A girl wakes in a cemetery without knowing her name or where she comes from. All she knows is that someone is trying to kill her. Too afraid to seek help, she makes a new home in the graveyard and discovers that she can see ghosts but this becomes the least of her problems when she is witness to a murder.

Both Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden have many titles already under

their belts: Harris’s name will be familiar as the author of the Sookie Stackhouse books, the basis of TV show True Blood, and Golden has written dozens of novels and graphic narratives. They seem to work well together as the plot trips along nicely with an interesting cast of characters. Don Kramer’s artwork is visually appealing, and sets up the story

world vividly. Cemetery Girl would appeal more to young adults, and reluctant readers in particular, though its lack of original elements means it’s unlikely to satisfy older fantasy / horror fans. (Kirsty Logan)


EARTH by Helen Sedgwick

They made the hut when they were still kids; neither of them wants to mention how it’s too small now. They crawl inside and sit on the sleeping bags that have been zipped together to make a padded floor mat. They end up with their feet sticking out of the entrance they never got round to making a door so it’s always been three-walled, with some rocks in the front. When the wooden walls are rotted away to more earth and soil and mud, the rocks will still be there; an outline of what is lost.

He unbuttons her shirt slowly while she talks about Rome,

kisses the nape of her neck, touches her right dimple when she smiles. Her woollen tights are navy blue today, like her skirt, which unbuttons over her hip and has to be unwrapped from side to side. She rolls along the ground and he gently pulls the fabric until she reaches the end of the sleeping bag; still lying on part of the pleated skirt she rolls back over towards him. This is what they do; roll away and roll back again; meet in the middle of their secret childhood hut with their clothes half off and their hands damp from the stream’s spray. You have stubble today, she says, her cheek brushing his chin. The sleeping bag scrunches up underneath them until they’re

lying on an island within an island. Theirs is not an urgent love; it is undoubted, whispered rather

than shouted.

Stay there, she says. Stay inside me. A dog barks on the bank; his owner looks up from the leaf- mould path. The rain turns from drizzle to drops that splash the water’s calm. He looks back to his next footstep and whistles a wordless tune from the past. Helen Sedgwick is editor-in-chief at Cargo Publishing.

44 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014 44 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014

Events are listed by date, then city. Submit listings at least 14 days before publication to Listings are compiled by Jaclyn Arndt. Indicates Hitlist entry

Thursday 23

Glasgow FREE Square Mile of Murder Workshop Mitchell Library, North Street, 287 2999. 2.30–4pm. The Mitchell’s librarians and archivists lead this workshop that investigates the stories, books and documents of Glasgow’s ‘Square Mile of Murder’, where four infamous murders took place. FREE HB Volume 18 Launch CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 6–8pm. A performative reading from New York artist Tyler Coburn to send volume 18 of HB*, a journal of experimental art writing, into the world. Edinburgh Burnsfest Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. Until Sun 2 Feb. Times vary. Prices vary. See Around Town listings. Robert Crawford: Bannockburns Blackwell’s, 53–59 South Bridge, 622 8222. 6.30–8.30pm. Free but ticketed. The poet and critic launches his latest non-fiction, Bannockburns: Scottish Independence and the Literary Imagination, 1314–2014, looking at how poetry has been used to political ends.

Friday 24

Edinburgh FREE Robert Burns Workshop National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3748. 2.30–3.30pm. NLS Rare Books Curator Robert Betteridge talks about the work of the Bard, with help from the library’s collection. FREE Burns Night Poetry Grand Slam National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3748. 6–8pm. Poets of every different style and genre perform their work and celebrate Burns’ heritage. Former Scottish Slam Champion Graeme Hawley hosts. Booking essential.

Saturday 25

Glasgow International Robert Burns Conference Mitchell Library, North Street, 287 2999. 9am–4.30pm. Half day £15; full day £25; full day plus concert ticket £45. Speakers from Scotland’s universities deliver papers on the country’s most revered poet, based around the theme of ‘Homecoming’. Topics include Burns and James Hogg and the Burns forger, plus a chance to see the ‘Nanie’ song-manuscript. Part of Celtic Connections.

Edinburgh FREE Anybody but Burns Wikipedia Edit-a-thon National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3748. Noon–5pm. Celebrate all the talented poets of Scotland who live in the very large shadow of Burns and help beef up their Wikipedia pages. There’s also a chance for poets to read their work and lunch is on the house. Bring along your laptop. Booking essential. Robert Crawford: Bannockburns Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. 2–3pm. £5. See Thu 23.

✽The Neu! Reekie! Alternative Burns Bash Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Pilrig Street, Leith Walk, 553 1876. 7.30pm–midnight. £14 (includes haggis, neeps & tatties and whisky). The usual blend of spoken word, film animation and music fusion takes on a special Burns theme, featuring TS Eliot Prize-winning poet Ciaran Carson, Stevie Jackson


Do you see your new book, The Engagement, as an erotic novel?

I actually see it as an anti-erotic novel. It explores the way seemingly harmless fantasies can turn dangerous. The main character, Liese, has been getting off on an idea of prostitution as a life of easy money and sexual freedom, while her client has a perhaps equally clichéd fantasy of saving a fallen woman by marrying her. It’s basically about how sex can ruin your life! And if I had to run towards a genre it would be psychological thriller. How do you feel that erotic fiction is changing?

I don’t read enough of it to know. Is anyone still picking up the Fifty Shades trilogy or is that now considered ancient? (I believe those two sexual libertarians marry and have two small children, which should put an end to their hijinks.) Do you see your protagonists as feminists? Do you think they would call themselves feminists?

I think Liese would see herself as a feminist, but that her fantasies veer between the radical and conservative. (Freud believed our fantasy lives are akin to a ‘nature reserve where everything including what is useless and even what is noxious can proliferate as it pleases’.) Later in this book, I hope, it becomes harder to tell whose fantasy it is being played out. What are you working on now?

In between my two novels I wrote a book of true crime, The Tall Man, about a death in an Australian Aboriginal community. I’m now returning to reportage, writing about a man who deliberately lit a fire in country Australia on a record hot day, terrorising thousands and killing 11 people. I’m attracted to stories that reveal something deeper about the culture we live in. (Kirsty Logan) The Engagement is out now from Vintage