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What’s in the News as Autumn Kicks-In?

  06 Oct '20   |  Posted by: Birlinn
Checking the reviews

We’ve been busy in the second part of this crazy Covid summer and early Autumn. We’ve been busy, our authors have been busy and we’ve kept the media happy. Here’s just a taste of what’s been happening (for more, see individual book pages).

Unremembered Places by Patrick Baker was long-listed for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Writing and appeared in a four page feature in the Herald newspaper and a major feature in the Guardian, in paper and online. The book was reviewed in local and national press including the Geographical magazine. We have our fingers and toes crossed for success.

‘For those with any inclination to adventure, natural beauty, or forgotten histories this will be a treasured read’ – Geographical

Grippingly told…each of his journeys fills with atmosphere and emotion’ – BBC Countryfile Magazine

‘Good nature writers can create such strong images that we almost feel that we are standing on the same windswept moors, gazing out over the same landscapes. Patrick Baker is such a writer, and this book is perfect for armchair travel’ – Sorted


Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith returned to the pages of Scotsman newspaper in August and continues every day until mid-November when this series is published in book form as A Promise of Ankles. If you can’t wait until then you can catch up with Bertie and the neighbours every day in the paper and on The Scotsman website. Over the summer months you may have caught Alexander on Scala Radio, The Times Radio, Talk Radio and more talking about his latest book, Tiny Tales. Extracts appeared in the FT Weekend too. Sheer bliss!

‘One of our best-loved writers’ ­– Alec Russell, Editor, FT Weekend.

‘We have been absolutely delighted to publish Tiny Tales cartoon strips in the FT Weekend… Stories, stories, stories in all shapes and lots and lots of different sizes… many excellent tales’ – Alice Fishburn, FT Weekend Magazine editor

‘Charismatic and charming, convincingly demonstrates that length is by no means essential for a captivating read’ – Scottish Field

‘[Each story] is a wonderful little window into an aspect of life’ – Stig Abel, Times Radio

Everyone’s favourite crime writer (apart from all our other crime writers of course – who can have a favourite child?!), Denzil Meyrick has been across the media talking about his latest DCI Daley novel, Jeremiah’s Bell (a top seller in print and eBook editions) and his short novel, A Large Measure of Snow, published this month.

‘Meyrick’s novella is a break with crime and bulges with satire – It’s Para Handy on a hallucinogenic trip’ – Stuart Cosgrove

‘A brilliant atmospheric book’UK Crime Book Club

A compelling, adventurous, and somewhat quirky tale of the sea. …Meyrick paints a vividly vibrant picture that you can step straight into… Amusing and entertaining, A Large Measure of Snow would make a perfect stocking filler for all the Denzil Meyrick fans out there’ – LoveReading

Mystery/crime writer Sandra Ireland brought out the haunting Sight Unseen and oh, did it please the critics:

‘A good read, with rounded, engaging characters, enough mystery to keep you guessing and some fascinating insights into Scotland’s past’ – Scotland on Sunday

A gentle, well-told psychological thriller with a bite in the finish’ – Irish Independent

‘Ireland stitches all her threads together with a sure hand and warm humour, tackling issues such as dementia and people-trafficking while staying on a relatable domestic scale’ – The Herald

‘A thoughtful yet suspense filled novel… With an unexpected bite Sight Unseen challenges and provokes thoughts and I thoroughly enjoyed this start to a new series’ – LoveReading

Morgan Cry kept on catching the attention of readers following reviews in early summer:

‘A thoroughly enjoyable romp that draws you in and keeps you turning the page – builds steadily but unpredictably towards its conclusion. As the going gets increasingly tough, you find yourself really rooting for Daniella’ – Undiscovered Scotland

Angus Macdonald, author of Ardnish, is on the pages of the National Trust of Scotland magazine this month. Angus also opened a new cinema and arts centre in Fort William and was interviewed for local and national press as well as on BBC News and magazine programmes.

‘If ever there was a story ready-made for the big screen, the Ardnish trilogy is it: an unforgettable case, heart-thumping adventure and romance, but above all a backdrop of spell-binding beauty’ – National Trust for Scotland Magazine

‘A book that seeks to tell the story of a good man’s life lived across two worlds now gone; and that does so with so much, energy, knowledge and love for the men of that time and place, whose memory MacDonald strives to keep alive’ – The Scotsman

‘From the blazing heat of South Africa to the wild waters of the West Coast of Scotland, MacDonald guides the reader through vivid landscapes, capturing the very essence of each location. MacDonald’s love of Scotland is infectious… heartfelt’ –  Scottish Field

Cassius X by Stuart Cosgrove hit the headlines on publication, with reviews, extracts and interviews.

‘a benediction of a book about the early years of the sporting deity….a unique take — no easy feat when faced with an athlete who has been embalmed in books over the decades’ – The Times

‘Fascinating…a different take on its subject, like a wayward B-side of a highly familiar tune’ – Scotsman interview

A vivid, knowing close-up of a crucial year in the life of boxing’s most iconic figure’ – Kirkus review

An engrossing and revelatory read… and a great playlist. You do not have to be a fan of boxing or soul music to love this book’ –Val McDermid

‘a fascinating insight into a lesser-known part of the legendary world heavyweight boxing champion’s life… it also tells the story in the context of a time when the American civil rights movement was gaining momentum – turbulent issues which, in the era of Black Lives Matter, seem more relevant than ever today’ – The Courier

Alastair Mcintosh’s Riders on the Storm caught the media for all the right reasons in the run up to one year to Cop26:

‘It’s a good moment to pause and consider the power and politics of climate change. Alastair McIntosh’s book does just that. As you would expect, it’s beautifully written and provides the essential introduction to the historical and scientific background, grounded in a deep understanding of climate change in place, in the context of the author’s home place of the Western Isles’ – Green World, review by Molly Scott Cato

‘draws out a wider and deeper view of our common world and its torn mantle… Offers a steady, gentle voices, counterbalancing the ones which shout denial and alarm in street protests or down our timelines…McIntosh moves into his stride as a liberation theologian, peace-maker, community activist and poet….he is strikingly optimistic about the power and and possibility instantiated by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and he may not go so far as saying that local, community, mutual aid and world-linking webs of entanglement and wisdom can “save us” but he sees in these answers to the old question, “How then, given this, shall we live?‘ – Sunday National

‘For McIntosh, hopelessness is no valid option, nor pernicious narratives of the pointlessness of individual action. Instead, he conveys a heartfelt urgency for doing whatever you can, while evading burnout and toxic indispensability’ – Reform

‘It’s imaginative, profound, and a reminder that the British Isles still have their own stock of indigenous wisdom to draw on… written with wit and self-awareness’ – Earthbound Report

‘the book has made me think deeply about these critically important issues. What more could one want?’ ShinyNewBooks.co.uk

Treasure Islands by Alex Crawford was and remains on everyones ‘favourites’ lists:

‘Crawford has had a long career in rescuing sometimes very valuable stuff from deep water, but his book Treasure Islands tells the story of the early days, diving on shallow wrecks in the Forth, the Western Isles and Shetland…Going down there and rummaging through things… you must have been conscious of the danger but it sounds quite Wild West Freewheeling days when you could just get a trawler and go divin’g‘ – BBC Radio Scotland

Absorbing … Crawford writes of difficult and very dangerous work with a good deal of sangfroid. Good humour and an absence of hyperbole make this an unusually likeable, as well as interesting, memoir’ – Allan Massie, Scotsman

The combination of proper adventure, sunken treasure, Scottish islands, memories of fragile communities, the affection this book is written with, and the pleasure of spending time in the company of someone who’s achieved some really notable things gives this book broad appeal. Highly recommended’ – Desperate Reader

‘Crawford is a born story-teller, and his tales unfold as easily and naturally as he were an old friend’ – Shetland Times

Scottish Home Rule from Ben Thomson hit the front page of The Times in a ‘stop the press’ moment with a Saturday page one news story and a double page inside.

Scotland: Her Story could not have been higher profile than featured in TWO, EIGHT PAGE SUPPLEMENTS in the Sunday Post.

It has been a crazily busy time but as October opens we push forward for all the pre-Christmas titles. What a wonderful job to work with the best of writers on the best of books and bring them to the attention of readers across the world!

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