How tartan inspired hipsters and generations of style tribes

It was once a feared symbol of rebellious Highland clansmen, considered so dangerous that laws were passed to prevent anyone except Government troops from wearing it.

Angela Carter in France, 1988 PIC: Louis Monier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Book review: The Invention of Angela Carter, by Edmund Gordon

When the shortlist for the Booker Prize was announced in 1991, the novelist Angela Carter already knew she was terminally ill with lung cancer. Wise Children, her last, extravagant, irreverent, Shakespeare and vaudeville suffused work, was not on it (nor, incidentally, was any work by a woman writer). Her response seems to encapsulate her: “I certainly don’t seem to get the sympathy vote.”

Joseph Stalin circa 1930. PIC: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Book review: Stalin and the Scientists, by Simon Ings

With fiction in mind, William Styron once said that a great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. The same is true of the finest non-fiction, and Simon Ings’ Stalin And The Scientists is a great book. Titles can be misleading, and this is not another biographical perspective on the Soviet dictator, but rather a vast tapestry of Russian history from the mid-19th century, when many of the scientists who feature were born, to after Stalin’s death. The great themes and contributions of Russian science – in biology, psychology, genetics, physics (including nuclear physics) and even cybernetics – are illustrated with detailed examples, anecdotes and apt quotations.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman, Atlanta, Georgia, 1864

Book review: Days Without End, by Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry is a marvellous writer, and Days Without End is a beautifully written novel of the American West, the US Cavalry, the Indian Wars, the Civil War and its aftermath. The narrative is gripping, descriptions of landscape vivid and beautiful, evocations of military life, brutal warfare, cruelty and courage utterly compelling; and it is also an unusual love story with sufficient moments of tenderness to have you hoping there may, despite everything, be a gorgeous sunset lighting up the screen as “The End” is announced.

Ali Smith PIC: Lisa Ferguson

Book review: Autumn, by Ali Smith

The word that always comes to mind when I am reading a work by Ali Smith is sprezzatura, the word that Baldassare Castiglione coined in his The Book Of The Courtier to denote a kind of studied spontaneity, “a certain nonchalance so as to conceal all art” as he put it. In Autumn, the first of a quartet of seasonally-titled novels, she almost admits as much: “here’s an old story so new that it’s still in the middle of happening, writing itself right now with no knowledge of where or how it’ll end”. One can only give the impression of a story being off the cuff by having it planned rigorously in advance. That is not to say that Autumn isn’t acutely aware of the very contemporary – it is, in some reviews, being praised as the first literary response to Brexit (which it does indeed mention); but then it also deals with the refugee crisis, the Marseille terror attacks and the prevalence of TV programmes about antiques.

Storyteller Linda Williamson

Preview: Scottish International Storytelling Festival

Mankind has long talked in terms of cosmic harmonies – Pythagoras’s “geometry in the humming of the strings” and Plato’s “music of the spheres” – and cultures the world over have made up tales across the millennia to explain the stellar configurations they observed in the night sky. Light itself, as an astronomer will tell you, carries its own stories, about the formation and evolution of the universe.

Paul Beatty is the first American writer to win the Man Booker Prize.

Man Booker Prize goes to US author for first time as Scots crime writer misses out

A Scottish novelist has lost out on Britain’s most prestigious literary prize - to the first ever American winner.
Books 3
Graeme Macrae Burnet has made an emotional plea to ensure Scotlands under-threat public libraries are saved from closure. Picture: John Devlin

Crime writer Graeme Macrae Burnet hits out over library cuts

Books 5
Nicola Sturgeon says people who go into politics should be "led by a deep sense of conviction."

Nicola Sturgeon: Don't enter the world of politics as "a career option"

Nicola Sturgeon has warned against anyone considering entering the world of politics as “a career option”.

Politics 43
Graeme Macrae Burnet is in the running for the Man Booker Prize with his second novel.

Scotland's Man Booker contender speaks out over library cuts

Scotland’s contender for the Man Booker Prize has called for the nation’s libraries to be protected from closure and cutbacks.

Lifestyle 1
Ian Rankin says he can't 'bump off' Rebus. Picture: Jane Barlow

Ian Rankin: ‘I can’t imagine killing off Rebus’

Celebrated crime writer Ian Rankin has admitted he cannot bring himself to kill off his Inspector Rebus character after 30 years.

News 4
Dylan: arrogant. Picture: AP

Bob Dylan criticised for silence after Nobel Prize award

A member of the Swedish Academy that awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan says the singer-songwriter’s silence since receiving the honour is “impolite and arrogant”.

Author Ian Rankin outside the Oxford Bar. Picture:  Ian Georgeson

Ian Rankin Interview: ‘I don’t know if I’ll write about Rebus again’

Detective Rebus is out of retirement for one more case. Janet Christie settles into The Oxford Bar to hear more from author Ian Rankin.

News 7
Robert Burns was said to be inspired by Ossian's poems. Picture: TSPL Archive

Scotland’s epic Ossian poems ‘stolen from Ireland’

Ancient poems regarded as a literary cornerstone of Scottish history are now thought to be an elborate hoax, according to researchers.

News 4
Irvine Welsh is in the running for Scotland's major book prizes with new Francis Begbie novel The Blade Artist

Irvine Welsh and James Kelman up for Saltire Literary Award

Irvine Welsh, James Kelman, Jenni Fagan and Maggie O’Farrel will all be competing for Scotland’s major literary honours this year.

Books 5
Jessica Thummel was one of theee shortlisted candidates for the Dundee International Book Prize.

Coveted Scottish book prize goes to American 'coming of age' novel

American writer Jessica Thummel has won a major Scottish book prize for debut novelists.
Greyfriars Kirkyard is said to be haunted by Lord Advocate George Bluidy Mackenzie. Picture: Victoria Stewart

‘Dark tourism’ must-sees revealed in new Scotland guide book

A seven foot tall vampire roaming the streets of Glasgow, a poltergeist haunting an iconic Edinburgh graveyard and a monster locked up in an Aberdeenshire castle are among the terrifying tales featured in a new guide to Scotland’s most “spooktacular” locations.

People & Places
Scottish Style Awards 2015 - Nominees

Most Stylish Male
Jamie Byng
Publisher, Canongate

David Young appointed new chairman at Canongate publisher

One of Scotland’s leading independent publishing companies, Canongate, has appointed David Young as successor to Sir Christopher Bland as chairman.

Sunset Song has been named Scotland's favourite book. Picture: Contributed

Sunset Song named Scotland’s favourite book in new poll

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon has been named Scotland’s favourite book in a new poll.

Books 9
Bob Dylan performs at the Hollywood Palladium in 2012. Picture: Christopher Polk/Getty

The jingle jangle genius of Nobel laureate Bob Dylan

Those for whom awarding a Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan is low brow populism just don’t get the poet who opened a new frontier in literary expression, writes Dani Garavelli

Music 5
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