Volume 09 Issue 3

The SRB Interview: Kirsty Gunn

September 14, 2013

Kirsty Gunn was born in 1960 in New Zealand. She was educated at Queen Margaret College and Victoria University, Wellington, and completed an M.Phil. at Oxford University. Her first novel, Rain, was published in 1994. Her second novel, The Keepsake, followed in 1997 and the short story collection This...

SRB Diary: A Barbarian in Charlotte Square

September 14, 2013

Transition rather than continuity marks the thirty years that have passed since the Book Festival first appeared in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. Jenny Brown, as Director, instigated it in the summer of 1983. Princes Street Gardens were not available. It was a modest but glorious success, not the ‘worthy...

Bulldog Bond

September 14, 2013
by Christopher McMillan

In 1996 at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in London the playwright and director Martin McDonagh, nominated for best newcomer award, was slightly worse for wear when Max Hastings, editor of the Evening Standard, proposed a toast in honour of the Queen. McDonagh in his own words started ‘taking...

North and South

September 14, 2013
by Rosemary Goring

When I stepped off the train in Inverurie, the first word I heard – spoken with glee – was soothmoother. It was then I realised there are many degrees of north. I came from the Scottish lowlands, so far south that those in Aberdeenshire, with whom I’d gone to stay, considered it another country....

Nationalism and the BBC

September 14, 2013
by George McKechnie

In the run-up to the Scottish referendum many followers of the Yes campaign for independence accuse BBC Scotland of editorial bias in favour of the Better Together movement to maintain Scotland’s place within the Union. In the face of a mainstream press, both London and Scottish based, that is almost...

Zen Master

September 14, 2013
by Colin Waters

It’s a long way from Govan to eighteenth-century Mount Fiji. Or is it? It’s the journey that Alan Spence’s fiction has made, one marked not merely by miles or years but by gradations of cosmic awareness, the author’s interest in Zen flowering ever more openly until it blossoms fully in his latest,...

Volume 9 – Issue 3 – New Poems

September 14, 2013
by Stewart Conn

UPHOLSTERY The sofa in our sitting-room, long the worse  for wear, is newly back from an upholsterer  by royal appointment who announces  that to preserve the caché of age, ‘old money’  insists on less padding; whereas rather than boast a pedigree of bottoms, ours curves in the centre like...

Talent Spotting

September 14, 2013
by Harry McGrath

I once taught an undergraduate Scottish literature survey course in a North American University. A young man in a heavy metal T-shirt and long shorts of many pockets appeared for the first class and promptly disappeared for the next six. He resurfaced for the module on Trainspotting then hopped it...

Across The Great Divide

September 14, 2013
by Brian Morton

Call me Ishmael. In 200 days I shall have spent exactly half my life as a reluctant Presbyterian and half – the more recent – as a Roman Catholic convert, albeit one who as a remarried divorcee is denied the Eucharist. Small matter that the conversion was formalised at St Patrick’s, Soho, an outcasts’...

Not All About Oil

September 14, 2013
by Harry Reid

The second part of the title of this fine book, ‘The Referendum and What Happens Afterwards’, is important. The three authors are throughout refreshingly balanced and fair, so much so that they do not actually try to tell us what exactly will ‘happen afterwards’. They do point out, obviously...

Fringe and Official

September 14, 2013
by Joseph Farrell

A railing in Laurieston Place carries a peremptory sign, ‘No idling’. All right, the sign is not a Calvinist edict against sloth, but a bureaucratic, hypermodern warning against leaving the car engine running, and yet during the Edinburgh Festival only the dull of imagination could fail to see some...

Domestic Drama

September 14, 2013
by Zoë Strachan

When does sadness become depression? Perhaps it doesn’t matter whether the emotion is medicalised or not. Very sad people can be passive, boring, and dislikeable. I say this as someone who has been clinically depressed. What a drip I must have been. I cannot imagine trying to write about those crushing,...

Shopping For Tartan

September 14, 2013
by Richard Holloway

Something Hugh MacDiarmid said in his book, Scottish Eccentrics, is the interpretive key to this elegantly constructed and beautifully written collection of essays, but before turning to MacDiarmid let me first say something about the author of Scotland the Brave. Bliss Carnochan is the Richard W.Lyman...

Volume 9 – Issue 3 – Classifieds

September 14, 2013

ART & Architecture The Artist and Nationality Meaghan Delahunt SALTIRE SOCIETY £5.00 PB 9780854111114 The Artist and Nationality sees Saltire Award winner Meaghan Delahunt reflect on her own sense of nationality and what that may mean for the artist. It’s a powerful and moving account that embraces...