Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Edinburgh Author’s are Top of the Books

Mark Renton, John Rebus, Ruby Lennox, and Harry Potter; four totally different characters from the minds of four totally different authors, yet each have helped in their own way, to confirm the strength of Edinburgh as a top city on the UK's contemporary literary map.

Last week, Waterstone's announced that books by four of the city’s top authors have been voted amongst the best reads of the past 25 years after a poll of the chain’s 5000 stores.

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling, Behind the Scenes at The Museum by Kate Atkinson and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, all made it into a top 100 poll of the chain's 5000 booksellers.

Rankin, put forward for the first book in his Inspector Rebus series, said: "I'm thrilled that Knots and Crosses appears on the list. It was written when I was a 25-year-old student and was never meant to be the beginning of a series. Little did I know it was the start of something big."

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Edwin Morgan’s Birthday Party

Due to a major computer error, I've been unable to write a proper post for this week. However, at the last minute I noticed this piece of news that is worthy of notice:

Friday 27 April, 3pm
Edwin Morgan’s Birthday Party and Launch of Beyond the Sun

All are welcome to join the National Poet of Scotland, Edwin Morgan, at the celebration of his birthday and launch of his latest book, Beyond the Sun.

Scotland’s favourite paintings – as discovered through an extensive reader’s poll with The Herald newspaper – are coupled with a corresponding poem penned by Edwin Morgan in this beautiful collection, Beyond the Sun.

Held at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where five of the top ten paintings are installed, the launch will be a poignant combination of fine art and fine poetry.

Beyond the Sun includes introductory essays by Lesley Duncan, Poetry Editor of The Herald and Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University, plus an Afterword by Liz Lochhead, Glasgow’s Poet Laureate.

Cost: Free
Location: Glasgow
Venue: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bookworld Saved!

Last month it was reported in The Dog Blog, that the famous bookstore chain, BookWorld, BW!, and Bargain Books was to close its doors. We are happy to announce that the firm was recently sold and the chain will survive for now at least.

The Scottish owners of the chain went into administration several weeks ago, and although some branches closed almost at the time, the buyout means that the remaining 160 jobs in Scotland and England are now safe.

The buyout happened when parent company David Flatman Ltd, sold its retail division to The Works, thereby, saving a total of 26 shops across the country.

A separate management buyout team has purchased the company's publishing arm, Lomond Books. Joint administrator, Tom MacLennan, said; “the sale is excellent news for staff, customers, suppliers and creditors. It will mean continuity of employment for 160 staff and a very positive future for the two businesses."

Derek Hine, chief executive of The Works, said; "Bookworld has long been renowned for the quality of its staff and we are pleased to welcome 155 colleagues into the business."

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Spring 2007 Issue is now online!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Taste of Not Writing

As you all know, I am a huge advocate of writing every day. No excuses. Like a concert pianist going back to basics, or an athlete staying limber, I believe it’s vitally important to the difference between writing as a profession/vocation or a hobby.

That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t take a day off or a vacation where writing is not the primary focus or even any part of it. We all need downtime to recharge the creative batteries. Sometimes, you have to take a leave of absence from your Muse for awhile, so that when you get back together, you’re glad to see each other and you can dive back in. I plan trips, but I do not have a designated day off. I prefer a floating day – whenever I feel I need a day, provided I’ve stayed on top of deadlines/contracts – I take a day and do whatever I darned well please. Then, the next day, I’m raring to go back to the page.

I had a taste of the non-writing life in February and March—working on a full Broadway schedule, battling two illnesses, and the infamous flood in our town, where I lost my car, ten families lost everything, we were without power, hot water, and heat, and a small group of us worked hauling generators, running lines, etc., trying to get things going.

I’m not so dependent on the computer that I wouldn’t write without it. We’ve had many a power failure in this place, and I’ve written by candlelight. And I managed to keep on top of all the paid, contracted deadlines.

But I didn’t do any of my own, undeadlined work. I didn’t scan the job boards. I didn’t research markets and try to see if I had something that would fit or if I was inspired to write something to fit.

Most days, I couldn’t even read – be it from illness or exhaustion.

I’ll tell you something: I didn’t like it.

Beyond the dis-ease being ill gave me, I felt fractured, I felt dull, I felt out of sorts. The colors in the world seemed less vibrant. Not only did I feel less interesting as an individual, I felt less interested in the world.

Being a writer engages me in everything that goes on around me. Writing is like breathing to me, and, even though on many levels I’m a rather shy and reticent person, the writing encourages me to ask questions, explore, and learn about everything around me. I often joke that I’m interested in everything except math and anchovies, and even anchovies have a place in a Caesar salad.

I’ve had non-writers or “hobby writers” cluck on about how writers who write every day are dis-engaged from life – life is too full, too important, there’s too much to do (the old “no time” excuse again) to sit down and write anything.

I disagree. Not writing made me more dis-engaged than I ever was when writing. It made me feel like the world was passing me by and I was a spectator instead of a participant. Which is odd, because so often writers are characterized as being on the outside looking in, perpetual observers. When I write as I live (not necessarily what I live) – my life and the lives of my characters not only make more sense, there’s more color in the world in general. Instead of a palette of storm grays and dull beiges, there’s a vibrant rainbow of life.

--Devon Ellington

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Glasgow's Lost Book Returned After 400-Year Absence

Four hundred years ago, the Vita St Kentigern disappeared from its home in Glasgow Cathedral. Ever since then, investigators have come and gone, all of them as equally baffled as the last over its mysterious disappearance. The book, which tells the story of the city's patron saint, is the most historic in Glasgow’s long existence.

Last month, the velum-bound tome was handed back to the city in a ceremony at Glasgow Cathedral and is tipped by city experts to spark a mini tourist boom after it goes on display at the city’s Mitchell Library.

The life story of St Kentigern, or St Mungo as he is more commonly known, was commissioned way back in the year 1180. The completed book was then lodged in the cathedral where it remained for almost four centuries before it was stolen, by culprits unknown.

300 years ago, Archbishop Marsh of Dublin acquired a copy for his library, and it has been there ever since. Glasgow's Local History and Archaeology Working Group reawakened interest in the city's origins when it was formed two years go, and interest began to grow, and questions asked.

The pages of the historic manuscript were photographed using modern techniques, and the resulting images used to create four replica copies of the book, each containing a full translation of the medieval Latin script.

One copy will remain in Glasgow Cathedral, a second copy to the Glasgow Archdiocese, and a third to the Marsh Library in Dublin.

Labels: , ,