The Renaissance of Nan Shepherd

Two nature writers, from different countries writing in different eras. Both were long dead and forgotten; their reputations languished, books long out of print. The last decade has seen the profile of each rising beyond what could ever have been expected in their lifetimes. Nan Shepherd and JA Baker: authors of the two finest works … Continue reading The Renaissance of Nan Shepherd

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James Kelman

The Man Booker Prize is 50 years old in 2019. In that time, only one Scottish author has won. In 1994, in the prize's 25th anniversary year James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late became the most controversial - and least likely - victor. The Booker Prize (as it was then called) is sometimes … Continue reading James Kelman

Review: “Tales from the Shadow Booth: Volume 3”

Oh, this is good. First, declarations of interest: I supported the initial Shadow Booth anthology on Kickstarter. There were some superb stories (Malcolm Devlin's 'Moths' in particular) but I wasn't impressed enough to buy volume 2 when it came out last year. If it's as good as volume 3 I'll be rectifying that shortly. Additionally, … Continue reading Review: “Tales from the Shadow Booth: Volume 3”

‘How the world sustains’: Kathleen Jamie

I once made a mixtape for Kathleen Jamie. Two, in fact. In my first year at University, Kathleen Jamie was the writer-in-residence. For the weekly writers' group meetings, her and three students (I was one) decamped from her office on Dundee's Nethergate to a nearby café or pub to rant about the Tory government of … Continue reading ‘How the world sustains’: Kathleen Jamie

Review: “Hollow Shores” by Gary Budden (2017)

Some books just don't do it for you first time. Some never will, and you have to acknowledge that. Others leave spore-like traces that may not germinate for months or even years, but will eventually bring you back to them. Hollow Shores is one such for me. Published in 2017 by indie press Dead Ink, … Continue reading Review: “Hollow Shores” by Gary Budden (2017)

Marguerite Duras

Alma continue their attractive re-packaging of the Calder backlist1 with The Garden Square, one of the lesser-known gems by Marguerite Duras, best known for The Lover (l'Amant) and the screenplay for Alain Resnais's Hiroshima Mon Amour. Although grouped with the 1950s French nouveau roman, her work eschews the formal innovation of Butor or Alain Robbe-Grillet. … Continue reading Marguerite Duras

Review: “Mothlight” by Adam Scovell

I don't know where he finds the time. Adam Scovell is a film-maker, has just completed his PhD, writes articles for the BFI, runs the award-winning Celluloid Wicker Man blog, writes short stories, wrote the definitive book on Folk Horror and has now published his first full-length work of fiction. The short fictions on his … Continue reading Review: “Mothlight” by Adam Scovell

The afterlives of Kit Marlowe

"Marlowe's turn on the world's stage had ended, but Shakespeare's was just beginning. Memories were short and history unkind. It was the way of the world." Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night. Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in 1593, aged 29. A successful playwright, his Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta and Edward II … Continue reading The afterlives of Kit Marlowe

Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man

"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe" wrote Donne. Well, Mike Tomkies tried his damnedest. Tomkies's books sold in their thousands in the 1980s, but in today's Nature Writing Revival he is nowhere to be found. Both my Dad and cousin Colin (with whom I went birdwatching in my teens, chugging around Fife … Continue reading Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man