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Patti Smith set for Edinburgh and Glasgow dates in 2013

11 Jul 2013

The punk poet shows no signs of slowing

At 66, Patti Smith is entering the twilight of her career with an energy and passion for the creative process that feels remarkably fresh and vital. Whether as poet, writer, photographer, activist or musician, she continues to produce a body of work…

Glasgow Comic Con 2013 celebrates films, comics and fandom

11 Jul 2013

Convention guests include Alan Davis, Alan Grant, John Higgins, Carlos Ezqurra and Rufus Dayglo

Glasgow is set to be the scene of the battle of the comic conventions. The contenders are the three-year-old Glasgow Comic Con, on this month, (CCA, Sat 13--Sun 14 Jul) and the in-no-way-affiliated inaugural MCM Expo Scotland Comic Con (SECC, Sat 7…

Rawi Hage - Carnival

11 Jul 20134 stars

Violently Chaotic yet warm and funny novel by award winning Lebanese-Canadian author

With his IMPAC Award-winning debut, De Niro’s Game, Rawi Hage was marked as one of Canada’s most exciting new writers. His third novel, Carnival, is just as thrilling. Fly, the narrator, is a bibliophile taxi driver who’s prone to grand delusions. In…

Charlie Human - Apocalypse Now Now

11 Jul 20132 stars

Ingredients for a fun and exciting novel but lacks a strong narrator

It starts so well. The early chapters of Charlie Human's wry fantasy *3Apocalypse Now Now*2 are a riot, as sixteen-year-old narrator Baxter Zevcenko introduces us to his dysfunctional family life and shows off the highly profitable porn distribution…

D.W. Wilson - Ballistics

11 Jul 20133 stars

A confident debut novel about a man on a journey to uncover the truth about his past

In D.W. Wilson's debut novel Ballistics, the Canadian Rockies are on fire, a son searches for his long-lost father, and manly men do manly things. When his grandfather suffers a heart attack, Alan West begins a journey that will uncover the truth about…

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Christopher Brookmyre - Flesh Wounds

11 Jul 20134 stars

Scottish crime fiction author goes darker in latest novel

Jasmine Sharp, the aspiring actress-turned-private investigator who first appeared in Where the Bodies are Buried, returns for a third outing in Chris Brookmyre’s latest delve into the murky world of Glasgow’s criminal underworld. When top gangster…

Juliet Conlin - The Fractured Man

11 Jul 20134 stars

An addictive psychological thriller dipped in a ghostly atsmosphere

Psychoanalyst Elliot Taverley aspires to groundbreaking results in graphology. When a stranger with an unusual condition appears at his office, Elliot believes he will be the catalyst for his breakthrough. However, as Elliot starts treating the…

Harpercollins - The Black Crown Project

11 Jul 20132 stars

Random House publishers' first interactive storytelling project sounds more exciting than it is

Black Crown is free-to-play for anyone who signs up, and as players get deeper into the world of the story there are opportunities to pay to ‘unlock story strands, expedite the narrative, and acquire items and status within the world.’ The model is one…

The International acts appearing at the 2013 Edinburgh Festivals

9 Jul 2013

Just 36 of the countries represented by acts appearing at the world's biggest arts festival

1 Argentina. Rodrigo Abd is a World Press Photo prizewinner (Politics). 2 Australia. David Quirk is a deadpan leftfield comic (Fringe)

The David Bowie connection: shows at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

9 Jul 2013

Musicians, artists, comedians and choreographers with a connection to David Bowie

He may not be here in the flesh at this year’s festival, but there are plenty musicians, artists, comedians and choreographers in town with a connection to the Thin White Duke. Douglas Gordon painted Self Portrait of You + Me (David Bowie)

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Anne-Marie Casey - An Englishwoman in New York

3 Jul 20132 stars

A series of fragmented, fatuous blog posts masquerading as a novel

When Lucy Lovett’s husband loses his city job in that thing called ‘the recession’ and they move to Manhattan, she faces a sequence of challenges: the law of the school gate, fitting in with the other yummy mummies, finding the best coffee in the…

Size is Everything: National Flash Fiction Day - Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Jun 2013

1 Jul 20133 stars

Edinburgh’s spoken word groups unite to spread very short stories

Sat 22 Jun 2013 was National Flash Fiction Day, a celebration of the short-short story. And to mark the occasion, Edinburgh’s main creative writing groups (Blind Poetics, Illicit Ink, Writers' Bloc and Inky Fingers, whose Mairi Campbell-Jack, pictured…

Sarah Moss - Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland

24 Jun 20133 stars

A deeply personal account of an Icelandic experience

The high north of Europe has captured the imagination of travellers, artists and writers for centuries, exuding a magnetic pull towards northerly latitudes of medieval sagas, crystalline summer days of endless light and latterly, societies underpinned…

John Niven - Straight White Male

24 Jun 20134 stars

Triumphantly entertaining assault on the literary world

Having viciously assaulted the music and TV industries in previous novels, Niven turns to his own trade in Straight White Male. A millionaire by the age of 30, celebrated author Kennedy Marr has decamped to LA and spends his time in a drunken…

Iain Banks - Obituary

13 Jun 2013

Monument of Scottish science fiction will be dearly missed

There’s surely no more fitting monument to a writer than the stories they inspire others to tell. As the shockwave of Iain Banks’ death swept through social media and around the world, a host of people—from fellow authors, such as Neil Gaiman and Ian…

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Susan Greenfield - 2121

13 Jun 20132 stars

Renowned science writer publishes first fiction novel on mankind's dependency on technology

In renowned science writer Susan Greenfield’s first foray into fiction, she has created a dystopian world where the technology we rely upon today has left us too dependent on it. Mankind has become divided into the functional NPs (Neo-Puritans) and…

Flash Fiction: Bent by Elizabeth Reeder

12 Jun 2013

An ultra-short story from the Chicago-born, Glasgow-based author of Ramshackle and Fremont

He’d toed the line for years -- he’d drawn it across the same patch of worn carpet, for the same audience of one -- his younger, arrogant, flaunt of a sister -- while their mum was in the kitchen making tea each Sunday. It was a duel of sorts: he drew…

Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane

11 Jun 20134 stars

Multi award-winning author returns with hit that justifies the hype

Readers of The Ocean at the End of the Lane may experience an occasional sense of déjà vu. So many of the story’s key elements are staples of classic children’s fantasy: three mysterious women in a ramshackle farmhouse who may be more than they appear…

How the graphic novel came to be regarded as an artform in its own right

11 Jun 2013

Once the preserve of geeky boys, the graphic novel is finally taking its place beside literature

Are comic books an art form? Well, yes they are, and this fact will be recognised at the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival by the establishment of a major new prize: the 9th Art Award for this year’s Best English Language Graphic Novel.

Celebrate flash fiction in Edinburgh this June

11 Jun 2013

Small But Perfectly Formed is the approach for National Flash Fiction Day

To those with a foot in the literary scene, flash fiction isn’t a new concept. In fact it’s become so entrenched that there’s now even a national day when it might be celebrated and performed. Edinburgh’s plentiful array of literary promoters are coming…

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Top 5 feminist road trip books

10 Jun 2013

Apocalypse Baby, The Borrower, Nellie Bly and Foreign Parts among the best pro-woman travel stories

Apocalypse Baby is the latest novel by Virginie Despentes, subversive writer and filmmaker of Baise-Moi. It focuses on missing teenager, Valentine, and Lucie, the inexperienced private detective hired to find her. When you've finished chasing the pair…

Simone van der Vlugt - Safe as Houses

10 Jun 20132 stars

A well-paced home invasion thriller that ultimately borders on predictable

Functionality of language is key in this tight thriller from best-selling Dutch author Simone van der Vlugt. Mother to five year old Anouk, Lisa finds herself in an unimaginably horrific situation: her isolated country home is infiltrated by a convicted…

Charlotte Grimshaw - Soon

10 Jun 20134 stars

An efficient, coolly poetic tale of Auckland’s glitterati

Treading a fine line between literary and commercial fiction, Charlotte Grimshaw’s Soon is a nuanced, exciting tale of Auckland’s glitterati. Successful obstetrician Simon Lampton holidays with the Prime Minster, David Hallwright. In the melting…

Iain Macwhirter - Road To Referendum

10 Jun 20134 stars

The political commentator's book is a vital contribution to the discussion on Scotland's future

Iain Macwhirter’s Road to Referendum is easily the most accessible piece of writing concerned with the independence debate. Not only one of the shrewdest commentaries on Scottish politics, it is also an important tribute to the country’s…

Pandemonium: The Lowest Heaven

10 Jun 20134 stars

Science fiction anthology published to coincide with ROG's 'Visions of the Universe'

In this visually beautiful anthology, each short story is inspired by a different object in our solar system, from the sun to the moon to Halley's Comet. Speculative fiction fans will be excited just looking at the contents page, with original stories…