Keep those rejection slips coming, authors: Scottish prize goes to book rejected 44 times

By Paul St John Mackintosh
June 15, 2015 // 2 Comments

Here’s heartening news for writers still battling on through a blizzard of rejection slips from publishers: English historical author John Spurling “has won the sixth Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for his novel set in imperial China, The Ten Thousand Things,” despite [...]

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 [...]

Book review: How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman, Broadway Books

By Paul St John Mackintosh
February 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

This is a subject ever so slightly dear to my heart, and I turn to it with the same sense of modesty and proportion that the author includes in his subtitle, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in [...]

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 [...]

Edinburgh International Book Festival announces special spring event with Kazuo Ishiguro

By Paul St John Mackintosh
January 20, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, which hosts the Scottish capital’s key literary event of the year every August, has further expanded its program of all-year outreach events with the announcement of a special spring event starring renowned Anglo-Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro. [...]

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 [...]

Edinburgh International Book Festival gets lottery grant support for further outreach

By Paul St John Mackintosh
December 15, 2014 // 0 Comments

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has just announced a  £175,000 ($275,000) grant that will enable it to branch out from its normal remit of organizing the summer Festival events at Charlotte Square Gardens “to give greater numbers of people access to authors and live literature [...]

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 [...]

Scotland’s winter wonderland showcased in stunning freebie

By Paul St John Mackintosh
November 24, 2014 // 0 Comments

Yes, this is a shameless puff on behalf of my beloved homeland – but it’s also a chance to pick up a beautiful and useful travel guide for zero cash, and to enjoy some superb state-of-the-art digital destination marketing. For VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism [...]

Saltire Society’s Most Outstanding Woman of Scotland ballot includes great Scottish women writers

By Paul St John Mackintosh
November 21, 2014 // 0 Comments

Scottish cultural and intellectual advocacy body the Saltire Society is approaching the culmination of a near year-long campaign to find the Most Outstanding Woman of Scotland, still open for formal nominations until St. Andrews Day, Sunday 30th November. The list has already attracted a slate of [...]

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