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Celebrate Scotland's national Bard this Burns Night

7 Jan 2013

Events around the country pay tribute to one of the nation's finest wordsmiths

It’s that time of year again – dig out your tartan troos and practise your Toast to the Lassies: it’s Burns Night. On 25 January each year, Scots and Scots at heart around the world raise a glass to the memory of our national Bard, Robert Burns, as…

Gemma Elwin Harris (ed) - Big Questions from Little People

19 Dec 20124 stars

A fun, factual compilation where kids' questions are answered by experts such as David Attenborough

As anyone who has ever read an academic textbook knows, finding the simplest, most straightforward explanation isn’t always at the top of the writer’s agenda. Yet who amongst us doesn’t appreciate an easily digestible answer to a complicated…

First Writes: Melissa Harrison

13 Dec 2012

The debut author tells us about Clay, a portrait of four people trying to cope with city life

Can you give us five words to describe Clay? An intensely lyrical urban pastoral. Name one author who should be more famous than they are now? JA Baker, who wrote The Peregrine. His was an utterly unique voice. What was the first book you…

Graham Stewart - Bang!

13 Dec 20123 stars

A history of the UK in the 1980s that stands too detached and forgets Thatcher's more dubious acts

The 1980s was not just the decade that taste forgot (shoulder pads, yuppie braces, Level 42), it was a time when Britain was split in two by culture, ideology, money and politics. At the very heart of all this was Margaret Thatcher, the Tory leader…

Also published: self-improvement books

13 Dec 2012

Gok Wan, Paul McKenna and more release self-improvement books for the new year

It’s a time of year we both love and dread. Naturally, it’s only polite to stuff as much food and drink into your system as humanly possible (and beyond) but there will be an inevitable payback somewhere down the line. Little wonder that publishers pick…

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Mark Millar & Lenil Yu - Supercrooks: The Heist

13 Dec 20123 stars

An amalgam of tried and tested formulas heightened by Millar's thrilling enthusiasm

You can see the pitch meeting now: ‘It’s Ocean’s 11 but with superpowers!’ And like so many of Mark Millar’s recent creator-owned series, it would make an absolutely stonking blockbuster. Supercrooks: The Heist is essentially a big heist caper as a gang…

David Aaronovitch to tackle conspiracy theories at December's Edinburgh Skeptics session

13 Dec 2012

The journalist is the author of Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History

We all love a juicy conspiracy theory. There have been many books, DVDs, TV programmes, films and websites dedicated to poring over the minutest technical details in order to try and debunk the official story on everything from 9/11 to 7/7, Wacko Jacko…

Melvin Burgess - Hunger

13 Dec 20124 stars

Hammer's first book release fits well with the brand's cheesy horror image

Cult horror brand Hammer continues its multi-media reboot with this grizzly, fast-paced novella from Melvin Burgess, best-known for 1996’s Junk. First-year student Beth wakes up one morning covered in bruises and dirt, with no memory of the night…

George Saunders - Tenth of December

13 Dec 20123 stars

A rather insubstantial short story collection that will no doubt have cult appeal

It might seem like damning with faint praise, but George Saunders is an interesting writer. His tough tales are never going to be everyone’s litbag (even those disposed to his idiosyncratic style of writing) but you can almost smell his cult…

Owen Martell - Intermission

13 Dec 20123 stars

A real life inspired jazz novel that's cold and bleak but written with real soul

Celebrated American jazz pianist Bill Evans was haunted by tragedy. Raised by an abusive father, he saw his bassist Scott LaFaro die in a car accident and witnessed the suicides of both his girlfriend and brother before he finally succumbed to decades…

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Nicholas Royle - First Novel

13 Dec 20123 stars

A lithe, quirky and occasionally inspired story of academia, dogging and possible murder

‘What’s the difference between a publisher and a terrorist? You can negotiate with terrorists.’ So goes the mantra of many a long out-of-print novelist. Education has been the savour of one-time author Paul Kinder. His one forgotten book lies behind him…

Amazon, Penguin, Random House and the state of publishing

12 Dec 2012

Author Sophie Cooke explains why Amazon is still a bigger worry than the Random House/Penguin merger

Amazon has always presented itself as a consumer champion, decrying the greed of publishers who insist on maintaining high prices for their authors’ e-books. Amazon is all about the customer. Good service, free delivery, low prices and plenty of…

The best books of 2012

12 Dec 2012

Featuring Richard Milward, Shalom Auslander, Jo Nesbo, Zadie Smith and Kevin Powers

1 Kimberly’s Capital Punishment While Apples and Ten Storey Love Song hinted at a very special talent burning away inside Middlesbrough writer Richard Milward, even his most ardent fan would have been hard pushed to imagine the glories he would give…

Hot 100 2012: 10-2

11 Dec 2012

John Tiffany, Andy Murray and Luke Fowler among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

Hot 100 2012: 29-20

11 Dec 2012

Chvrches, Cora Bissett and Grant Morrison among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

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Hot 100 2012: 39-30

11 Dec 2012

Konx-Om-Pax, Ingleby Gallery and NVA among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

Hot 100 2012: 59-50

11 Dec 2012

Billy Connolly, Optimo and Kevin Bridges among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

Hot 100 2012: 69-60

11 Dec 2012

Rachel Sermanni, Limmy and Peter Capaldi among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

Hot 100 2012: 79-70

11 Dec 2012

Dominic Hill, Ewan Morrison and LuckyMe among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

Hot 100 2012: 89-80

11 Dec 2012

Daniel Sloss, Canongate and Julie Fowlis among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

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Hot 100 2012: 100-90

11 Dec 2012

JK Rowling, Tilda Swinton and Andrew Fairlie among Scotland's hottest cultural contributors in 2012

The Hot 100 is our list of Scotland’s 100 hottest individuals and groups who’ve made a splash this year, from comic book writers to comedians, artists to actors. If they've contributed to Scotland's cultural landscape in 2012, you'll find them here.

The best of Bob Servant

28 Nov 2012

Ahead of new his BBC TV series, we look back on The List Agony Uncle's finest moments

Ladies and Gentlemen of Scotland, I am writing both to say hello and, tragically, to say goodbye. Over the last few years I have improved the miserable lives of so many of you through my much-admired Ask Bob column. Alas, all good things come to an end…

Tips for performing at poetry and spoken word open mic nights

26 Nov 2012

Advice on how to make your poetry reading debut go well

Reading your own poems out loud to a room full of strangers might sound terrifying. Having done it a few times myself, I can confirm that it is. But with the number of poetry open mic nights in Scotland increasing, sometimes eclipsing their musical…

Mysterious paper sculptures to reappear for Book Week Scotland

23 Nov 2012

Anonymous sculptor plans to hide new pieces throughout Scotland

The artist behind the mysterious paper sculptures that appeared throughout Edinburgh in 2011 has announced that five more creations will be found during Book Week Scotland. The anonymous sculptor is planning to hide these new pieces in five secret…

Alan Martin & Mike McMahon - Tank Girl: Carioca

23 Nov 20124 stars

McMahon's art perfectly suits the ongoing tales of the post-apocalyptic riot girl

Since artist Jamie Hewlett handed over stewardship of Tank Girl to co-creator and writer Alan Martin (following Hewlett’s move away from cartooning to pursue his Gorillaz multimedia pop project with Damon Albarn), the anarcho-absurdist comic strip has…