moving into the play-publishing game with two elegantly-produced


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volumes: George Rosie’s Carlucco . Q U Eh N and the Queen of Hearts/The . . Blasphemer (Chapman £7.95), both I A RTg plays having been performed by

Edinburgh’s Fifth Estate; and George Gunn’s Songs of the Grey Coast/The Gold oi Kiidonan (Chapman £7.95), first performed north of the Central Belt.

A script yet to be performed is

lie p T isl.\.\‘l’lll \il-‘lt

Mark Fisher points to the

. Shakespeare’s Macbeth Translated beSt SCOttlSh theatre into Scots (Canongate £12.95). Using bOOkS Of the year. his father’s Scots translation of the

New Testament as a linguistic model, R.L.C. Lorimer has returned to the Scottish play and made it truly

I have an interest to declare. As one of Theatre Scotland‘s Editorial Group, I am likely to appear a wee

Boshinl Kempadoo: Netball Team, from the

Women Artists Diary 1993

The year’s Best Art Book award has to go to Little Brown‘s A Guide to Art, edited by Sandro Sprocatti (£14.99). Written by Italian scholars, this compact book covers art history from the 14th century to the present. Each chapter takes a movement Baroque, Surrealism etc highlights the main players and explains the context and significant themes. There are artists’ biographies and charts which list important contemporaneous developments in politics, science and the arts. It is peculiarly satisfying to learn, for example, that Magritte painted Ceci n’estpas unepipe at about the same time as Fleming was discovering penicillin. Best of all, the writers have steered clear of the impenetrable jargon that dogs so much ‘art criticism.‘

The most beautiful book of the year is Graeme Murray‘s Poiesis (Fruitmarket Gallery. £14.50; special exhibition price £12.50). Rumour has it that the high quality of Murray’s books reduces even the printers to tears the binding and reproductions are of a quality hard to find these days. Poiesis explores the concept of a poem as ‘anything supremely harmonious and satisfying‘ through the art and writings of people as diverse as Ian Hamilton Finlay. Aristotle. Tennessee Williams. Dante. Rainer Maria Rilke and Burns.

Duncan Macmillan’s Symbols of Survival -The Art of Will Maclean (Mainstream. £14.99) is the first major assessment of the artist whose work is so influenced by his Highlands inheritance. and particularly the legacy of the Clearances. Clear and concise. Macmillan explores the poetry in Maclean‘s constructions and. by extension. the literature that has inspired him. The forward is written by poet Sorley Maclean.

Two books now for the artist and the aficionado. The first is AN Publication‘s Making Ways: The Visual Artist‘s Guide to Surviving and Thriving (£7.25) with valuable advice on organising exhibitions. selling, handling tax etc. The second is The Women Artist’s Diary (Women‘s Press, £6.99) which does an excellent job of promoting women in a male-dominated art world. This year’s features contemporary

bit biased. So I’ll just give you the

, facts. In a largely unremarkable year , for theatre book publishing, Theatre Scotland (£2.50 per issue) has

published the scripts of one new

Scottish play, one Scots adaptation : and one translation into Scots. The ' availability in print ofTom

McGrath’s adaptation of Tankred Dorst‘s Merlin (Issue One) and of Edwin Morgan's translation of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (Issue Three) has enabled theatre-goers to appreciate more fully the wild eclecticism of the former and the beautiful, earthy and contemporary Scots verse of the

*‘ s 1.11 w :1 Hi '\ll’“\

George Basie in print


latter. And as a direct result of the publication in Issue Two of Simon Donald’s The Life ofStuff— a hit at the Traverse on the Edinburgh Fringe the National Theatre Studio has made a serious proposal to mount a second production.

For it’s only when a nation’s plays hit the page that they have a chance of making a long-term impression. For this reason, it’s good to see Scottish literary magazine Chapman

Scottish. It’d be intriguing to see it staged - in Lorimer’s own words, ‘gif, bein dune, ’t wis dune, ’t wad best be dune swippertlie’.

For a quick way to get culturally-sussed this Christmas, check out Nicholas Wright’s Ninety-Nine Plays (Methuen £9.99), which is the National Theatre Literary Manager’s guide to plays of ‘outstanding originality and richness of texture and with the spark of rebellion alight’. With a page or so on each of his top 99 plays, both mainstream and little-known, the book provides a broad, if contentious, international and historical survey.



Sue Wilson selects some highlights from the year’s fiction.

It’s a tricky time for fiction, as we approach the millennium and look hopefully, but so farvainly, for signs of

a brave new world. Or even for

something to help us make sense of the bewildering, often brutal, muddle of

the old one. Michael 0ndaatje‘s Booker j

co-winner The English Patient addressed such questions obliquely and solemnly through a minute

examination of the interplay between a C ' group of physically and spiritually

wounded war-survivors, while

: Swiss-born Claude Delarue’s

magnificent, sombre ‘metaphysical thriller' Waiting for War (Minerva

£6.99),1991’s European Novel of the

Year, probed the instinct for violence already blighting the new map of Europe.

Tatyana Tolstaya’s richly-wrought short-story collection Sleepwalker in a

: Fog (Virago £13.99) offers eight

magical, mesmeric slices of Russian

life, while Australian author Janette

Turner Hospital's The Last Magician (Virago £14.99), a stunning, complex, panoramic novel exploring social disintegration, art and illusion, good and evil, consolidated a fast-growing reputation. And across the Pond, Toni

Morrison’s extended literary cadenza { Jazz (Chatto a Windus £14.99) continued her acclaimed meditations

produced an unforgettable portrait of contemporary London in Dunedin (Heinemann £14.99), following the grandchildren of a disgraced Glaswegian emigre ministerthrough the crumbling metropolis, exploring with striking panache the hostile ground in which aspirations struggle to establish roots.

0n the auspicious debut front, Ethan Canin’s Blue River (Picador £14.99), a haunting tale of two brothers, signalled a precociously powerful new voice in American letters, as did Allen Kurzweil's intricate, fascinating tale of

Alasdair Gray's Poor Things: ‘wick’ed’and

"z. Fog-fir... ‘.t‘._1f


explored the cultural and emotional territory of contemporary Caledonia with moving insight in his first novel Electric Brae (Canongate £14.95), while Alasdair Gray also flew the Saitire with his wicked, wonderful, Whitbread-winning Frankenstein revamp Poor Things (Bloomsbury £14.99).

And if you're simply looking for a solid, no-nonsense slab oi excellent reading, you could do far worse than The Granta Book of the American Short Story (Granta £16.99), 43 of the best from the likes of John Cheever,

photographers. And it includes a menstrual calendar— what more could you ask for? (Miranda France)


j on African-American history into Jazz-Age Harlem. Closerto home, Shena Mackay

an 18th century watchmaker-genlus A Case of Curiosities (Hamish Hamilton £9.99). Scots poet Andrew Greig

Raymond Carver, Eudora Welty, Joyce Carol Dates, Kurt Vonnegut and Amy Tan.

an... List4— ITDecember iééz