BOOKS | Events Saturday 24
Edinburgh Nothing but the Poem The Saltire Society, 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, 557 2876. 11am–12.30pm. £5 (£4). See Tue 20. Chris Kent: The Golem Central Library, 7–9 George IV Bridge, 242 8100. 2.30–3.30pm. Free but ticketed. Kent talks about his gothic comic. Monday 26
Edinburgh ✽FREE The Golden Hare Book Group Golden Hare, 102 West Bow,
629 1396. 6.30pm. Free wine, cake and book chat, this month discussing The List’s Books Editor Kirsty Logan’s debut The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales.
Glasgow FREE Poetry Reading and Appreciation Mitchell Library, North Street, 287 2999. 6pm. Listen to and then discuss poems on the theme of travel. Chrys Salt and Brian Johnstone: The Fields of War CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 7–8.30pm. £6 (£3; SWC members free). Prose and poetry to mark the centenary of WWI. Salt – poet and mother of a paratrooper – reads from her Home Front/Front Line and Johnstone reads from his two collections. Organised by Scottish Writers’ Centre. Edinburgh Richard Clubley: Scotland’s Islands – A Special Kind of Freedom Blackwell’s, 53–59 South Bridge, 622 8222. 6.30pm. Free but ticketed. Clubley signs copies of his new book, which evokes the atmosphere of Scotland’s islands through written sketches. Booking essential.
Wednesday 28 Glasgow FREE Auld Scotland and Garibaldry: European Politics, Victorian Scotland and the Working Class Poet Mitchell Library, North Street, 287 2999. 6–7pm. Professor Kirstie Blair investigates the Scottish poetry published on the Italian Risorgimento.
Glasgow FREE Sick Sick Sick: The Books of Ornery Women CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 6.30pm. An alt.lit reading group, organised by MAP magazine. Today, discuss Travis Jeppesen’s novel The Suiciders. Edinburgh Tony Singh: Tasty Waterstones West End, 128 Princes Street, 226 2666. 6pm. £4 (Waterstones cardholders £3). One half of the Incredible Spice Men discusses his new cookbook. Iain Macwhirter: The Road to Referendum Summerhall, 1 Summerhall, 0845 874 3001. 7pm. £10 (£8). Macwhirter presents his new book, a companion to his recent TV series.
Friday 30 Edinburgh Neu! Reekie! Pilrig St Paul’s Church, Pilrig Street, Leith Walk, 553 1876. 7–11pm. £7 in advance; £9 on the door. See Around Town listings. Guid Crack Club Waverley Bar, 1 St Mary’s Street, 557 1050. 7.30–10pm. Suggested donation £3. Lindsey Gibb leads a night of improvised stories.
Edinburgh FREE Tricolour: NLS Poetry Night 56 THE LIST 15 May–12 Jun 2014
Illicit Ink Skyground Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. 8–10pm. £6 (£4). A crew of writers and performers create an ensemble story.
Glasgow FREE Lesley Riddoch: Blossom – What Scotland Needs to Flourish The Tryst, Hillhead Baptist Church Cresswell Street, 339 1588. 1pm. The journalist takes her new book on the road and discusses the impending referendum. West End Festival. Tuesday 10
Glasgow Iyad Hayatleh: Homeland CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 7.30–8.30pm. £6 (£3; SWC members free). The Palestine-born, Syria-raised, Glasgow-based poet and translator gives a reading of his poetry. Organised by Scottish Writers’ Centre. Edinburgh Jo Caulfield Presents . . . The Speakeasy Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. 8–10pm. £6. See Comedy listings.
Glasgow Poetry@The Ivory Ivory Hotel, Langside Avenue Shawlands, 636 0223. 7.15–9.30pm. £2–£3. Poetry event with guest readers and open mic spots. Supported by the Scottish Book Trust. Edinburgh FREE James Kelman at NLS National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3734. 6pm. See Around Town listings. A Sense of Place: Tessa Ransford & Kirsty Law Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. 7.30–8.30pm. £8 (£6). Poet Ransford and Scots singer Law illuminate the Scots landscape and people through contemporary and traditional material.
Glasgow FREE Welcome & Culture Sharing: International Women’s Group Street Level Photoworks, Trongate 103, 552 2151. 11am–4pm. The launch of International Haggis Journey, which has ten haggis recipes from around the world. Part of Refugee Week Scotland. Poetry in the Park An Clachan Cafe, Kelvingrove Park, Otago Street, 248 9969. 7–8.30pm. £2 (free). A selection of writers read you their poetry, outdoors! West End Festival. Edinburgh Hazel McHaffie: Over My Dead Body Central Library, 7–9 George IV Bridge, 242 8100. 2.30–3.30pm. Free but ticketed. See Wed 21. Café Voices Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, 556 9579. 7–9pm. £5. See Thu 15. Traditional Scottish tales as Calum Lykan launches An Audience with Bannockburn.
Melrose Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival Harmony Garden, St Mary’s Road, 0844 357 1060. Times vary. Prices vary. Until Sun 15 Jun. The Borders Book Fest attracts world- class writers and personalities and also hosts the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. This year’s guests include Gordon Brown, Allan Little, Katie Adie, Paddy Ashdown, Steve Backshall, Nick Mason, Jennifer Saunders, Chris Brookmyre, Kirsty Wark and more.
T T O C S S R H C
INTERVIEW DOUG JOHNSTONE ‘I always feel that if you’re going to write a novel, you’ve got to be obsessed with what you’re writing about,’ says Doug Johnstone. ‘This is a handful of obsessions that came together.’ The Dead Beat’s obsessions include: obituaries (‘they’re like a little oasis of niceness among all the bullshit of newspapers’), the death of print journalism, and mental health issues – ‘whether you make up who you are as you go along or if you’re in thrall to your genetic legacy’.
It’s Johnstone’s sixth novel – his fourth in four years – and the themes come together in a fantastically fast-paced thriller. Set in Edinburgh, it zips between North Bridge and Duddingston, from the early 1990s to the present day. Martha is a journalism student and an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) patient, and within her first few minutes as an intern at fictional newspaper The Standard, she witnesses a shockingly violent event.
As the mystery unfolds around her, she listens to her father’s music collection on an old Walkman. The story flashes back to real gigs from local music history, including Nirvana’s famous appearance at the Southern Bar in 1991 – a gig that Johnstone was at. ‘Part of it’s a joke between me and my friends,’ Johnstone laughs, ‘just to annoy everyone in my generation that gigs we still think of as being a couple of years ago are actually historical fiction.’
Fans of Johnstone’s fourth novel, Hit and Run, will be pleased to
see the reappearance of its characters Billy and Rose too, though The Dead Beat isn’t a sequel. And it’s this emphasis on great characters that makes the book such a memorable piece of noir. ‘I’m not that interested in solving crimes,’ Johnstone admits. ‘I’m really interested in the people committing crimes and how you respond in the aftermath.’ (Yasmin Sulaiman) ■ The Dead Beat is out now, published by Faber.
National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, 623 3734. 6.30pm. Tonight, flash poetry from Stephen Barnaby and the first full performance of 56n’s Sleevenotes album by Graeme Hawley. Tuesday 3
Edinburgh FREE Inky Fingers Open Mic The Forest Café, 141 Lauriston Place, firstname.lastname@example.org 8–11pm. Open mic for literature and spoken word lovers. Email to perform. Edinburgh Chris Bambery: A People’s History of Scotland Blackwell’s, 53–59 South Bridge, 622 8222. 6.30pm. Free but ticketed. Writer and broadcaster Bambery delves into Scotland’s past.
Thursday 5 Glasgow FREE Chris Bambery: A People’s History of Scotland CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 6.30pm. See Wed 4.
Glasgow FREE Outdoor Storytelling in German and English The Children’s Wood, North Kelvin Meadow, Clouston Street, westendfestival.co.uk 11am. Bilingual storytelling. Part of West End Festival. Blog Writing Workshop Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street, 550 2267. 1–3pm. £2 (free). Writer Magi Gibson takes you through the process of writing effective and entertaining posts. FREE HB Volume 19 Launch CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, 352 4900. 6pm. Readings and a Q&A from Maria Fusco and Siôn Parkinson to launch the latest issue of the art writing journal Edinburgh Vive the [R]évolution: Poems in Translation Institut Français d’Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, 225 5366. 7–8pm. £5 (£3). Rody Gorman talks about using English, Irish and Scottish Gaelic to play with words and meanings.