The News

'Startlingly accomplished': The Herald's review of A Capital Union

A Capital Union, the debut novel by Edinburgh writer Victoria Hendry, has won the fulsome praise of literary critic Julie Davidson in yesterday's Sunday Herald. Describing the novel as 'startlingly accomplished', the reviewer also says, 'Victoria Hendry's impressive debut novel wastes no words. The voice of her young narrator is brisk and assured, like youth itself, and the book's title is a neat signal that there's more to Agnes's story than affairs of the heart.'

She continues, 'Hendry demonstrates early skill with language, sketching 1940s Edinburgh with economy... But as the story gathers momentum so does Hendry's prose, raising itself to poetry as her heroine confronts that famous tension within Scots and Scotland which many of us recognise.'

The review concludes that A Capital Union is 'A topical novel, then, as we grapple with the multiform identities of Scotland in the approach to 2014, but one in which the political is very much the personal: the coming of age of a young woman whose sometimes acute, sometimes naive perception of world forces and local conflicts steering her life reaches a cautiously hopeful conclusion.'

Wonderful launch for A Capital Union in Edinburgh

The Blackwell's South Bridge store in Edinburgh played host to a fabulous launch party yesterday for A Capital Union, the debut novel by Victoria Hendry. The venue was packed to the rafters with eager bibliophiles who'd come to see Victoria give some special readings from the book, which follows the fortunes of a young woman in World War II Edinburgh as her husband becomes ever more involved with the Scottish independence movement - threatening both his own liberty and his wife's loyalty.  

Victoria really looked the part as she was all turned out in the best Forties fashions, and the audience were treated to some swinging music from the era by the superbly named 'Man Mountain and the Four Hills'. All in all it was a hugely successful evening for Victoria and A Capital Union, which is garnering some impressive reviews. Novelist Alan Warner described it as ‘a remarkable debut, with explosive moments of real poetry and narrative power. This is an excellent novel, very dramatic and engaging, with a Buchan thrills quality.’ And Margaret Elphinstone felt it to be ‘a novel of great intelligence and fluency whose finely drawn characters challenge conventional perceptions of nationality and identity'.  

A Capital Union is published today, August 29, and you can order a copy here. Victoria appears in this video discussing the book, nationalism, conscientious objecting and more.

We'd like to thank the staff at Blackwell's for making the launch such a big success, and a big thank you also to everyone that attended.

Saraband wins Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award

We are very excited to have won the inaugural Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year Award, which was announced by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, on Friday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The award, given to the company with the most exciting and progressive developmental story to tell over the previous year, was accepted and warmly welcomed by a delighted Sara Hunt.

She said: "I’m thrilled that we have been honoured with this award, especially because it is dedicated to the memory of Dr Gavin Wallace, whose knowledge, encouragement and support of everyone associated with Scottish literature and publishing was absolutely incomparable. It is to the credit of our authors, our small and dedicated team, and the partners we work collaboratively with. It’s also a huge surprise given that the achievements of the shortlisted companies are all so impressive."

The award judges said that Saraband has taken "huge steps" in changing the focus on its publishing list and formats in response to industry changes, and to have continued during 2012/2013 to move Scottish authors to the heart of its business. Saraband was selected to represent Scotland's creative industries at the Scotland House showcase during the 2012 Olympics.

We were also pleased to see that our colleagues at Floris Books received a commendation for their fantastic work "revitalising classic Scottish children's novels and authors for a new generation".

Also shortlisted were BackPage Press, Barrington Stoke, Edinburgh University Press and Freight Books, and we’d like to offer our congratulations to them.

Jim Tough, executive director of the Saltire Society, said the society had been encouraged by the number, range and quality of applications for the award. Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer said: "Saraband and the other shortlisted publishers represent a Scottish publishing industry in very good health."

The judges were: Jenny Brown (literary agent), Rosamund de la Hey (Main Street Trading Company), Claire Malcolm (New Writing North), Marion Sinclair (Publishing Scotland's Chief Executive), Professor Claire Squires (University of Stirling) and Aly Barr (Creative Scotland).

The award is supported by Creative Scotland and Publishing Scotland, and was launched this year in order to celebrate excellence and innovation in Scottish publishing. This year’s award was dedicated to Dr Gavin Wallace in recognition of his enormous contribution and commitment to Scottish Literature.

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