Birlinn Books – Notes from the Basement

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021
A Difference of Opinion, the autobiography of Jim Sillars, was serialised in the Times and Sunday Times over the weekend, and near blanket coverage followed in Scotland’s newspapers. | [Times]

If you somehow missed all that, you can watch Jim talk in-depth about his extraordinary life in and out of politics with Bernard Ponsonby this evening for STV’s Scotland Tonight.

The EdBookFest has been a treat, with so many authors delivering a stellar set of events. They can all be viewed on the BookFest’s online catch-up streams. Read the report on Alexander McCall Smith’s event in this news story.

There’s just one more show on our roster still to go up: poet Michael Pedersen comperes Good Grief! a line-up of poets and musicians reflecting on love and loss on Sunday 29th August. The in-person event is currently sold out, but keep an eye out for returns, or join online.

Our poem of the week comes from Michael’s 2017 collection, Oyster, which was illustrated by musician Scott Hutchinson, who died in 2018. Michael calls Oyster ‘a muckle monument to a friendship that flew’ and here is a poem that captures the essence of loss: ‘When Carla Moved Out’. 

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is unveiled in its stunning new home in Galashiels this week, opening on Thursday 26th August. Read more and see our array of books about this magnificent piece of art.

Meanwhile, another community stitching project is underway: the Coat of Hopes, made of embroidered patches detailing hopes, griefs and prayers for the environment, will be worn by volunteer pilgrims walking the length of Britain to Glasgow for COP26. See how you can get involved here.

The Herald said that new Rebecca Connolly mystery A Rattle of Bones was ‘another win for Douglas Skelton’ and that young investigative reporter Rebecca is a ‘compelling character [who] remains determined and idealistic even as menacing storm clouds gather round her’.

Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival just announced their stellar programme: Denise Mina will be talking about Rizzio and Douglas Skelton will be chairing the wonderfully named panel, ‘Murder polis’. | [BloodyScotland]

Paul Murton, presenter of the Grand Tours of Scotland television series, shared some personal stories of his young days in the Highlands with the Sunday Post. Click for both the words and the pics! | [Sunday Post]

On the silver screen, the Scotsman said that new documentary film The Prince of Muck saw Lawrence McEwen emerge as an ‘unlikely film star’. Read more about the film here and buy the book about Lawrence’s life on the tiny Isle of Muck. | [Variety]

As we move into Late Summer, the hedgerows are brimming with brambles. Our recipe of the week can be nothing but Sue Lawrence’s Oaty Bramble Squares from Scottish Baking.

Grab your Tupperware and get picking!
Team Birlinn