Book review: The Potter’s Tale: A Colonsay Life, by Dion Alexander

Dion Alexander’s account of living on Colonsay is rich, human and moving, finds Roger Cox

F Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s, when he and his wife Zelda were both feted

Book review: I’d Die For You and Other Lost Stories, by F Scott Fitzgerald

Even after his star had waned, F Scott Fitzgerald was still a very fine writer, as this collection of ‘lost’ short stories demonstrates

Professor Richard Wiseman will be leading the new Walter Scott Seances at the Signet Library.

Spirit of Walter Scott to be summoned at new Signet Library seances

With its elegant Georgian architecture, it has been one of the most prestigious buildings on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile for nearly two centuries.
Edinburgh, Fife & Lothians
Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has been getting the lowdown on the forthcoming Jacobites exhibition st the National Museum of Scotland.

Outlander author hopes BBC will screen the show - as long as it is not cut

It is the most lucrative television programme ever made in Scotland - yet has never appeared on the nation’s TV screens.
TV & Radio 9
Charlie English  PIC: Nicola Hippisley

Book review: The Book Smugglers Of Timbuktu, by Charlie English

Timbuktu, Tombuctoo, Tombouctou,Tin-Bucktou, Tenbuch, Tombut: the orthographic vagaries of even the name of the place seem to encode its fame as what the French called “La Mystèrieuse”. Charlie English has produced a fascinating book in part inspired by the writer Bruce Chatwin’s point that there are two Timbuktus; an entrepôt on the Niger river in Mali and a mythical city of Europe’s imagination. It deploys a technique more usually found in fiction: the split-time form, probably best represented by AS Byatt’s Possession. Alongside the history of European quests for Timbuktu, English – a former head of international news at the Guardian – narrates the al-Qaeda insurgency in 2012, and the endeavours to preserve and protect the huge number of manuscripts in the city; an action hyped in the West as “real life Indiana Jones”. It can seem at times as if this is two books conjoined. At its best it shows parallels and mirrorings, and the themes that shine through are arrogance and bathos.

Tracy Chevalier

Book review: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

This is the fifth in an ongoing series of Shakespeare plays reimagined as novels, and sees the characters and plot of Othello transplanted to an American primary school in the 1970s. I have some misgivings about the wisdom of attempting to rewrite the Bard, as I did with The Austen Project – didn’t the author nail it the first time? – but the interest comes in whether or not a modern setting can reveal new truths about the narrative.

Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who made his fortune in the United States steel industry, established public libraries across his home country.

Leader comment: Protecting Carnegie’s legacy

The welcome trans-formation of the first public library funded by Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in his native Dunfermline is bound to attract visitors and publicity.

Opinion 1
A stretcher-bearing party carrying a wounded soldier through the mud near Boesinghe during the battle of Passchendaele in Flanders.   Photograph: John Warwick Brooke/Getty Images

Book review: Passchendaele: A New History, by By Nick Lloyd

Did Passchendaele mark the moment when German morale collapsed on the Western Front? Nick Lloyd makes a compelling case

Tim Winton

Book review: The Boy Behind the Curtain, by Tim Winton

Tim Winton is engaging, complex and in this collection, finally revealing, writes Roger Cox

Literary fighters: Glasgow’s last surviving independent book shops

Literary fighters: Glasgow’s last surviving independent book shops

Since the rise of internet giants and high street chain stores, the humble independent book shop has all but disappeared from our towns and cities. With only a few remaining, we talk to the owners of some of Glasgow’s finest, and find out what drives them

Books 2
Amy Macdonald will be among the artists appearing at the Freemasons Hall on George Street during this year's Fringe.

Amy Macdonald, Judy Murray and David Mach lined up for Fringe venue

They are set to be unlikely bedfellows - even by the typical standards of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Edinburgh festivals 2
Alexander McCall Smith
44 Scotland Street - Volume 12 - Chapter 57 - Off to Aberdeen. Picture: Iain McIntosh

44 Scotland Street: Off to Aberdeen

After that strange meeting in the Cumberland Bar, Stuart had turned his attention to the personal side of his life.

Brian "Limmy" Limond  is a Scottish comedian, actor, and web developer. Picture: John Devlin

Interview: Why Limmy’s lot is more than a bunch of wee stories

Janet Christie finds the man behind @DaftLimmy isn’t really so daft after all.

JK Rowling has urged fans to avoid buy copies of a stolen manuscript from a Harry Potter prequel. (Photo by Toby Canham/Getty Images)

JK Rowling’s plea after ‘priceless’ hand-penned manuscript stolen

JK ROWLING has urged Harry Potter fans not to buy a hand-written prequel to the series after the manuscript was stolen by burglars.

News 9
Picture: submitted

Scotland Street: Stuart plans his future

One floor below, unaware of the meeting taking place upstairs in Angus and Domenica’s flat, an encounter of a very different sort was about to occur. Since his resignation from his post as a government statistician, Stuart had been busy preparing for his new life, both professional and domestic.

China Mieville PIC: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images

Book review: October - The Story Of The Russian Revolution, By China Miéville

Take a smattering of quotes at random – “It was a new, post-dragon world”; “the visitations of bad spirits… the barbed wire that grasped men as if with its own purpose”; “their moonlit manoeuvres were watched by a statue, a scene from an uncanny story”, “one hundred thousand corpses lie beneath the city”, “a gnarled and ghastly relic, receiving obeisance from its catafalque” – and you would easily be forgiven for thinking that this was another of China Miéville’s award-winning “new weird” novels. In fact, they come from his scintillating retelling of the events of the Russian Revolution, narrating February to October 1917 with typical élan and insight. It is the revolution as gothic horror, as Feydeau farce, as the “fulcrum from history to possibility”.

Lachlan Mackinnon

Book review: Doves, by Lachlan Mackinnon

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2010, Lachlan Mackinnon’s last book, Small Hours, concluded with a long poem, “The Book of Emma”, in which he reflected on the death of a friend from his time as an undergraduate. Reviewing the book in the Independent, Boyd Tonkin suggested that poems about death seemed to be coming back into vogue, adding that “The Book of Emma” brought “a new richness and resonance to the rediscovered art of mourning”. Mackinnon would no doubt prefer not to become pigeonholed as a laureate of doom and gloom, but in his latest collection, Doves, death is once again at the forefront of his mind.

Writer Alexander McCall Smith is to be presented with Medal of Honor from the National Arts Club in New York.

Author Alexander McCall Smith honoured by National Arts Club in New York

It is one of the most prestigious private art clubs in the world which has bestowed its Medal of Honor on the world’s literary and artistic greats such as Arthur Miller, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Nadine Gordimer and Margaret Atwood.

Author Alexander McCall Smith, who has been honoured in New York

Leader comment: Scotland’s latest literary lion

To a list of such literary luminaries as Arthur Miller, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Margaret Atwood, we can now add the name of Scottish novelist Alexander McCall Smith.

Author Hanif Kureishi. Picture: Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Book review: The Nothing, by Hanif Kureishi

A lecherous film director raging against the dying of the light is a memorably unpleasant creation by Hanif Kureishi

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