Birlinn Books – Notes from the Basement

Birlinn Books – Notes from the Basement

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Poetry on prescription. Every nurse and midwife graduating in Scotland over the next three years will receive a book of poems, To Mind Your Life. The Herald considers the power of poetry to comfort and support in their article. | [Herald]

Raise a glass and celebrate the water of life! We were delighted to learn that our very own Charles MacLean, author of Whiskypedia: The Ultimate Guide to Scotch Whisky, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Scotch whisky, to UK exports, and to charity. Charlie was elected a Keeper of the Quaich in 1992 and Master of the Quaich, the industry’s highest accolade in October 2009. All on the Birlinn team send their hearty congrats.

The St Magnus International Festival, Orkney kicks off this Friday with an impressive programme of in-person and streamed events (to watch from afar). Chill at home with their films celebrating the 100th birthday of George Mackay Brown.

And for the next three weeks, the Scotsman will run double-page features on a Saturday, each featuring an extract from the introduction to one of three George Mackay Brown books which we publish this month – Carve the Runes introduced by Kathleen Jamie, Simple Fire, introduced by Malachy Tallack, and a new edition of An Orkney Tapestry, edited by Linden Bicket and Kirsteen McCue – available for the first time in over 40 years.

Then enjoy our Poem of the Week, ‘The Poet’ by George Mackay Brown, which is included in our new volume of selected poems, Carve the Runes. 

‘Another cracking story from Denzil Meyrick. They just get better and better. This one had more twists and turns than the road to Applecross.’  Our best-selling book of the week is Denzil Meyrick’s For Any Other Truth. Readers are loving it! Many are leaving their mark on Amazon with their own views on the book – read some here.

Whet your appetite with an excerpt from the first chapter of For Any Other Truth, available on our website.

Have you read it yet? Everyone is talking about it…
Merryn Glover’s Of Stone and Sky is Book of the Week with the Dundee Courier. ‘The lyrical, descriptive writing style pairs perfectly with the sweeping landscape… Of Stone and Sky is brimming with life, love and just enough Scottish stuff: dialect, tradition, song and prayer’. 

‘A tale of a place and a family, fresh and conversational in its tone – I felt I got to know the author through his words and I thought I’d like him if I met him face to face’. Best-selling author, blogger and environmental campaigner Mark Avery chose A Sky Full of Kites by Tom Bowser for his much-lauded Sunday book review slot on June 6th. | [Mark Avery]

Published next month but already attracting attention, Allan Massie reviewed The Night Before Morning, Alistair Moffat’s debut novel this week in the Scotsman – yes, this mighty- fine historian, festival director and broadcaster has turned his hand to fiction. Massie said, ‘he might modestly call it “a shocker”, John Buchan’s term for his adventure novels. Well it’s a very good shocker… It presumes a Nazi victory and a British surrender at the end of the Second World War… a fine galloping read… a fine act of homage to Buchan.’ | [The Scotsman]

The much loved author and illustrator, Mairi Hedderwick, set out on a journey of self discovery some 30 years ago and shared her diaries and sketches with the world in the form of the perennially popular, An Eye on the Hebrides. Waitrose Weekend magazine marked the return of the book – in a glorious new edition – with a conversation with Mairi. | [Waitrose Weekend]

Our Recipe of the Week is the Super Salad from The Scottish Vegan Cookbook by Jackie Jones, a colourful and tasty dish that can be enjoyed as a light lunch or with a generous serving of granary bread for a hearty dinner.

Slàinte mhath,

Team Birlinn