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Posts tagged Scotland

Jura distillery releasing 1984 malt in George Orwell commemoration
November 17, 2014 | 4:29 pm

Jura 1984The Jura distillery, long a key sponsor at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, has now found a perhaps slightly more dubious route to literary celebrity, deciding to issue a special limited edition 1984 malt whisky, to mark 30 years since the date of George Orwell's eponymous novel. The Jura 1984 Vintage was casked in 1984 and, according to the account in The Drinks Business, "only 1,984 individually numbered bottles of the limited edition single malt whisky, casked in 1984, will be made available worldwide," at £750 ($1,176) per bottle. In one respect at least, the Jura distillery's bid for recognition is completely authentic:...

Saltire Literary Awards honor Scotland’s best books of 2014
November 15, 2014 | 2:25 pm

The Saltire Society, leading independent promoter of Scottish learning and culture, has just announced the results of its 2014 Saltire Literary Awards, "widely regarded as Scotland’s most prestigious book awards," and the Scottish Book of the Year Award in various categories. The Award categories comprise the Scottish Literary Book of the Year, Scottish First Book of the Year, Scottish Poetry Book of the Year (in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library), Scottish History Book of the Year (in partnership with the Scottish Historical Review Trust), and Scottish Research Book of the Year (in partnership with the National Library of Scotland) - as well as the overall...

Stevenson’s lost The Hair Trunk appears after 130 years
November 12, 2014 | 12:25 pm

After over 130 years in hibernation, a lost unfinished work by Robert Louis Stevenson has resurfaced, and is now appearing for the first time in book form, with Scottish newspaper of record The Scotsman publishing an extended extract. The Hair Trunk, or The Ideal Commonwealth: An Extravaganza is an extended but ultimately abortive draft of a comic novel, running to 30,000 words but left unfinished, dating from Stevenson's youth. The characterization of it in some reports as a "missing masterpiece" is rather an exaggeration, as it was begun in 1877, when Stevenson was 27 years old, and broken off two years later,...

Scots wae hae as Oor Wullie teaches yz tae ken Scots
October 9, 2014 | 4:25 pm

For anyone wanting to comprehend the weird dialectical leanings of an Irvine Welsh novel (and no, I'm not talking Marxism), let alone Robert Burns, some kind of primer in the Scottish variant of English might be welcome. Luckily, the Scots Language Centre and Scottish publisher DC Thomson (based in my old home town of Dundee) have come to the rescue with the Oor Wullie site, a guide "tae Scots language" designed to teach the unique Caledonian version of English with the help of the iconic Scottish cartoon character Oor Wullie. According to the Wikipedia definition, Scots "is the Germanic language variety...

Edinburgh’s Stockbridge Library to get Book Week Scotland artwork
October 9, 2014 | 12:25 pm

One of Edinburgh's lovelier local libraries, Stockbridge Library in the central district of Stockbridge, is due to receive an artwork by Glasgow-based artist Rachel Barron as part of this year's Love Your Library Campaign launched for Book Week Scotland. "Book Week Scotland will shine a light on the place libraries occupy in communities," explains the Scottish Book Trust article on the project. "Five large library artworks will be unveiled across Scotland during the week, with the aim of making the chosen libraries visible and valued in their local areas. The artworks will be inspired by a very special love letter to libraries, 'Dear Library,'...

Follow the Scott trail through Scotland
September 26, 2014 | 10:25 am

With interest in Scotland and Scottish culture still riding high post the Scottish independence referendum, here's welcome information for anyone wishing to delve into the background and landmarks of one of Scotland's greatest writers, Sir Walter Scott. Visit Scotland, "Scotland's National Tourism Organization," has put together a Sir Walter Scott Itinerary to take visitors around the sites and settings most associated with Scott and his novels, starting with his slightly fantastic creation of Abbotsford, the house which dramatized the historical and Romantic themes in stone and in a huge collection of curios. Then there's Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom, the Sheriff Court at Selkirk...

Scottish literature after the referendum
September 21, 2014 | 2:29 pm

The referendum on Scottish independence gave Scottish literature, and Scottish culture, greater prominence as a separate force in the English-speaking world than at any time in recent decades. Arguably, that's no less than the post-war generations of writers that have numbered Iain Banks, Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, and Irvine Welsh deserves. But the dissipation of all the hope and optimism of the Yes campaign on September 18th, and the recriminations afterwards against the British establishment, are darkening the mood and cbecking a lot of that impetus. Alasdair Gray himself described the result in Scotland's The Herald as "a great pity"...

Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence
September 7, 2014 | 2:25 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival to speak and to promote his latest book, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, iconic modern Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, who has probably done more to push contemporary Scottish society into public awareness than any other writer, diverted from the American theme of his new book to address the whole Scottish independence referendum debate - in terms that cast a spotlight on the entire UK as a whole. Asked simply "Yes or No, and why?" Welsh replied: I can't vote so I'm not telling anybody how they should vote, just  giving what I believe, but...

Creative Skillset funds training in Scotland for Gaelic scriptwriters
September 4, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Normally I might be skeptical of funding initiatives from industry insider groups like the UK's Creative Skillset, "the industry skills body for the Creative Industries," especially when the amounts in question are relatively meager. But the latest announcement from Creative Skillset Scotland is about a program that actually might make some difference in Alba - even when it only involves £1.3 million ($2.14 million). According to the announcement, Creative Skillset Scotland has invested through its Skills Investments Funds, with equal matched funding from BBC Scotland, Red Kite and Digimania, STV Productions and Young Films. One of the key items in this funding...

Reedsy brings Scottish-backed self-publishing services marketplace
September 3, 2014 | 10:25 am

A new UK-based self-publishing services startup Reedsy has just rolled out "the first version of its website, progressively inviting editors and designers to join their marketplace over the course of the next 48 hours." Reedsy aims to offer an online skills marketplace that "helps authors collaborate with expert editors, book designers, marketers and translators to take their books to another level. Reedsy will only work with certified, industry-experienced freelancers so authors can find the best partners for their project." Founded in 2014 by a small team out of Seedcamp, "Europe’s top accelerator," to "change the way the publishing industry works," Reedsy is financially supported...

What future for writers in Scotland after the independence referendum?
September 1, 2014 | 10:25 am

BveOVUxCEAAT4NDOne of the highlight debates of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, "Writing the Future: Being a Writer After the Referendum," hinged on the question of what the actual results of the independence referendum vote - whether Yes or No - might be for writers in Scotland. The panel brought together writers, publishers, and cultural policy professionals, from both sides of the Yes/No divide. "The Society of Authors only sponsors one event in a book festival in the UK [annually], and this is that one event," as Lin Anderson, author and chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland, said in her...

Interview with Claire Askew, runner-up in the first Edwin Morgan Award
August 31, 2014 | 3:30 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, I spoke to Claire Askew, runner-up for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for her unpublished collection ‘This changes things". She received the £1000 ($1660) awarded to all shortlisted poets, "and a further amount to support her work towards publication." Judge Stewart Conn praised her "voice that is arrestingly and distinctively her own… words and imagery constantly seeming fresh-minted." I spoke to her about the Award, her work, and modern Scottish poetry. TeleRead: To what extent do you find yourself working within a specifically Scottish tradition? Claire Askew: I definitely do. I'm an interesting person to...