Statue (in memoriam Douglas Gifford)

STATUE (i.m. Douglas Gifford) Every person deserves to have a statue. Not in the pompous poses waiting their turn to be torn down by future angry ages, but natural, relaxed, like Gaudí on his bench, or Cervantes with his book. A figure you would sit beside or share a sandwich with. One such I see, […]

‘Scotland in Space’, edited by Deborah Scott and Simon Malpas

At the ASLS Annual Conference in May 2000, the topic was “Scottish Literature in the New Millennium”, and one of the papers delivered dealt with the genre of Science Fiction and how it might develop in the future decades. After surveying the current position and status of SF in Scotland, which was not encouraging, apart […]

‘From the Line: Scottish War Poetry 1914-1945’ edited by David Goldie and Roderick Watson

Aye wi’ the Sweirt Sodgers David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, has allegedly claimed that his favourite poem is Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est”. In more than one way, this is a very revealing admission. Firstly, any person who claims to have a single favourite poem is clearly not someone who has read much […]

‘Poems’ by Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod

The untimely death of Iain Banks in 2013 deprived Scottish, and international, writing of a prolific, highly imaginative and immensely successful novelist in both the Scottish ‘mainstream’ and science fiction genres. Following on his startling debut with The Wasp Factory in 1984, Banks published a new book almost annually until the posthumous appearance of The […]

A World of Story Rediscovered: R.B. Cunninghame Graham, Scotland’s Forgotten Writer

Questions? What Scotsman was caught up in a civil war before the age of twenty? Wrote a book that became the inspiration for an Oscar-winning film? Met a runaway teenager in Paris and married her against the wishes of his family? Lost his ranch to raiding Apaches? Went into Parliament as a Liberal and came […]

‘Transition’ by Iain Banks

After Matter, his 2008 science fiction novel in the long-running series about the Culture, Iain Banks has wasted no time in producing another work in the same genre. Transition (Little, Brown, 2009), however, marks two possible new departures for this most prolific of Scottish writers. It is the first SF novel that Banks has published without the trademark […]


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