Monday, 15 July 2013

This Blog Has Moved!

You can now access our blog and all articles on We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Midnight in Havana shortlisted ... and it's not even published!

Polygon is delighted to announce that Midnight in Havana by Peggy Blair, scheduled to be published on 4th July in the UK, has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Awards Best First Novel, one of Canada’s top crime writing awards.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that Midnight in Havana has been shortlisted and feel so lucky to be publishing such a magical detective story,” said Neville Moir, Publishing Director of Polygon. “Our warmest congratulations go to Peggy.”

Midnight in Havana – published as The Beggar’s Opera in Canada – has already shown it’s worth being shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award and won the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Bookies Award for Best Mystery/Thriller.

The first Inspector Ramirez Mystery, Midnight in Havana offers fans of smart, literary crime fiction a warmer alternative to Scandinavian Noir and a dark twist on the flawed investigator with Inspector Ramirez, literally, being haunted by unsolved mysteries.
Peggy Blair

Peggy has been a lawyer for more than thirty years. A recognized expert in Aboriginal law, she also worked as both a criminal defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor. She spent a Christmas in Old Havana where she watched the bored young policemen along the Malecón, visited Hemingway’s favourite bars, and learned to make a perfect mojito.

Here’s hoping to be raising one or two of those on the 30th!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Birlinn Ltd Unveils New Sport Imprint

Birlinn Ltd is delighted to announce the launch of a new imprint, Arena Sport!

Debuting later this Spring, it aims to publish five or six titles per year beginning with the paperback edition of the hugely successful Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Force by John Deering formerly published on the Polygon imprint.

Other titles planned include Va Va Froome: The Remarkable Rise of Chris Froome by David Sharp; Jewel in the Glen: Gleneagles, Golf and the Ryder Cup by Ed Hodge; the paperback edition of Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions by Stephen Jones, Tom English, Nick Cain and David Barnes; and Season of Wonder: Manchester United’s Treble Season by Daniel Harris.

Stephen Jones, rugby correspondent for The Times and The Sunday Times and one of the authors of Behind the Lions: Playing Rugby for the British & Irish Lions said, ‘The advent of Arena Sport is great news. At a time when the publishing industry has its challenges, a genuinely positive development  and the arrival  of a potentially outstanding sports list will be warmly welcomed by authors, and readers alike.’

Peter Burns, sports editor, commented 'We are delighted to be launching Arena Sport at this time and we have some very strong titles coming out over the next twenty-four months. We are developing a list which not only features globally renowned sports personalities, teams and brands, but also, crucially, contains some of the finest writers working in the industry today. Our aim is to commission the best writers available, bringing their touch of magic to a range of fascinating stories, and publish their work to the highest spec.'

Stay tuned for more from this exciting new imprint!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Katharine Stewart

Birlinn is very sad to announce the death last week of Katharine Stewart, author of A Croft in the Hills and A Garden in the Hills, at the age of ninety-eight.

A Croft in the Hills (1960) was one of the first books of the period to deal with issues of self-sufficiency, concern for the environment and living in harmony with the natural world, but without any pretentiousness or sentimentality.
Katharine was a wonderful person - full of life, enthusiasm and humour, and a pleasure to deal with as a publisher. Her writing was adored across the world and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Macsween’s Haggis Bible proves a haggis is for life, not just for Burns Night

Not a haggis.
As the uber-Scot Sir Sean Connery once asked whilst playing an immortal Spaniard, who was actually an ancient Egyptian, in the film Highlander, ‘What is a haggis?’
Well, first here’s what it’s not. It is not a small animal indigenous to the Highlands of Scotland and, therefore, does not have legs of any length. It has not been hunted to extinction in the wild and is not, as a result, the subject of an intensive WWF-funded breeding programme at a safari park just outside Auchtermuchty. And it is not – WE REPEAT, NOT – only to be eaten on Burns Night. 

What haggis is is delicious, easy to cook, i.e. microwavable, fantastically adaptable and vegetarian-friendly (for 25 years and counting). Just ask Jo Macsween! Scion of the legendary haggis makers, Macsween of Edinburgh, Jo is a food lover and blogger and a passionate and enthusiastic ambassador for haggis. Never afraid to mix it up, she’s always on the look out for new ways to cook with it. Hence a brand new book on the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race’ - The Macsween Haggis Bible.  

If you want the lowdown on the perfect traditional Burns Night fare, then look no further, but there’s more to haggis than tatties and neeps and tartan. If you’re having a fancy bash how about SOS canapés? Or stir things up at dinner with veggie crumb cake with crème fraîche or haggis bobotie. It’s an everyday ingredient that you can dress up as haggis Benedict, dress down as haggis nachos or see if they even notice with something as innocent as haggis lasagne. Head over to our website for a free recipe. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Vote Bob Servant! Star of Delete this at Your Peril Transfers to Small Screen

If, as Napoleon once observed, “in politics stupidity is not a handicap”, then meet the next Honourable Member for Broughty Ferry – Bob Servant. Star of three bestselling books and a BBC radio series, Bob has now been reborn on the small screen by Hollywood legend Brian Cox in the six-part BBC comedy series, ‘Bob Servant, Independent’.

When the sitting MP for Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, dies suddenly it sparks a by-election that could change the political map of the UK. Bob – former burger van magnate and entrepreneur – swings into action to take advantage of a level of attention he’s been waiting for his whole life. He’s going to sell himself to the good people of Broughty Ferry …whether they like it or not.

The series, written by Neil Forsyth who also wrote the three Bob Servant books (Delete This at Your Peril, Bob Servant:Hero of Dundee and Why Me?), charts Bob’s bid for electoral success against slick professional politician Nick Edwards (Rufus Jones) and Nick’s no-nonsense campaign manager and wife, Philippa (Pollyanna McIntosh). Managing Bob’s campaign for glory is his long-suffering friend and neighbour Frank (“The Dean to my Torvill” – Bob) played by Jonathan Watson, who seems completely unfazed by the fact that Bob has absolutely no understanding of the political process whatsoever. To the hustings!

Bob Servant, Independent starts on 23rd January at 10.00 p.m. on BBC Four for six weeks, repeated on Fridays at 10.00 p.m. on BBC2 Scotland (Sky Channel 970), and here's a sneak peak of the man in action ...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

All we want for Christmas is ...

Word of mouth, hand-selling, whatever you call it we do like a personal recommendation. So we asked the Birlinn Elves what their favourite Birlinn and Polygon book of 2012 was.

Our Publicity and Marketing Elf, Sarah, was first off the mark with the obvious choice. Given that she has a packet of cat treats about her person at all times, well ... you get the picture.

‘I loved Debi Gliori’s "The Tobermory Cat". On the outside it’s the adorable book for children you'd expect from Debi with beautifully observed and executed pictures. On the inside, so to speak, it’s a pithy and pertinent lesson in what makes us all special. Being very fond of fuzzy redheads I thought it was just gorgeous!’

So. Yes. Well, there you have it. For children and cat (and fuzzy redhead) lovers alike, enjoy the stripey orange tale of The Tobermory Cat this Christmas!