Volume 03 Issue 4

The SRB Interview: Richard Ford

October 21, 2009

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on February 16, 1944. He was an only child, the son of a travelling salesman who died from a heart attack when Ford was sixteen. Despite suffering a mild form of dyslexia, he went on to study at Michigan State University, where he met Kristina Hensley,...

Volume 3 – Issue 4 – Editorial

October 21, 2009

THERE was a time, if we are to believe William Smellie, co-founder and, in large part, author, of the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, when one could stand at the Cross of Edinburgh and, within the space of a few minutes, “take fifty men of genius and learning by the hand.” The original...

SRB Diary: No Beans on Toast

October 21, 2009
by Harry McGrath

“Why are you still here in Scotland?” my brother asks me when I meet him in Tennents Bar. It is a good question. I was in Canada for over twenty years and yet it never quite took. In the early days I played football with other Scots and it was all about reminiscing and trying to find the Saturday...

Comic Heros

October 21, 2009
by Owen Dudley Edwards

BRITISH CHILDREN’S FICTION in the Second World War is my book in Edinburgh University Press’s ‘Societies at War’ series, edited by my colleagues Paul Addison and Jeremy Crang. And the title is total. I wrote about books brought out by British publishers as a whole (Scottish publishing was stronger...

On the Trail of Conan Doyle

October 21, 2009
by James Buchan

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE is the cuckoo in the nest of Scottish literature. Irish by blood, and perhaps by temperament, he spent his childhood and college years in Edinburgh and absorbed the city’s influences: the scientific traditions of the famous medical school, and the mists and ghosts of Sir Walter...

Pinch Me! But Where Do We Go From Here?

October 21, 2009
by John MacLeod

IT’S OLD AND IT’S the sort of story which, as us tabloid hacks like to say, is really too good to check. A grand New York publication, feeling rather hands-across-the-seaish and with a seasonal edition to fill, rang round assorted UN ambassadors to ask what they really wanted for Christmas. “Freedom...

Volume 3 – Issue 4 – New Poems – Tessa Ransford

October 21, 2009
by Tessa Ransford

FOUND POEM (Guardian Weekly 29.09.06): article by Ian Sample Planted in pages, bound in a notebook buried in archives two hundred years thirty-two species in tiny packets Seeds will be scattered windblown earth-sown evergrown the seeds of melons -wild melons from banks of the Orange river -and seeds...

Identity Parade

October 21, 2009
by Ajay Close

JACKIE KAY IS ONE of those autobiographical writers whose work can also be read as a biography of the times. Race and nationality; blood and belonging; how it feels to be black and lesbian in a land as white and narrow as Scotland can be; what it means to grow up in a country where “Angela Davis...

Ewes Too

October 21, 2009
by John Herdman

JAMES HOGG believe, or so at least he wrote to a friend at the time of his first failure as a sheep farmer in Dumfriesshire, that his misfortunes in that sphere were such as to suggest that providence wished to direct his energies into another field of activity. If that was the case he certainly proved...

Man of the Folk

October 21, 2009
by Ray Burnett

THIS IS A SINGULARLY apt moment for Hamish Henderson’s life to be told. In Westminster, Gordon Brown is a Prime Minister committed to the continuing deployment of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland, Scottish troops deployed in an unpopular illegal war and a foreign policy that buttresses American...

Graduate of Wilderness Univ

October 21, 2009
by Leslie Clark

WHILE WORKING ON A documentary biography of John Muir, I received the following warning from a Smart Revisionist Historian: “Anytime you’re dealing with a forceful, charismatic individual, he will try to take you over, even if he’s dead. You can just imagine what force he had as a living person...

Volume 3 – Issue 4 – Gallimaufry

October 21, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Greenfields Richard Price CARCANET, £9.95 pp114, ISBN 9781857549201 Richard Price’s unlikely madeleine is “The smell of roadworks”, an aroma that transports him back to his childhood and into his writing, which he describes oddly, or rather, originally, as “a milkman’s boy/treading gravel,...