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Interview: Michel Faber discusses his new book The Book of Strange New Things

9 Oct 2014

Author explains the deeply personal circumstances surrounding the writing of his last novel

When Michel Faber began writing his latest novel, The Book of Strange New Things, he knew it would be his last. What he didn’t know is that it would end up being not just a farewell to his career as a novelist, but also to his other half, Eva Youren (in…

Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You

20 Oct 20142 stars

Satire following the commodification of female pleasure lacks humour and heart of earlier novels

The transgressive fiction author of Fight Club brings us the story of Penny Harrigan, a frumpy law intern seduced by C Linus Maxwell. He’s straight out of the Fifty Shades mould, and Penny is wined, dined and pleasured as the guinea pig to test-run…

Opinion: Green Carnation Prize 2014

10 Oct 2014

Our LGBT editor discusses this year's longlist including Kirsty Logan and Kerry Hudson

The 2014 Green Carnation Prize features a bumper crop of titles. This award for LGBT writers has previously resulted in writers such as Catherine Hall and Andrew Solomon scooping the top prize, and this year the longlist is full of Scottish talent.

Flash Fiction: To Edinburgh by Valerie Gillies

12 Nov 2014

A poem from her forthcoming collection The Cream of the Well

Stone above storms, you rear upon the ridge: we live on your back, its crag-and-tail, spires and tenements stacked on your spine, the castle and the palace linked by one rope. A spatchcock town, the ribcage split open like a skellie, a kipper…

Top five Book Week Scotland 2014 events

12 Nov 2014

Including the Inky Fingers Scavenger Hunt, Tales in The Tower and the Travelling Book Trolley of Joy

The Inky Fingers Scavenger Hunt Teams of four can take up the challenge of hunting down objects related to literary Edinburgh. A prize-giving will be held on Sun 30 Nov in The Forest Café with writers and live music. Various venues, Edinburgh, Mon…

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Amanda Palmer – The Art of Asking

11 Nov 20144 stars

A brilliantly frank portrayal of the life and art of the self-proclaimed rockstar

There are many things that Amanda Palmer is not afraid to ask for. Wedding gowns, advice on angry red thigh spots and pianos are all just a tweet away for the self-identified rock star; but when she asked for money to help fund her new record, she…

Book Week Scotland 2014

10 Nov 2014

Vote online for the nation's best-loved characters in this test of (Scottish literature) character

As part of Book Week Scotland, a countrywide celebration of reading with events and free books galore, Scottish Book Trust is out to find the nation’s best-loved character from a Scottish book. Head online to choose from the panel’s picks, a satisfying…

Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie & Tiernen Trevallion – Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter

10 Nov 20144 stars

Black humour, smart character work and inventive violence ensure superb graphic novel

A fictional account of Robert Burns’ descent into mortal combat with the supernatural which begins with him being beaten to a drunk and trouserless pulp by a man whose daughter he’s deflowered probably won’t find itself on the national curriculum any…

Philip Kerr – January Window

10 Nov 20142 stars

Murkiest aspects of Premier League football explored in narrative testing bounds of believeability

Edinburgh born-and-raised crime author Philip Kerr has certainly cottoned on to a worthy and unexplored setting for the genre, amidst the backdrop of English Premier League football. A self-confessed Arsenal fan, he’s taken the murkiest aspects of the…

Amy Mason – The Other Ida

7 Nov 20144 stars

Her mother's funeral is the tipping point for Ida Irons. Fast approaching 30, reckless with alcohol and decisions, she has spent her life living in the shadow of her mother – the secretive writer Bridie Adair – and an infamous play which she was named…

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William Gibson – The Peripheral

7 Nov 20143 stars

'New novel, as impressive, ambitious and layered as it is, might leave you feeling a little lukewarm

Given how swiftly the world and its technological tools keep changing, it might seem foolhardy to attempt any kind of speculative fiction. But if anyone is going to make a decent fist of this with a crystal ball, it was always going to be the author of…

Interview: Alan Cumming discusses his new book Not My Father's Son

7 Nov 2014

'I think this is a certain example of truth being stranger than fiction'

‘I think it’s a sad, sad thing that we tend to remember bad things more clearly than we do good things. But actually that’s quite helpful in this case,’ laughs Alan Cumming. The actor and entertainer has just released his new book, Not My Father’s Son…

Favel Parrett – When The Night Comes

6 Nov 20144 stars

Beautifully poignant split narrative following a family's tie to the sea

The split narrative of Favel Parrett's second novel follows the stories of Bo, a chef on board the polar vessel Nella Dan, and Isla, the daughter of the woman with whom he stays in Hobart when the ship docks. Through this simple relationship she…

Flash Fiction: The Trace by Rebecca Monks

23 Oct 2014

A short story from the Edinburgh-based writer

Her pencil snapped under the pressure. The clean lines she had carefully mapped across the page were now coated in the dust which spilled across the portrait, blurring her likeness. She cursed, startling her carer. 'Come on Lizzy, there's no need for…

Kate Tempest kicks off 'Season 3' at Rally & Broad

23 Oct 2014

Youngest ever winner of Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry set for Edinburgh performance

Kate Tempest, the youngest person ever to win the Ted Hughes Award for innovation in poetry, makes an exclusive appearance at Rally & Broad this month to launch her new collection. Performance poets Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum launched Rally and…

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Preview: David Shrigley – Weak Messages Create Bad Situations

23 Oct 2014

Glasgow-based artist and Turner Prize nominee releases latest book

He’s already released over 20 books but with over 400 new works crammed into its monochrome pages, this heavy tome is David Shrigley’s biggest yet. The Glasgow-based artist and 2013 Turner Prize nominee is one of Scotland’s most celebrated contemporary…

The best new book releases and literary events – Oct / Nov 2014

22 Oct 2014

Including the Edinburgh International Radical Book Fair, James Ellroy and Yotam Ottolenghi

Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair Guardian columnist and author of Chavs, Owen Jones heads up the exciting lineup at this alternative book festival. Expect plenty of post-referendum discussion. Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, Wed…

Jesse Fink – The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC

21 Oct 20144 stars

'One of the few genuinely good books about a hard rock band'

From 1974 to 1980, AC/DC were sly, funny and feral. But when frontman and self-described author of 'toilet poetry' Bon Scott died, and was replaced by the diligent but charisma-impaired Brian Johnson, the band began the slow process of rigidification…

Highlights of the Dundee Literary Festival 2014

20 Oct 2014

Confirmed authors include Jodi Picoult, Jung Chang, James Naughtie, Kevin Barry and Will Simpson

‘An annual celebration of books in Scotland's sunniest city,’ is how programme manager Peggy Hughes describes Dundee Literary Festival. Now into its eighth year, it was originally established by Anna Day and Professor Kirsty Gunn as a June-set event in…

Dawood Ali McCallum – The Final Charge

13 Oct 20143 stars

Engaging fourth novel from human rights expert set in 1950s Kenya

In his fourth novel, human rights expert Dawood Ali McCallum has turned his attention to Kenya, where British doctor Tom Miles is arrested for a war crime alleged to have been committed in 1954 during Kenya’s battle for independence. Centred around…

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Tim Minchin – Storm

13 Oct 20142 stars

Comic book based beat-poem drips with pointlessness and proves inconsequential

Is there anything Tim Minchin refuses to have a stab at? Already an award-winning musical comedian (he took the Best Newcomer prize at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe), acclaimed composer of musicals (for West End powerhouse Matilda), and hairy actor (taking…

Top 5 new book releases this autumn

9 Oct 2014

Including David Nicholls, Ian McEwan, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Lena Dunham

David Nicholls – Us (Hodder & Stoughton) Flushed by the success of the intensely loveable *3One Day*2 and creditably not put off by the poorness of the film version which followed, David Nicholls here swaps youthful romance for lived-in, mature love…

Kevin Bridges – We Need to Talk About . . . Kevin Bridges

9 Oct 20143 stars

Autobiographical self-awareness and emotional honesty from Glaswegian stand-up

While it's virtually taken for granted that an arena comic will pen an autobiography sooner rather than later, Kevin Bridges appreciates that he's ridiculously young to be reminiscing about his life. Now 27, more than a third of this book passes with…

Marilynne Robinson – Lila

8 Oct 20144 stars

Third novel set in Gilead is moving exploration of existence, love and inevitability of loneliness

Lila is the third of Marilynne Robinson’s novels to be set in the fictional Iowa town of Gilead and tells the story of the ageing Reverend John Ames and his much younger wife. Readers first met this pair in Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel…

Book Week Scotland 2014 programme to include hundreds of free author events

8 Oct 2014

Other highlights include artwork displays in libraries and free books for all ages between Nov 24–30

Free books for adults and kids alike, artworks in libraries, and hundreds of free author events across the nation are just some of the highlights of the third Book Week Scotland. It takes place from 24 to 30 November, and its programme has just been…