Books, Nicola Meighan

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The Hot 100 2010 - Mark Millar, Kevin Bridges and Alasdair Gray take top 3 spots

16 Dec 2010

Our annual chart of the top creatives in Scotland

The Hot 100 is a list of Scots who’ve made a sizeable creative splash in 2010. It includes musicians, artists, writers, actors, fashion designers, technological innovators, shop owners, festival directors, record label heads and one mad cyclist.

An overview of the 2010 Edinburgh Festivals and their directors

15 Jul 2010

What to expect from Edinburgh in August

Nowhere does a festival quite like Edinburgh, and even with the film folk having long moved out of August, there is more than plenty going on for lovers of art, literature, comedy, theatre, kids entertainment, music, dance and military displays. The…

Tracey Thorn - Bedsit Disco Queen

22 Jan 20135 stars

A wise and humorous pop memoir from the Everything but the Girl singer

This opus from Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn masquerades as a brilliant pop biography, but it’s also a fascinating tale of love, growing up, letting go and finding your way. And it beautifully illustrates how we make sense (and order) of our…

Zadie Smith - NW

22 Aug 20124 stars

Orange Prize-winner's fourth novel breathes and mutates like the city it encapsulates

The fourth novel from Orange Prize-winner Zadie Smith takes its title from a universal urban sign-post, that of the North-West district in a(ny) city. But its geographic, social and cultural landmarks are so embedded in Smith’s hometown of London (the…

Nile Rodgers, the man who brought us disco, to talk at the 2012 Edinburgh Book Festival

9 Aug 2012

How one man helped shape a generation of pop

As the Book Festival programme announces, Nile Rodgers is ‘The Man Who Brought Us Disco’. Or, to be more accurate, he is: The Chic Frontman Who Brought Us Disco; Who Worked with Mick Jagger, Prince and Debbie Harry; Who Produced Madonna, David Bowie and…

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John O'Farrell - The Man Who Forgot His Wife

28 Feb 20123 stars

Mildly diverting rom-com novel from the Spitting Image writer

(Doubleday) What would we make of our partners if our memories were wiped and we spied them anew? This question loiters, doe-eyed, at the heart of John O’Farrell’s retrograde amnesia rom-com, The Man Who Forgot His Wife. It’s a light-hearted…

Stephen King - 11.22.63

15 Nov 20113 stars

The horror writer's time-travelling thriller fails to take full advantage of its premise

(Hodder & Stoughton) There is no doubting Stephen King’s abiding knack for a gripping yarn, but the American author’s latest novel could be doing with a few more thrills. That’s not to say that the plot is lacklustre or lacking in scale, taking a…

Alexander Masters - The Genius in My Basement

24 Aug 20114 stars

Affectionate, dynamic tale of mathematician child genius

(Fourth Estate) Our bookshelves have groaned with populist tomes on maths over the past few years – from the excellent likes of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Music of the Primes to myriad facsimiles – but it is well worth making room for The Genius…

James Yorkston

19 Aug 2011

A droll and heartfelt memoir from the Fife bard

Earlier this year, James Yorkston seduced a full-house in Glasgow, clad with a well-thumbed touring diary. It was not the first time, and it won’t be the last. While the Fife-based singer-songwriter and commended Fence Collective affiliate has long…

Julie Myerson

17 Aug 2011

The author's apocalyptic novel 'Then' delves into the heart of darkness

‘Oh dear, I’m sorry!’ says Julie Myerson. She’s apologising for giving me nightmares with her latest novel, Then. ‘Well, I’m only half-sorry as I suppose I do want to have that effect.’ The London-based writer has never shirked from disconcerting…

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Kristin Hersh set for Edinburgh Festival show

10 Aug 2011

Indie rock goddess brings new memoir, spoken word and live music

Alternative rock idol Kristin Hersh is spoiling us. She’s playing four shows in the Edinburgh festival, although she doesn’t realise it. ‘Am I? I don’t know!’ she laughs. ‘I’ll do whatever you say...’ The List is tempted to exploit this congenial…

Julia Donaldson - Simon Puttock, Vivian French and Guy Bass on the new Children’s Laureate

9 Aug 2011

Author events set for 2011 Edinburgh Book Festival

‘Julia Donaldson is unique in the nicest way,’ says former Book Festival Children’s Writer in Residence Vivian French. ‘She’s passionate about stories, whether in the form of books, songs or plays, and her enthusiasm is infectious.’ French is…

Helen Walsh - Go to Sleep

14 Jun 20113 stars

Melodramatic family drama about the stigma of post-natal depression

(Canongate) Helen Walsh makes compelling reading of a complex issue in her third novel, Go to Sleep, which aims to explore, and explode, the taboos surrounding post-natal depression. Based on her own experience of PND – which is estimated to affect a…

Julie Myerson - Then (review)

17 May 20113 stars

Apocalypse-set novel offers no respite from its bleak subject matter

(Jonathan Cape) The apocalypse is cool right now. It’s everywhere in popular culture – as a theme, as a backdrop and in widespread adjectival form – and it’s all over Julie Myerson’s eighth novel, Then. Set in a desperate, ice-covered wasteland that…

Kevin Brockmeier - The Illumination

4 Mar 20113 stars

Kevin Brockmeier's allegorical tale is an enlightening experience

Shining a light on the wounds we bear as human beings, The Illumination is an intriguing third novel from Little Rock, Arkansas writer Kevin Brockmeier. Shot through with chilling and fantastical nuances, this enlightened rumination by Brockmeier…

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Orange Prize-winning author Linda Grant publishes We Had It So Good - interview

19 Jan 2011

On writing her fifth novel and being part of a spoilt generation

Orange Prize-winning author Linda Grant was glad to see the back of Christmas. ‘I’m delighted to have reached the end of the great annual close-down, when your toothache can’t be mended and your boiler can’t be fixed,’ she reflects from her North London…

Musician James Yorkston publishes tour diaries

14 Jan 2011

Domino Records and Faber publish Scottish singer-songwriter's book It’s Lovely to Be Here

Not content with forging a career as one of Scotland’s best loved singer-songwriters, James Yorkston has just foisted himself upon literature in a most alluring fashion. As befits a troubadour whose talent is rivalled only by his modesty, Yorkston’s…

The best upcoming events in Scotland in 2011

3 Jan 2011

Highlights of the 2011 cultural calandar from Film, Music, Comedy, Theatre and Visual Art

Huge gigs, inspiring theatre productions, comedy legends and two cute little waving bears – just a few of the things coming up in ‘11 that we can barely contain our excitement about

Salvatore Scibona - The End

3 Nov 20104 stars

(Jonathan Cape) Salvatore Scibona is being hailed as a major new voice in American literature. On the heroic evidence of The End, his debut novel, it’s little wonder. Possessed of a dizzying capacity for character description and observation…

David Sedaris - Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary

6 Oct 20103 stars

(Little, Brown) Anthropomorphism and popular culture have long been lusty bedfellows. Our tellies are crammed with salesmen masquerading as CGI meerkats, drumming gorillas, dancing cows and nodding dogs. For London-based writer and playwright David…

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DBC Pierre - Lights out in Wonderland

7 Sep 20103 stars

(Faber) The third novel from Booker-winner DBC Pierre promises vivid, unthinkable decadence, but delivers a self-absorbed quarter-life crisis. Chronicling the alleged end days of suicidal pamphleteer Gabriel Brockwell – wannabe miscreant…

Nick Kent: The rock journo who became the story

17 Aug 2010

Apathy for the Devil will have plenty to talk about at the Book Festival

‘When you get right down to it, the memory is a deceitful organ to have to rely on,’ reflects notorious rock scribe Nick Kent in the opening lines of his memoir, Apathy for the Devil. But even Kent’s near-fatal rock’n’roll lifestyle couldn’t wholly…

John Harris at the Book Festival

12 Aug 2010

Hail Hail Rock'N'Roll: expect full audio-visual support

‘I will talk about rock moustaches, Elvis’ jumpsuits and James Blunt’s lyrics,’ proclaims John Harris, author of Hail Hail Rock’N’Roll, his vintage rock, pop and counter-cultural almanac. ‘The aim is to navigate through 50-odd years of rock history…

Glasgow's Debi Gliori at the Book Festival

6 Aug 2010

Capturing hearts, imaginations and library space

‘You can expect to see a slightly wrinkly writer-illustrator,’ offers children’s favourite Debi Gliori of her Book Festival appearance, ‘who will attempt to regale all present with stories, drawings, anecdotes and chat about books in general, books in…

Philip Pullman - The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ

6 Aug 2010

'The Most Dangerous Author in Britain' comes to the Book Festival

You will know him by the horns, of course, and the casual air of unholy sin. For Philip Pullman is the anti-God and ‘The Most Dangerous Author in Britain’, according to the modern gospel of The Mail on Sunday. To most of us, however, he is the avuncular…