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Volume 06 Issue 3 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 06 Issue 3

Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots

August 12, 2010

Adopted at birth, Jackie Kay discovered neither of her birth parents were who she’d thought they’d be, her new memoir recalls. “If you have skin my colour” writes Jackie Kay in her memoir Red Dust Road, “you must be a foreigner.” All of her life, people have asked her where she is from....

Volume 6 – Issue 3 – Editorial

August 12, 2010

Whenever a writer we know walks through the door of a bookshop he gets the willies. So many books, so many of which he has not read and is unlikely ever to read, ranked on the shelves do not for him reek of temptation. What he feels, he says, is a sense of panic, of reproach, of inadequacy. Then comes...

SRB Diary: Festival Diary – How I Became and Oxford Don

August 13, 2010
by Hayden Murphy

Books, bars and festivals have been central to my life (style) for over forty years. In inviting me to write of this, editor Alan Taylor specifi-cally indicated my known affinity, since the early 1980s, with both the Edin-burgh Book Festival in Charlotte Square and The Oxford Bar in nearby Young Street....

A Particularly Dundonian Darkness

August 12, 2010
by WN Herbert

Laughed at in his day and still held up as the ultimate bad poet, William McGonagall may have been the victim of a persona he created. Was he more sinned against than sinning? One of the first books of poetry I remember from my childhood is listed in the bibliography to Norman Watson’s new life of...

Is this a Novel I See Before Me? James Robertson’s And the Land Lay Still

August 12, 2010
by Ian Bell

Not for the first time, we have Walter Scott to thank, or perhaps to blame. Conventionally, the historical novel as a European phenomenon – and it was certainly phenomenal – is claimed as the Shirra’s invention, his great insight. Its emergence gave rise to one of the great paradoxes: how can...

In Praise of Stephen Vizinczey

August 13, 2010
by Harry Reid

In his first book, Stephen Vizinczey praised older women; everyone else praised the first book. Ahead of Vizinczey’s appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Scottish Review of Books looks at his life and work. Number Five in Stephen Viz-inczey’s Ten Commandments For Writers...

Better Halves – Who’d be a Literary Partner?

August 13, 2010
by Jean Rafferty

It has always surprised me that it was a man – Cyril Connolly, the literary critic and belle lettrist – who said the enemy of good art was the pram in the hall. Traditional gender divisions have meant that man was the provider, so the existence of children to support would surely spur him on to...

From Neverland to Wasteland – Playwright David Greig’s Journey

August 13, 2010
by Joseph Farrell

David Greig is a playwright of considerable intellect and range who invites his spectators to undertake a quest. His restless imagination is at odds with the openness of his style of theatre, a style which sees him posing questions without claiming to have answers. This is not merely feigned ignorance,...

Testament of Youth – The Creative Writing Class of 2010

August 13, 2010
by Sean Bell

Stanley Roger Green, in his charming (if forgivably rose-tinted) memoir of literary Edinburgh, A Clamjamfray of Poets, offers a mournful appraisal of our republic of letters’ contemporary denizens: “I am soon made aware of their sobriety and watchfulness… They don’t seem to go to parties for...

Queequeg No 6

August 13, 2010

Volume 6 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

August 13, 2010
by Theresa Munoz

TRUE THINGS ABOUT ME Deborah Kay Davies CANONGATE, £10.99 PP224 ISBN 9781847678300 True Things About Me is the third book by Deborah Kay Davies, whose debut collection of short stories Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful won the Wales Book of the Year Award in 2009. This novel describes a benefit...