Volume 09 Issue 1

The SRB Interview: Alasdair Gray

March 28, 2013

  Alasdair Gray, who is 78 and lives in Glasgow, is a writer and artist. Initially, he was best known for his drawings and paintings but with the publication of his novel Lanark in 1981 that changed and he was feted for the creation of a Glasgow Ulysses. Over the next four decades he produced a profusion...

Volume 9 – Issue 1 – Editorial

November 16, 2012

Alasdair Gray, who is interviewed in this issue of the Scottish Review of Books, recently caused a stushie with an essay titled ‘Settlers and Colonists’. For many commentators that was provocation enough and Gray, hitherto regarded as a national treasure, was roundly denounced as, at best, anti-English,...

Fire Island

March 27, 2013
by Christian McEwen

In the late 1930s, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Frank Fraser Darling moved to the tiny Scottish island of Tanera Mor. He came as a naturalist, intending to study seals and birds, and stayed on, for several hard-bitten years, to transform a ramshackle ruin into a thriving and productive...

In the Wilds of Aberdeen

March 28, 2013
by Mandy Haggith

Covering a year in Aberdeen, starting in November with the onset of a snowy winter, Esther Woolfson’s Field Notes from a Hidden City takes the form of seven thematic essays punctuating chronological notes. It is not a daily diary and sometimes a couple of weeks go by without comment, but it has the...

The Traverse at Fifty

March 27, 2013
by Joseph Farrell

When in 1887 Lady Gregory and W B Yeats sent out a letter seeking backing for the theatre that would become The Abbey, they stated clearly that the aim was to encourage plays ‘written with high ambition and so build up a Celtic and Irish school of dramatic literature.’ When in post-war Italy, Paolo...

Cardinal Virtues

March 28, 2013
by Jonathan Wright

Papal conclaves aren’t what they used to be. It only took a few days and five ballots to elect Francis I and, as best as we can tell, it was a well-organised and suitably decorous affair. The mischievous historian in me almost longs for the time when conclaves were ill-humoured and could last for...

Apocryphal Poems

March 28, 2013

Gerald Mangan claims to have discovered previously- unknown works by some of Scotland’s favourite poets.  Here we present a selection.   DRACULA’S BRIDE He keeps telling me those stains  on his shirt-front  are ketchup  from the all-night fast-food joint. And I keep saying: Pull the other one,...

Mood Swings

March 28, 2013
by Rosemary Goring

To open Robin Robertson’s fifth collection of poems is to pass over the threshold of ordinary life and find yourself, like some fairytale character, caught in an otherworld that, while enchanting and beautiful, can also be malign. It is surely no coincidence that the image of keys runs through Hill...

Too Many Bison: Infantilising Museums

March 28, 2013
by Lucy Ellmann

My husband and I made our way from Edinburgh to London for the launch, on Valentine’s Day, of my new novel, Mimi – a sort of romance based in New York but written mainly in Orkney. This happened to coincide with ‘One Billion Rising’, a worldwide mass action against male violence, organized...

Early Days of a Better Nation

March 28, 2013
by Harry McGrath

On the Scottish Parliament’s Canongate Wall, the most paraphrased non-Scottish writer since devolution meets one of the most misspelled Scottish writers of any era. ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation’ was included in the 24 original inscriptions chosen for the building because...

The Battle for Adam Smith

March 28, 2013
by Neil Davidson

On the Royal Mile in Edinburgh stands a statue of Adam Smith. Sculpted by Alexander Stoddard and unveiled on July 4, 2008, the only statue of the great man to be erected in the Scottish capital at first seems unexceptional—a worthy memorial to one of the great figures of the Scottish Enlightenment....

Back to the Drawing Board

March 28, 2013
by Alan Taylor

Into my possession recently came a facsimile of Herman Moll’s Atlas of Scotland. Published originally in 1725, it was reprinted in 1980 in a limited edition of 500 with green cloth boards and a brown leather spine. The copy which I have is numbered 149. The publisher was Heritage Press, based in...

Alain-Fournier’s Solidarity Masterpiece

March 28, 2013

Youth is another country. They do things differently there, according to different rules, and in a language which is quite lost to us in later life. It is easy enough to capture early childhood in fiction. There are conventions about what the child knows and doesn’t know and because there is an adult...

House with a View

March 28, 2013
by Christopher Harvie

In 2008 Angus Calder died in a nursing home within the precincts of Holyrood, Croft an Righ, Edinburgh’s blue-sky Marshalsea. Years earlier we had both agreed with John Buchan that Chrystal Croftangry, protagonist of that autumnal novella, the 1827 ‘Introduction’ to The Chronicles of the Canongate,...

Thatcher in the Raw

March 28, 2013
by David Torrance

Ah, the 1980s. I remember it, of course, but mine was the vantage point of a pre-teen, and by the time I’d figured out what was happening it had gone, replaced by the more nondescript 1990s. If only I’d been a decade older, or even a few years, that tumultuous decade might have left more of an...

Volume 9 – Issue 1 – Classifieds

March 28, 2013

  PUBLISHER ADVERTISERS Classified contains a listing of new titles submitted for inclusion by publishers in Scotland. Advertisers in this section are: Argyll Publishing 01369 820 229 argyllpublishing.com Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) 0141 330 5309 asls.org.uk  Barrington Stoke 0131...