Denise Mina & Ghillie Basan at Fringe by the Sea

  16 Aug '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Last Tuesday, we caught up with Denise Mina and Ghillie Basan at their events at the Fringe by the Sea, North Berwick’s annual arts and culture festival.

Denise Mina

Scottish novelist and playwright Denise Mina was joined by Brian Taylor for a ‘Lunchtime Blether’ at the Fringe by the Sea Festival in North Berwick. The audience were captivated by the discussion of Rizzio – a radical new take on the murder of David Rizzio that uncovers hidden histories from one of the darkest episodes of Scotland’s past.

Not only did Denise and Brian speak about the men who colluded against Mary, Queen of Scots’, they also chatted about the forgotten women in this story, women who rescued Mary from her terrible fate through heroic, sisterly acts of kindness. Women are so commonly written out of history, and Rizzio strives to address the imbalance in this infamous national narrative. Prompted by reflections from the audience, Denise talked about how reimagining the past through fiction can give new relevance to all aspects of Scotland’s history that have been forgotten or willfully overlooked.

If you would like to join the conversation about this dark yet deeply exciting new novella, Denise will be live at The Edinburgh International Book Festival on Wednesday 18th of August at 2.30pm.

Ghillie Basan

North Berwick’s rugged coastline provided the perfect backdrop for Ghillie Başan’s discussion about reconnecting with nature and the food that’s on our doorstep. Beginning her cookery book career in a remote croft in The Cairngorms without running water or electricity, Ghillie is an expert in resourcefulness and culinary creativity. Sharing extracts from The Scottish Brunch Bible and her upcoming book A Taste of the Highlands, Ghillie showed how local food is as exciting as it’s ever been, owing to a multitude of pioneering producers and chefs creating new flavours and experiences across the country.

What shone through about Ghillie’s talk at Fringe by The Sea was how important stories are to her recipes and her cooking. Not least did she share wonderful anecdotes about the people that make Scottish food so extraordinary, but she also talked about gaining expertise from local people on her travels in East Africa, Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, North America, India, and Southeast Asia. Shared cultures, recipes and stories are what makes Ghillie’s books so vibrant and unique, and what makes her talks so enthralling too!

The Scottish Brunch Bible is available for purchase now on the Birlinn website. A Taste of The Highlands is available to pre-order.

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