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Flash Fiction - Ida Keeps Falling by Jenni Fagan

17 Apr 2013

Latest in The List's series of ultra-short stories

She is to be awake throughout the entire procedure. They'll slice the top of her head open, saw through the bone (make it like an attic hatch — so they can peer in) and she was told to bring a friend. - It's important you chat to someone through the…

Top 5: Lesbian fiction

17 Apr 2013

For some rewarding lady-love books, try these lesbian classics

In Suzanne Rindell's novel The Other Typist, old-fashioned Rose falls into a dangerous obsession with the glamorous Odalie. For some happier lady-love endings, try these lesbian classics: Valencia - Michelle Tea A true(ish) account of a year spent…

Popshot: an illustrated magazine of new writing

17 Apr 20134 stars

Issue #9 contains pieces by Michael Hitchins and Fabian Acker

With crisp presentation, simple text layouts, full-page illustrations and plenty of white space, PIssue #9 contains pieces by Michael Hitchins and Fabian Ackeropshot – an illustrated magazine of new writing - makes simplicity a virtue, letting the…

World Book Night 2013 offers chance to provide free books to local communities

17 Apr 2013

Treasure Island, Red Dust Road and No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency among 2013 books

Ever tried to give away something for free? It's harder than you'd think – but that's the task taken on by 20,000 book-loving volunteers. Each of them will give away copies of their favourite title to people who don't usually read or don't have regular…

Audrey Niffenegger - Raven Girl

17 Apr 20134 stars

Good narrative and stunning illustrations from author of The Time Traveller’s Wife

(Abrams ComicArts) Despite the dark themes in her bestseller The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger may not be readily associated with creepy fairytales and body horror. However, the off-kilter beauty (reminiscent of Beardsley and Schiele) of her…

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Andrew Philip - The North End of the Possible

17 Apr 20134 stars

Collection of poems of love, place and politics highlights Philip’s considerable formal talents

Salt cements its reputation for fresh contemporary poetry with this much-anticipated second full collection from acclaimed Scottish poet Andrew Philip. Humour and invention are mainstays of Philip’s work, and in both English and Scots, his wit leads us…

Matt Haig - The Humans

17 Apr 20134 stars

Astute, drolly hilarious and beautiful insight into what it is to be human

As Matt Haig acknowledges at the end of this marvellously humane and very funny fifth novel, both The Humans and his writing career originated in a breakdown that became a breakthrough. Recovering from severe panic attacks by reading and crafting…

Mandy Haggith - Bear Witness

17 Apr 20133 stars

Novel of many elements explores reintroduction of bears

(Saraband) In this all-too-human portrayal of the fight for the wild, we follow Callis MacArthur, a bear-loving ecologist, through the aftermath of the shooting of the last wild Norwegian cub. Angered by this violence, Callis endangers both her career…

Pilgrim Soul by Gordon Ferris - exclusive extract

10 Apr 2013

First chapter of latest crime novel by Scotland’s best-selling author

To mark the publication of Pilgrim Soul by Scotland’s bestselling author, Gordon Ferris, we're running an extract here, exclusively to The List. It's 1947 and the worst winter in memory: Glasgow is buried in snow, killers stalk the streets and Douglas…

Pippa Goldschmidt -The Falling Sky

10 Apr 20133 stars

Cosmology-themed first novel shows potential

(Freight Books) Pippa Goldschmidt’s readable first novel is a character study of astronomer Jeanette who makes a discovery about the universe which could challenge the Big Bang theory. The discovery threatens to disrupt Jeanette’s life when bereavement…

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Winners of Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2012 announced

28 Mar 2013

John Fardell, Jonathan Meres and Barry Hutchison win competition voted for by children

The winners of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards were announced at a ceremony in Dundee’s Caird Hall on Thursday 7 March. 31,000 children voted for their favourite books across three age categories, choosing titles by John Fardell, Jonathan Meres and…

Richard T Kelly - The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (review)

26 Mar 20134 stars

Gothic thriller makes for a pleasant departure for the Crusaders author

(Faber) Take three respected Scottish doctors, a paediatric surgeon, psychiatrist and cosmetic surgeon, now all living comfortably in suburban London. Make the hedonist cosmetic surgeon suddenly disappear and you have the beginnings of a very…

Reel Iraq festival explores contribution of culture and creativity to Iraqi life

22 Mar 2013

Talks, film and music in programme including Hassan Blasim, Leila Albayaty and Lord Erregal

It’s ten years this month since American missiles first found their range on Baghdad amid the shock and awe campaign that kicked off the second Iraq war, and as a culture we – Iraqis and Westerners – are still trying to reconcile, piece together what…

Top 5 circus books, inspired by Rosie Garland's The Palace of Curiosities

22 Mar 2013

Geek Love, Death-Defying Acts and Something Wicked This Way Comes among our favourite big top tales

Rosie Garland’s debut The Palace of Curiosities is a luminous, gritty novel set in a Victorian circus. Try our favourite circus books to bring some glitter and greasepaint into your life. Geek Love – Katherine Dunn Art and Lily Binewski create their…

2013 Aye Write! literary festival includes Darcey Bussell, Henry McLeish and Will Gompertz

22 Mar 2013

Glasgow literary festival also features Alasdair Gray, Jackie Kay and David Greig

What do ballet and football have in common? How about art and food? The varied line-up at this year’s Aye Write! festival compares and contrasts (and, by the sounds of things, works up a real appetite) with events starring the likes of Darcey Bussell…

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Flash Fiction: Heft, by Jane Flett

22 Mar 2013

The newest instalment in our series of ultra-short stories

The only way you’re going to get this is to clamber in and heft it out, this thing, this beast, almost human in weight. Note the squish of sundried tomato between your teeth, throw a sweater across the room, tell your friend that’s the song you love and…

Patrick Ness - The Crane Wife

22 Mar 20134 stars

Haunted novel about stories and the way they change from teller to teller

Known best for his young adult fiction, there’s little surprise that Patrick Ness’ latest book for ‘grown-ups’ leans heavily towards the magical. If you’re familiar with the original Japanese fable, then you’ll immediately recognise the opening scene of…

Robert Swartwood - Real Illusions

22 Mar 20133 stars

First story collection of works of unreal fiction

Robert Swartwood’s first story collection is a world of small, ordinary miracles: a father escapes from the car wreck that kills his wife, but discovers that he is now immune to physical harm; two boys on the run are saved by a vengeful ghost; a…

Rodge Glass - LoveSexTravelMusik

22 Mar 20135 stars

Compelling collection of short stories breathes new life into cities

Rodge Glass’ eagerly awaited new book LoveSexTravelMusik is potentially one of the most perceptive pieces of modern writing to date. With bright, bold prose, Glass breathes new life into the exotic cities that have been reduced to a few empty paragraphs…

Podcast review: For Books’ Sake #1

22 Mar 20133 stars

The first episode of the feminist books podcast makes up for lack of polish with passion and pride

As a List reader, it’s a fair bet that sex and books both rank high on your list of interests – so the sex-and-love theme of the first For Books’ Sake podcast should be just your cuppa. It begins with exciting news about Margaret Atwood and Naomi…

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Karen Russell - Vampires in the Lemon Grove

22 Mar 20134 stars

Author's second collection is unpredictable, tense and compulsive

In a world saturated with vampire lore, you could be forgiven for thinking there was nothing left to say on the subject. So it’s all the more impressive that the title story of Karen Russell’s second collection feels completely fresh: a melancholy…

Tendai Huchu - The Hairdresser of Harare

22 Mar 20133 stars

Intriguing novel explores realities of contemporary Zimbabwe

Vimbai and Dumisani are two ambitious hairdressers hiding secrets and jealousy in this intriguing novel. Its language is simple, even utilitarian: the descriptions verge on cliché and major events in the characters’ lives are glossed over quickly and…

2013 StAnza lecture delivered by National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke

14 Mar 2013

Poet cites elegiac poem Y Gododdin as shared cultural reference point of Welsh and Scots

The StAnza lecture given by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales started by referring back to a Britain when Brythonic was spoken throughout the land extending from Wales into the Midlands and through Cumbria as far north as Fife. This immediately…

Gillian Clarke, Liz Lochhead and Mark Doty among Stanza 2013 highlights

12 Mar 2013

St Andrews poetry festival focusses on poetic forms and shared legacy of ancient Britons

The five days of StAnza has delivered its stimulating mix of poetry, masterclasses, workshops and slam with sorties into art, music, and sculpture along the way. Despite, the sudden closure of the Byre theatre which had become the central hub of the…

StAnza's Poetry Breakfasts streaming online

8 Mar 2013

Those unable to make it to the St Andrews-based poetry festival can watch online

The StAnza Poetry Festival 2013 is currently in full swing, with wordsmiths Robin Roberston, John Hegley and Gillian Clarke joining Scotland's Poet Laureate Liz Lochhead in St Andrews. This weekend the festival, which runs until Sun 10 Mar, will be…