ‘women’s lib’ in the 1970s. Using oral history interviews with women involved...

Across The Borderline

November 11, 2014
by Rosemary Goring

WHEN in 1817 Walter Scott was visited by the American author Washington Irving, he did not expect to be told that his guest was unimpressed by his beloved borderlands. On hearing Irving’s reservations about the ‘monotonous’ landscape, Scott paused before replying with admirable restraint: ‘to...

Patriot Games: 1914-2014

November 11, 2014
by Neil Davidson

August 1914, Vienna: Leon Trotsky watches the patriotic crowd fill the square in front of the War Ministry, the men clamouring to enlist. He wonders what motivates them. Surely not nationalism, since Austria-Hungary was ‘the very negation of a national idea’. The answer must lie in the type of existence...