The News

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'.

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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.

Into the Forest celebrates Year of Natural Scotland

Into the Forest, a wonderful new anthology of tree poems compiled by poet Mandy Haggith, is to be published on Thursday 28 November, when it will receive a very special launch at a gala event taking place at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE).

The anthology features such giants of poetry as Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Burns, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes – and Mandy Haggith and her 'Walking with Poets' colleagues – and it is in itself a celebration of nature. Each poem in the anthology relates to one of the eighteen species in the Tree Ogham (Gaelic) alphabet, which links a tree species to each letter. It has been produced as a beautiful gift edition for poetry enthusiasts and lovers of trees, woodlands and Scots-Irish natural lore.

The launch of Into the Forest at the special event being hosted by the Scottish Poetry Library at the RBGE will help mark the conclusion of ‘Walking with Poets’, which saw four of Scotland’s finest poets – including Mandy Haggith – take up residence at each of the RBGE’s four gardens across Scotland for a month at a time in order to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland. 

On the night, all four of the poets – Jean Atkin, Sue Butler, Gerry Loose and Mandy Haggith – will share stories from their residencies, and read poems from Into the Forest.

Free tickets for the ‘Walking with Poets’ event, which takes place from 6.30pm on 28 November at the RBGE, are still available but running out fast. You can book your place here.

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