The News

Saraband's Book Week Scotland events

Four Saraband authors are taking part in events around the country as part of this year’s Book Week Scotland, which runs from 25 November to 1 December.

Mandy Haggith: As well as the Scottish Poetry Library gala launch of Into the Forest at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Thu 28/11, Mandy will appear on Tue 26/11 at Inverness Waterstones and on Wed 27/11 at Nairn Bookshop. She will be reading from her new anthology of tree poems and discussing  ‘rewilding’ – the reintroduction of predator species to Scotland, which is the subject of her novel Bear Witness.

Lesley McDowell and J David Simons: The art of historical fiction will be the subject of discussion between Lesley McDowell (author of Unfashioned Creatures) and J David Simons (author of An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful) at Glasgow’s Hillhead Library on Tue 26/11. Unfashioned Creatures has only just been published but is already picking up some great reviews, whilst An Exquisite Sense has had a terrific year, becoming a Kindle bestseller. Lesley McDowell will also be appearing at Broughty Ferry Library (tickets: 01382 436 919).

Victoria Hendry: The author of A Capital Union will be appearing at Longniddry Library on Wed 27/11 (tickets: 01875 818 160) and Stirling’s Macrobert Arts Centre on Thu 28/11. A Capital Union is set in World War II Edinburgh and explores the current big questions that Scotland is facing – independence, cultural identity and austerity. Victoria will be accompanied in Stirling by a musician who will perform WW2-era swing numbers. Victoria has earned the admiration of leading literary figures including Alan Warner, who described her debut as ‘remarkable, with explosive moments of real poetry and narrative power’, and Julie Davidson, whose review in the Sunday Herald described it as ‘startlingly accomplished’.


Unfashioned Creatures in the press

Following on from the highly successful launch events for Unfashioned Creatures - which saw author Lesley McDowell appearing in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh - the new gothic novel has attracted some great media attention. Mary Crockett's review in The Scotsman described a 'tantalising read'.

She wrote: 'As a psychological whodunit - or whydunit - Unfashioned Creatures keeps up the pressure, even beyond the final page.' It is a 'finely worked and confident flight of Gothic fancy that stands up well to scrutiny. McDowell's ear for dialogue is already finely tuned, and her handling of the contrasting narratives deftly judged.'

Elsewhere, Lesley wrote a fascinating article in The Independent on Sunday exploring the enduring fascination of Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. In the article, Lesley explains how Unfashioned Creatures was inspired by a Mary Shelley letter that described Isabella Baxter Booth - one of the book's main characters - as 'disturbed in her reason'.


In other news, Uuganaa Ramsay, author of Mongol, has also appeared in the press recently with an in-depth interview for the Daily Record. Uuganaa discusses her campaign against the misuse of the term 'mongol' either as an insult or as a way to describe people with Down's Syndrome. Mongolian-born Uuganaa lost her son, Billy, at the age of just three months shortly after he was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.

Cellmates author helps Maggie’s Centres celebrate

Rose T Clark, author of Cellmates: Our lessons in cancer, life, loss and love, recently made a special appearance at Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre in Edinburgh as part of the organisation’s 17th birthday celebrations. Rose read from her memoir, which tells of the highs and lows of her experiences with cancer when her partner, John, contracted the disease. Rose and John received vital support from Maggie’s – and also from Marie Curie Cancer Care – during their four-year battle against cancer.

Rose also discussed the book, which Prof Marie Fallon of Edinburgh University has described as ‘an outstanding read... profound, honest, compelling’, during an in-depth interview with the Daily Record. She said: ‘By sharing a deeply personal story, I hope to shine a light on how we deal with cancer in our society.

‘I hope my honesty will help reveal the importance of carers and charity support organisations in helping people to feel understood, without judgment or pressure, and to be supported genuinely.’

For every copy of Cellmates that is sold, a donation will be made to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres and Marie Curie Cancer Care. You can buy Cellmates here or at Amazon UK.

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