Go West: James Kelman’s American Odyssey

On 10 January 1990, James Kelman stood on stage at the Pierce Institute in Glasgow’s district of Govan to introduce linguist and polymath Noam Chomsky to a sold-out audience of philosophers, academics, writers, artists, educators, social workers, trade unionists and others with an interest in the nation’s cultural conversation – all drawn to the Self […]

From Page To Screen: The Strange Case of ‘The Driver’s Seat’

In most people’s lists of the best film adaptation of a Scottish novel, the 1969 version of Muriel Spark’s The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie would deservedly be near the top, with a pre-damehood Maggie Smith winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the title character. However, while that film has […]

‘Larchfield’ by Polly Clark

If you believe the statements that attention spans are in terminal decline then it must be more important then ever for a writer to grab readers’ attention from the off, to avoid their eye moving to the next Amazon recommendation or Sunday supplement review as they try to complete the Sisyphean task of keeping up […]

‘A Lovely Way to Burn’ by Louise Welsh

Louise Welsh’s previous novels have taken a specific and shocking situation, one which affects a small group of individuals, and used that to examine society’s attitudes to sexuality, morality, family life, and the secrets and lies which we keep and perpetuate, and which allows the most horrific behaviour imaginable to occur. The situation which unfolds […]

‘Close Your Eyes’ by Ewan Morrison

Ewan Morrison departed from the traditional novel to great effect with 2012’s Tales from The Mall, a hugely informative and entertaining read, but with Close Your Eyes he reminds us that he can tell a story with as much skill, wit and technique as any writer around today. His mastery of narrative, voice, place and […]

‘The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales’ by Kirsty Logan

There are few things in this world better than a carefully crafted short story. They never outstay their welcome; simply make their mark and leave you wanting more. They also allow a writer to show a range of styles and touch upon many different themes. Kirsty Logan’s recent collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, […]

‘The Brilliant & Forever’ by Kevin MacNeil

It seemed apt to be reading Kevin MacNeil’s novel The Brilliant & Forever the week of the announcement of this year’s Man Booker Prize. The hoopla and hurrah that surrounds such awards was felt more keenly than usual due to Glasgow writer Graeme Macrae Burnet’s being shortlisted for the novel His Bloody Project, published by […]

‘Billionaire’s Banquet’ by Ron Butlin

A new Ron Butlin novel is always eagerly awaited, so his latest, Billionaires’ Banquet, is most welcome. Described on the cover as “An immortality tale for the 21st century”, it sees Edinburgh’s former Makar at his most playful and devilish, looking once more at human nature and finding it fatally flawed, but not without hope. You […]

We’re All Henry Jekyll’s Bairns: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Enduring Influence on Scottish Literature

It is perhaps the most overused cliché about Scottish literature, and further to that the Scottish psyche, that it is defined by duality. Passionate heart versus rational head, Highlands and Lowlands, Scottish and British identity, Scots and English language, realism and fantasy, all neatly summarised in that term that dare not speak its name, Gregory […]


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