‘Oyster’ by Michael Pedersen, with illustrations by Scott Hutchison

This is the second poetry collection from Michael Pedersen, following 2013’s deservedly well-received Play With Me. Pedersen is well known as a co-founder of the Neu! Reekie! collective, which organizes nights of poetry, music and, if this collection is anything to go by, debauchery. Indeed, the poet’s preoccupation with hedonism – sex, drugs and alcohol […]

‘What Ends’ by Andrew Ladd

What Ends is an intriguing first novel by an Edinburgh native, Andrew Ladd, who now lives in Brooklyn, where he is the blog editor of the literary journal Ploughshares. What Ends is the winner of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Award for the Novel. It would be wrong, however, to expect that […]

‘If This Were Real’ by Gerda Stevenson

Gerda Stevenson is one of Scotland’s great renaissance women, equally gifted at acting, directing and writing. She has written, adapted and performed in numerous radio plays, as well as writing and directing for the stage, and has starred alongside Mel Gibson in Braveheart. In 2012, her layered, nuanced play Federer Versus Murray enthralled a packed […]

‘A Clearance’ by Fiona Wilson

If the book’s title and author’s name suggest a connection with Scotland this is entirely appropriate — Wilson grew up in Scotland and from the very first poem (‘Victorian Scotland’), a sense of Scottishness pervades her debut collection. The Scots Magazine, the Caledonian forest, Burns, Stevenson, Trocchi and Troon are all referenced. This is not […]

‘The Green Dress Whose Girl is Sleeping’ by Russell Jones

Edinburgh-based poet Russell Jones has published three pamphlets and edited Where Rockets Burn: Contemporary Science Fiction Poetry from the UK. The Green Dress Whose Girl Is Sleeping marks his debut book-length collection. The titles of the poems point towards idiosyncrasy and diversity — ‘My Secrets as a God’, ‘My Adoration of Tiramisu’, ‘Random Sample from […]

Portable Rootedness and Other Contradictions: Some Thoughts on Contemporary Hebridean Poetry

In this informal, inexhaustive essay I shall reflect on continuing challenges and recent developments in Hebridean poetry, concentrating especially on the six years that have elapsed since the publication of These Islands, We Sing: An Anthology of Scottish Islands Poetry. As I wrote in my introduction to that book: Poetry is grossly undervalued today, and even […]

‘An Introduction to Gaelic Fiction’ by Moray Watson

In this, “the first guide to Gaelic fiction”, Moray Watson makes a significant and long overdue contribution to Gaelic, and therefore Scottish, literary studies. Some readers of Gaelic fiction will not be surprised that this is a relatively slim volume; others will feel that it is too slender. Although Gaelic, in one form or another, […]

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