Thursday, 26 July 2012

Birlinn Signs Bradley Wiggins Book!

Birlinn Ltd is delighted to announce the signing of ‘Bradley Wiggins: Tour De Force’ by John Deering.

Bradley Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins recently became the first British rider to win the Tour de France, and the book is written over 20 chapters each representing a stage of the iconic race. The book will present an insight into Wiggins’ Tour achievement, while simultaneously relaying his incredible back story. 

Deering is author of ‘Team on the Run – the inside story of the Linda McCartney Pro Cycling Team’ and the forthcoming ‘Twelve Months in the Saddle’, and is an old friend and colleague of both Wiggins and the man who guided him to glory in Paris, Team Sky manager Sean Yates.

Neville Moir, Birlinn Publishing Director, said, ‘I am thrilled that we will be publishing this title about Bradley’s incredible achievements for Christmas 2012, and that we have signed a writer of John Deering’s calibre for our growing sports list.’

 The Flying Scotsman
In cycling Birlinn also publishes The Flying Scotsman by revolutionary and visionary cyclist Graeme Obree, now a major motion picture starring Jonny Lee Miller.

Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Force by John Deering will be published in October 2012.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Alexander McCall Smith at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2012

They seek him here, they seek him there but in August it’s a pretty safe bet that Alexander McCall Smith will be at home in Edinburgh. ‘Home’ being the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Charlotte Square, mind you, as he appears not once, not twice, not even three but four times! And you still need to get in quick to get a ticket …


With a brand new 44 Scotland Street novel, Sunshine on Scotland Street, on the blocks, there’s a lot to talk about – has Bertie managed to escape Irene, are we really seeing double or are there two Bruces, how will marital bliss affect Cyril and his gold tooth, to name but three.

UPDATE: Alexander's three adult events are now sold out. Returned tickets might be available from the Box Office, please contact 0845 373 5888 or

Saturday 11 August at 6.30 p.m. (now sold out)
Wednesday 15 August at 1.30 p.m. (now sold out)
or Thursday 16 August at 6.30 p.m. (now sold out)

And for younger readers there is a special event on Tuesday 14 August at 3.30 p.m. when Alexander will be talking about the latest case for a very young Precious Ramotswe, Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill.

The weather might not be great at the moment, but when Alexander McCall Smith is around it is always sunny. Book your summer sun now!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Birlinn at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2012

The Book Festival
In amongst all the lovely big white marquees in Charlotte Square, you might notice a small orange, two-man tent. This is Birlinn HQ at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. We’re joking, of course, but it does seem as if we move lock, stock and barrel to the EIBF every year to support all our lovely authors, and this year will be no exception!

History fans are extremely well catered for this year with MSP Struan Stevenson talking about Russia under Putin, ahead of his new book Stalin’s Legacy, on Sunday, 26 August (now sold out). Cartophiles (that’s map lovers) can get their fix with Christopher Fleet on 13 August. Christopher is one of three authors of Scotland: Mapping the Nation, which was hugely popular in hardback and looks to be even more popular in paperback (available for the festival). And Birlinn stalwart Alistair Moffat will be revealing the hidden history of Scotland we all carry around with us in our DNA in The Scots: A Genetic Journey on 14 August (now sold out).

And if your history fan is a little bit younger we heartily recommend taking them along to see Allan Burnett on Tuesday, 14 August at 3.30 p.m. His And All That … series is a hilarious introduction some of the big names in Scottish history, including Bonnie Prince Charlie, Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Macbeth. Allan is a brilliant – and extremely enthusiastic – communicator of history and we generally come back from his events exhausted but much better informed! You have been warned …

"‎String-pulling, name-dropping, opinionated in every line,” Michael White called The Importance of Being Awkward: The Autobiography of Tam Dalyell and he wasn’t wrong. But it is also an insightful and urbane look back at a career in politics which we probably won’t see the likes of again for a very long time. As he turns eighty-years-old, join Tam Dalyell on 15 August as he talks about his life, and again on 20 August as he joins Merlin Waterson to discuss families who have donated their homes to the nation as the Dalyells did with The House of the Binns, their ancestral home for over 400 years.

In our modern world conflict is never far away. John Ashton was a researcher for the legal team of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. He has uncovered evidence in the course of his research which throws doubt not only on Megrahi’s conviction but also the subsequent furore surrounding his appeals. John will be talking about his book Megrahi: You Are My Jury, The Lockerbie Evidence on 11 August in a discussion with Hans K√∂chler, the UN's official observer at the Lockerbie trial and Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the tragedy.

Max Benitz grew up surrounded by his father’s memorabilia of his time in the Scots Guards. He decided to find out what the day to day life, away from the headline and protests, for the average soldier in Afghanistan. He spent eighteen months with his father’s regiment in tanning and in Afghanistan and his book Six Months Without Sundays is a poignant, funny and thought-provoking piece of work from such a young writer. Join Max on 17 August when he will be talking about Afghanistan with veteran broadcaster Sandy Gall.

But if all that sounds too serious there is one man guaranteed to raise a laugh at the Book Festival. Bob Servant is a hero for our time, taking on email spammers promising everything from love to lions. About to become a star of television and radio, Bob’s creator Neil Forsyth brings us up to date with his meteoric rise to fame on 15 August. And for foodies, Mary Contini of Valvona & Crolla – the legendary Italian deli – takes us through The Italian Sausage Bible on 11 August. No drooling at the back.

Our noisy wee sister imprint will be along shortly to shout about her authors, but information on all our events can be found at Enjoy!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Who do you think you are?

Alistair Moffat
It has become more and more popular to ask ourselves, genetically-speaking, “Who do you think you are?” but is it something a nation can ask itself? A best-selling history writer and a population geneticist have begun to ask just this with startling results. Alistair Moffat and Jim Wilson are unravelling the complex and tangled history locked with our DNA. It’s an almost limitless archive of our history where the ancient story is being rewritten.

Alistair recently appeared on BBC Radio Four's Today Programme talking about 'deep ancestry', the very roots of where we come from, and revealed that almost everyone in Britain is an immigrant - it just depends when you arrived. Click here to hear Alistair talking about this on the programme.

The Scots
Alistair will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 14th of August talking about how the results of DNA testing almost rewrites Scottish history as outlined in the book The Scots: A Genetic Journey. And if you really want to know who you are, check out the Britains DNA site.