Tuesday, 27 November 2012

2012 Saltire Society Literary Awards

This year is a bumper year for Birlinn and Polygon authors at the Saltire Society’s Literary Awards, and rightly so. The winners are announced at the National Library of Scotland on St Andrews Day, and we’ll be keeping our fingers, toes and everything else we can cross crossed. Congratulations to all the shortlisted poets and writers, but particularly to …

Aonghas MacNeacail
Aonghas MacNeacail – Aonghas’ collection poetry Laughing at the Clock: New and Selected Poems/ Déanamh Gáire Ris A’ Chloc: DáinÙra Agus Thaghte was published earlier this year to celebrate his 70th birthday. Described by James Robertson as ‘A fine record of a distinctive bilingual voice’, this is a poet at the height of his powers. The shortlist for Scottish Book of the Year is a stellar one this year with Aonghas up against Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Kathleen Jamie, James Kelman, Ewan Morrison and Irvine Welsh.
Scotland: Mapping the Nation – Christopher Fleet, Charles W.J.Withers and Margaret Wilkes have produced that rarest of books, one that is historically rich and significant but which is also lavishly illustrated and just a joy to read. The history of Scotland has been told so many different ways, but the use of maps from the earliest times offers a fascinating new angle on the subject. The shortlist for Scottish Research Book of the Year also contains another Birlinn title …

The Grand Designer: Third Marquess of ButeRosemary Hannah has written an enthralling biography of one of the last great artistic patrons, the thirds Marquess of Bute. Fabulously wealthy, Bute worked closely with architects and artists to create some of the most remarkable interiors in Britain including the high Victorian Gothic exuberance of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch and the wildly ostentatious Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. But he was also a man at odds with his times. A Catholic convert, he openly criticised his Church. A traditional Victorian Patriarch, he championed feminism and was intimately involved in his children’s lives.


And last, but definitely not least, on the Scottish History Book of the Year shortlist is Scotland's First Oil Boom: The Scottish Shale-Oil Industry, 1851–1914 by John McKay. Just as big, but less well known than its modern counterpart, the Scottish shale oil industry was just as big a boom as the North Sea industry. At its peak it employed 10, 000 people, it exploited new technology to produce a whole range of new products and paved the way for Scottish expertise to be recognised in the oil and petrochemical industry at large.


Congratulations to all our authors who have been shortlisted!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Birlinn and Polygon at Book Week Scotland

It’s Book Week Scotland next week, and we have plenty events planned with our fantastic authors. Get your diary out, here we go!

If you’re near the Mull of Kintyre on 26th November, the wonderful
Jess Smith, author of Way of the Wanderers, will be performing at Campbeltown Library. With stories and songs Jess brings to life the history of the travelling community. And in Fife on the same day, our very own Jan Rutherford (Publicity & Marketing Director) will be taking part in the panel discussion ‘So You Want to be a Writer?’ exploring the future of publishing at 7pm, in the Dalgety Bay Library.

The 27th of November is a busy day for our authors and no mistake. The lovely Sara Sheridan, author of
Brighton Belle, will appear at the MacDonald Library in Edinburgh with a talk entitled ‘How to be a Lady’. Learn from the best from throughout history! On the same day up in Oban, Catherine Brown, acclaimed food writer and author of Scottish Seafood, will be at Oban Library with a talk to get your mouth watering!

And in Edinburgh it's the launch of brand new short story collection The Seven Wonders of Scotland at Blackwell’s, South Bridge at 6.30pm! Seven writers re-imagine Scotland through a fictional exploration of its possible future, landscapes and mindsets. There are some pretty out-there ideas so come along to hear readings from this provocative and entertaining collection from contributors Gavin Inglis, Kirsti Wishart and Caroline von Schmalensee, introduced by the collection’s editor, Gerry Hassan.

Ron Butlin, Edinburgh's Makar or Poet Laureate, is a busy man in Book Week Scotland. He will be promoting his latest poetry collection,
The Magicians of Scotland with two performances. Firstly, he will be reading at the Edinburgh Bookshop, Bruntsfield on 29th November at 6.45pm. Then, on Saturday December 1st , Ron will appear at the Scottish Storytelling Centre accompanied by musicians Dick Lee and Anne Evans, in an exciting new show, which proved a hit at this year’s Fringe. 

On the 29th of November Main Street Trading Company will host the Borders launch of Fauna Scotica, a beautiful new book crammed with fascinating information and gorgeous photographs, with author Mary Low. Come along to St Boswells at 6pm to explore Scotland’s diverse range of wildlife.

On the same day - if you’re in Paisley - join us at Paisley Abbey at 7.30pm to hear the delightful Alexander McCall Smith speak about his latest novel, Trains and Lovers. But don’t fret if you can’t make that event! He will also appear at the National Library of Scotland on 30th November in a discussion on the joys of reading. Also on the 30th, the talented Keith Brockie will be speaking about his beautifully illustrated book, Return to One Man’s Island at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick at 11.30am. For more information or to make a booking telephone +44(0)1620 890202 or email info@seabird.org.

Off the mainland Kevin MacNeil, editor of
These Islands, We Sing, and Donald S. Murray, author of And On This Rock, will be talking on Isles FM about island literature . First broadcast at 7pm on the 25th November, it will be repeated throughout the week at 2pm on the 28th November and 6pm on the 30th November.

Phew! That’s a lot of celebrating of Scottish books and writing. We need a lie down and a cup of tea just thinking about it. See you there!