The Scots feeling for snow: In 421 words

By Paul St John Mackintosh
September 26, 2015 // 0 Comments

For over a century, the number of Eskimo words for snow has been a football in linguistics, kicked back and forward between scholars, and the latest consensus gives around 50 words. But according to a new project at the University of Glasgow, the Scots language goes a lot better, with 421 words [...]

Edinburgh International Book Festival finishes 2015 on a high

By Paul St John Mackintosh
September 1, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has finished its 2015 run on what it declares is “the most successful year in our history,” with “over 800 authors from 55 countries taking part in almost 800 events,” and “around 225,000 visits this August,” as well as a [...]

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015 lineup announced

By Paul St John Mackintosh
June 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has announced what it claims is “its most international programme to date,” under the title “Around the World in 18 Days.” According to its advance notice, “the Book Festival welcomes voices from over 55 countries writing in a [...]

BBC Scotland seeks first Poet in Residence

By Paul St John Mackintosh
May 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

Given the hostility in some nationalist quarters in Scotland to the BBC and its coverage of the recent independence referendum, it may be a surprising time to see this, but BBC Scotland is inviting applications for “the post of BBC Scotland’s inaugural Poet in Residence: a unique [...]

J.K. Rowling Twitter abuse shows the dark side of Scottish nationalism

By Paul St John Mackintosh
May 11, 2015 // 2 Comments

As a Scot, I’m immensely proud of the achievement of the Scottish National Party in last Thursday’s UK elections, and the new spirit abroad in Scotland. But I’m almost equally disgusted by and ashamed of its dark side, as revealed in the Twitter abuse heaped on J.K. Rowling, a [...]

Burns Night burning a poet into a nation’s memory

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 25, 2015 // 0 Comments

Burns Night, held on January 25th every year to commemorate the memory of Robert Burns, has succeeded in identifying a single poet with a whole nation more than perhaps any other country on earth. How? Well, they began soon after the poet’s death in 1796, informally among hs friends and [...]

The origins of Auld Lang Syne – the world’s most popular poem

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 31, 2014 // 6 Comments

“Auld Lang Syne” is a song you’ll hear the world over, from Tokyo to Tashkent. (And after many years in Asia, I can testify to that.) Chances are that a fair slice of the world’s population, of multiple ethnicities, will be either singing it or hearing it at the stroke of [...]

I.M. Rob Roy, a Scottish folk and literary hero

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 28, 2014 // 0 Comments

On December 28th, 1734, Rob Roy MacGregor, the real-life original of Sir Walter Scott’s eponymous hero, died peacefully in his bed at Inverlochlarig Beg, Balquhidder, after a lifetime of reaving and rebellion that won him folk hero status in his own lifetime, and also a royal pardon from [...]

Scottish Poetry Library extends fundraising drive, engages crowdfunding

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 17, 2014 // 0 Comments

As already noted in Teleread, the Scottish Poetry Library (SPL) has launched a fundraising drive to provide the remaining tranche of funds needed to support renovation and expansion of its facilities, including the Space for Sound Campaign “to create a flexible, contemporary space that [...]

Liz Lochhead and the sad spectacle of Makargate

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 11, 2014 // 0 Comments

One of the more dramatic, and sorrier, literary hangovers from the Scottish Independence Referendum has been the so-called "Makargate" controversy, when Liz Lochhead, celebrated poet and reigning Scots Makar (the Caledonian poet laureate), joined the Scottish National Party. A pro-Unionist body of opinion promptly declared that this new allegiance disqualified her from being a national poet for Scotland, and that she should resign. [...]

Scottish Poetry Library launches appeal to fund expansion

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 6, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Scottish Poetry Library, nerve center of the poetry community in Scotland, has launched an appeal to fund expansion plans for its building, via online donations and other fundraising exercises. The expansion program has already received considerable funding support, but needs further [...]

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