What’s in the News (during lockdown)?

  01 Jun '20   |  Posted by: Birlinn
Checking the reviews

Birlinn, Polygon and Arena writers have enjoyed widespread coverage over the last month. Here’s a taste of what the media said about our books:

The Scotsman ran a big feature on Scottish Plant Lore: An illustrated Flora by Greg Kenicer, showing some of the beautiful artwork from the book. The Friday Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Scotland interviewed Greg and he appeared on this year’s Virtual Chelsea Flower show. He has recorded a Podcast for the BBC Out of Doors programme and will be seen on our screens this month on Landward.

The Guardian ran an extract from Made in Africa: The History of African Players in English Football by Ed Aarons. You can read it here. Ed was interviewed on TalkSport and we are hoping for further extracts in the national press in coming days.

Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape by Patrick Laurie starred in the Evening Standard in a review from Julian Glover: ‘brilliant and beautiful‘. It received a five star review in the Mail on Sunday: ‘Laurie’s book stands out. He is not a poet who likes to go walking at the weekends, or an intellectual who insists on telling us what other, older writers have said about his native patch of land. Nor is he writing a semi-comical memoir about the funny things that happened to him on the way to the cattle auction. Instead, what we get is something that feels unforced and utterly authentic.‘ In the Daily Mail: ‘A farmer with a poet’s eye is a rare thing indeed, and this is a rare breed of a book: an elegy to a vanishing landscape but one not without hope, and to be greatly treasured.’ The book has also received very strong reviews in the Herald and the Scotsman and on LoveReading. And an extract has appeared in Country Life magazine and an author feature in the Sunday Post.

The Unremembered Places by Patrick Baker was applauded by Allan Massie in the Scotsman, ‘anyone reading this engaging book will learn much and have pleasure in doing so‘ and went on to be celebrated in two large features in the paper. You can read them here. Rosemary Goring wrote in the Herald of a ‘ historical travelogue packed with information and reflection… the stuff of campfire nights‘.

Alexander McCall Smith‘s ‘Tiny Tales’ continue in the Financial Times Life & Arts section of their weekend edition with great reader feedback. The run has now been extended until the end of July. In addition, Saga magazine carried a short story by the much-loved writer, the ‘i‘ and the Scotsman continue their columns and he appeared in The Times at the weekend with an article on Civility.

The new novel, A Day Like Any Other by Isla Dewar met with approval in the Scotsman ‘Edinburgh is a poetic place and, in A Day Like Any Other, the spirit of the city is powerfully evoked‘. You can read the full piece here. On LoveReading the reviewer commented: ‘this novel radiates a lovely sense of community alongside being a touching tribute to the elemental importance of true friendship. Written with a lightness of touch and packed with funny, bittersweet life reflections’. And in The Herald, ‘Undeniably charming and imbued with a strong sense of place and belonging… it rings so true, Dewar evoking the preoccupations of age with a quiet authority… grounded in an awareness that experience and wisdom are qualities that are always hard-won’.

Fiaz Rafiq’s Muhammad Ali: The Life of a Legend was covered extensively by the Daily Mail in two feature articles with book details, three extracts in the Sun with book cover and details, and follow up pieces in Daily Star and Metro and on TalkSport.

A Croft in the Hills by Katherine Stewart was selected for the Guardian’s Top 10 best books about mountains – for a virtual climb: ‘a tale of hardship and adversity faced with steady pragmatism, kindness and curiosity… an earthy tonic for challenging times’. A Croft in the Hills is currently reprinting (it is always in demand) but you can find A Life in the Hills by Katherine Stewart here.

An extract from Denzil Meyrick’s Jeremiah’s Bell was published in the Scotsman. The new novel was highlighted in The Sunday Times Crime Time newsletter. It was reviewed in LoveReading: ‘Dark, Gutsy Tartan Noir… quirky characters and a hefty dose of humour… Jeremiah’s Bell continues the series in fine style‘; and delighted fellow crime writers. And it is not even published yet!

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