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Paul Muldoon, Carol Ann Duffy and John Burnside announced for StAnza 2014

3 Oct 2013

Sujata Bhatt, David Constantine, Tishani Doshi, Brian Turner and Menna Elfyn also to appear

StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival, has revealed the names of some of the poets who will be appearing at the festival from Wed 5–Sun 9 Mar 2014, including Paul Muldoon, Carol Ann Duffy and John Burnside. The full program, which will not be…

Patrick McCabe - Hello and Goodbye

20 Sep 20134 stars

A twin set of Hallowe'en stories that terrify the reader using subtle and intelligent methods

Propelled into the literary limelight by his violent 1992 novel The Butcher Boy, Patrick McCabe returns with a duo of Halloween stories, Hello and Goodbye. 'Hello Mr Bones' tells the tale of two lovers, feminist Chris Taylor and Irish teacher Valentine…

Peter May and David Wilson - Hebrides

20 Sep 20134 stars

May's text takes second place to Wilson's stunning photography of the Scottish islands

It's understandable that Scottish city-dwellers, in their landscape of concrete and streetlights, can forget that they're living in a breathtakingly beautiful country. Luckily, David Wilson's photographs are here to remind us. With images of moody…

Bradley L Garret - Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City

17 Oct 20134 stars

A heady, inspirational rush through the 'urban explorer' movement

The cover of Explore Everything depicts author Bradley Garrett as a hooded figure, stood atop the Forth Rail Bridge at night, silhouetted by glow of South Queensferry. The book is underpinned by a restless curiosity to find deeper ways to understand and…

Flash Fiction: A Tale O’Truth by Zoë Strachan

17 Oct 2013

The newest instalment in our series of ultra-short stories

The wind picked up as Tam wended away from the Howff. Stoating from lamp-post to wall, and realising he was singing out loud, he took the longer, more sobering, route through the park. The moonlight on the shadowy trees almost brought on a poetic…

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James Essinger - A Female Genius: How Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s Daughter, Started The Computer Age

17 Oct 20133 stars

A useful if slightly stiff account of the Victorian Lovelace's short career

In this slender biography about mathematical prodigy Ada Lovelace, James Essinger argues she was the only person to realise the true potential of the first calculating machine, which could have ushered in the computer age in the 1840s. Famous from…

Mira Grant - Parasite

17 Oct 20133 stars

The first part in the proposed Parasitology trilogy is an above-average biological thriller

For gruesome scares you can't go wrong with parasites, and Grant puts them to effective use in the first of her planned series of Parasitology thrillers. Drawing on fears of increasingly drug-resistant viruses and our unhealthy obsession with the War on…

Scotland's spoken word scene in rude health

14 Oct 2013

Rally & Broad's Rachel McCrum has a look at the country's thriving spoken word scene

This August, for the second year running, the official Fringe programme included a section specifically for spoken word. The 67 shows included are certainly a little footloose with their definition of spoken word: spot on the mark with original shows…

Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch

14 Oct 20135 stars

The author of The Secret History and The Little Friend returns with a work of compelling beauty

The literary world has waited 11 expectant years for Donna Tartt’s third novel, after The Little Friend followed up her best-selling, award-winning 1992 debut, The Secret History. In The Goldfinch, Tartt has delivered a character-driven masterpiece…

Colette Victor, Jeff Hayden and Nicola White in the running for Dundee International Book Prize 2013

14 Oct 2013

We talk to all three authors ahead of the £10000 prize announcement

With such an eclectic shortlist for this year’s Dundee International Book Prize, it seems the judges (including AL Kennedy, Lorraine Kelly and Brian Cox) have a tough decision ahead. Meanwhile, finalists Colette Victor, Jeff Hayden and Nicola White all…

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Cecily Gayford (ed) - Tales from the Dead of Night

14 Oct 20133 stars

A familiar, well-selected collection of ghost stories from the likes of MR James and Ruth Rendell

With Halloween approaching, it's the perfect time to curl up with a good old-fashioned ghost story: and they don't get better or more old-fashioned than these. Classic tales from MR James, Edith Wharton and Rudyard Kipling mix with more modern pieces…

Oscar Zarate - The Park

14 Oct 20134 stars

Graphic novel combining dramatic artwork, an engrossing story and a central issue worth debating

Laurel and Hardy: just a bit of old-fashioned fun, right? In The Park, Oscar Zarate contrasts the suppressed violence of slapstick with an aggressive dog incident to explore ideas of blame, rebellion and social responsibility. When newspaper…

Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Anthology (Ed. Charles Ubaghs)

11 Oct 20135 stars

Essential anthology of passionate opinion and off-the-beaten-track music journalism

The Quietus recently turned five, and anyone with an interest in continuing to treat music as a subject worthy of healthy, (mostly) grown-up discussion knows why that’s a good thing. With a printed music press kept alive by ever-narrower commercial…

William Boyd - Solo

8 Oct 20133 stars

Boyd's candid depiction of espionage comes very much at 007’s expense

The beauty of Ian Fleming’s 007 series was the class of his writing, a certain polish that came from a life not far removed from Bond’s. However, after Fleming's premature death in 1964, and following the success of the Bond film franchise beginning…

Sir Roger Moore embarks on UK Q&A tour

8 Oct 2013

An evening with Sir Roger Moore covers actor's roles in The Saint, James Bond and beyond

Anyone who’s seen debonair 85-year-old Sir Roger Moore on television recently knows he’s still as sharp as Jaws’ creepy silver teeth and possessed of more anecdotes than he’d need to talk his way out of a crocodile farm. Expect to hear about his days as…

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Dave Eggers – The Circle

7 Oct 20134 stars

An ambitious and enjoyable critique of social networks - Nineteen Eighty-Four for the Facebook age

In the slow-moving world of books and publishing, Dave Eggers has achieved something rare with his hugely enjoyable and unsettling new novel: immediacy. From its announcement out of the blue a few months ago to its simultaneous worldwide publication…

Ewan Gault - The Most Distant Way

7 Oct 20133 stars

An affecting story that captures the human face of a tragic period in Kenya's recent history

Amid escalating tensions in Kenya as the 2007 election approaches, two young runners are coming to the end of a gruelling training period in the Rift Valley. Kirsten and Mike are both talented and hotly-tipped for Team GB in the next Olympics, but while…

Joanna Trollope - Sense and Sensibility

7 Oct 20134 stars

The first Austen Project novel brings the Dashwood girls comfortably into the 21st century

Pairing classic and contemporary, the first instalment of the Austen Project sees Joanna Trollope bring the Dashwood girls into the 21st century, guitar playing and Facebook stalking to boot. Staying true to the classic plot, Trollope mixes her…

Peggy Hughes remembers Seamus Heaney 1939–2013

25 Sep 2013

Programme Director at Dundee Literary Festival on the legacy of the Nobel Laureate

What to say at the passing of Seamus Heaney, Nobel Laureate, luminary and seer, a figure dear to the imaginations and hearts of poetry lovers around the globe. I could consider his poetry, but there’s not enough room. A few favourites, even? Ditto…

Miaoux Miaoux, Abandoman and Howard Marks among highlights at The Pleasance Sessions

23 Sep 2013

The gig series also plays host to Conquering Animal Sound, Three Blind Wolves and Chris Ramsey

Probably best known as a mobbed venue for August Fringe shows, The Pleasance is often overlooked during the other 11 months of the year. Now, the Edinburgh University Student Union plans to raise its status as one of the best entertainment venues in the…

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Interview: Jeff VanderMeer, author of Wonderbook

20 Sep 2013

The American writer is looking to inspire others with his 'illustrated guide to imaginative fiction'

You describe Wonderbook as 'an illustrated guide to creating imaginative fiction'. How would you define 'imaginative fiction'? I think using terms like ‘realistic’ or ‘fantastical’ fiction sets up a kind of false opposition. You can find flights of…

Flash Fiction: Result, by William Letford

20 Sep 2013

The newest instalment in our series of ultra-short stories

The voice of a thousand cigarettes crackles over the intercom. ‘Speak,’ it says, and something can be inferred from that one word. Normal people say, ‘Hello’, but in my Aunty Mary’s psyche, that relinquishes control. ‘Speak’ is a command. If I don’t…

Douglas Coupland - Worst. Person. Ever.

20 Sep 20133 stars

The Generation X author lets out his filthy side to hilarious effect

Since his hugely influential 1991 debut Generation X, Canadian author Douglas Coupland has proven himself an expert at appraising the life and culture of the affluent, technology-infused West with scathing humour and subtle compassion. For his 13th…

Alison MacLeod - Unexploded

20 Sep 20131 star

WWII love story suffers from unimaginative narrative, heavy-handed themes, bad prose and flat chara

With its cover imitating the design for Ian McEwan’s bestseller Atonement, there’s clearly a hope that Unexploded can capitalise on that success. However, with its unimaginative narrative, heavy-handed themes, bad prose, and flat characters, it‘s…

Carl MacDougall and Zoe Strachan (eds) - New Writing Scotland 31: Black Middens

20 Sep 20133 stars

A diverse collection of writing suggesting there is more to Scottish writing than Scottish identity

As ever, the latest edition of New Writing Scotland presents a diverse collection of writing produced in and about Scotland. Part of the joy with this series is that entries are anonymous, guaranteeing a fighting chance for all writers, and giving…