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Birlinn Books: Notes from the Basement

  18 Nov '20   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Tuesday, 17th November, 2020

Welcome to our weekly newsletter – this is sent direct to subscribers’ in-boxes every Tuesday with news, coverage, events and book chat. Our popular highlights newsletter continues on a Friday.


Book Week Scotland (henceforth, BWS) is in full swing. Hundreds of events are being hosted online this week, organised by libraries, bookshops, schools and bookclubs, all brought together by Scottish Book Trust. This year’s theme is ‘Future’ with a big smiley face, so we asked a clutch of Polygon authors to predict what’s on the literary horizon and nominate an author with a bright future. Read what Denzil Meyrick, Sandra Ireland, Stuart Cosgrove and Morgan Cry have to say. Click here to link through.


The future is always just round the corner, and we are delighted that two of our near-future authors, Merryn Glover and Helen McClory, have contributed, too. Both are new to the Polygon list and have fantastic novels coming out in Spring 2021.


Our friends at Edinburgh Central Library are hosting two special BWS events. Alastair McIntosh will be talking about how the future is already here in regard to climate change, and outlining how we can adjust to ensure the survival of being.  Riders on the storm – read about the book here. The event is tomorrow, Wednesday 18th November. Register here.


Gillian Galbraith, who recently topped the UK libraries chart with the most-borrowed ebook during lockdown, will be talking with the wonderful Alex Gray about the importance of libraries in hard times and her Edinburgh-set crime novels. Thursday 19th November: Register here.


If you’re visiting a bookshop this week, or especially if you can’t, listen to ‘Getting Lost in a Bookshop’, a poem in praise of bookshops and booksellers by Alexander McCall Smith. Listen here


Sticking with poetry and bookshops, Far From the Madding Crowd in Linlithgow has launched a new interview series, hosted by Ian Macartney. It’s rather wonderfully titled, ‘Spoke in Mirrors’ and it kicks off with two Polygon poets this week, Michael Pedersen and Roseanne Watt. You can link through here.


Football has been BIG NEWS this week, with the Scottish national team reaching longed-for heights. Keeping the celebratory vibe going, our Extract of the Week is a tribute to the ‘Home Front Stoics’ of the grassroots game. Read an extract here.


Sometimes things don’t go as everyone hopes, as was the case with much-wished-for railways that could have transformed the northwest highlands and islands. Andy Drummond’s A Quite Impossible Proposal: How Not to Build a Railway tells the story of a dream that never became a reality, hitting the buffers of governmental incompetence and competing private interests. Timely. Not just for rail enthusiasts, this Ullapool Book Festival event tells a fascinating story. Watch now – link through here.


Finally, are your Christmas cakes and puddings mixed, baked, and steamed? It’s Stir-up Sunday this weekend, and our Recipe of the Week also features a note on seasonal baking traditions.

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