The News

Mongol author scoops 2014 Scottish Asian Women's Award

Uuganaa Ramsay, author of Mongol, has beaten off tough competition to win the 2014 Scottish Asian Women's Award for 'Achievement Against All Odds'. The award, which was presented to Uuganaa by Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, recognises 'the achievements of a Scottish Asian woman in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances - a true modern day heroine'.

For Uuganaa - whose son Billy was diagnosed with Down's syndrome before he died at just three months old - the award has come at a fitting time: on the eve of Down's syndrome Awareness Week, which runs from March 17 to March 23.

Uuganaa said, 'It was emotional to win the award. I hope my late son Billy's story will help many people.'

Mongol is both a celebration of Mongol culture and the moving story of how the life and death of a baby boy with Down's syndrome inspired his Mongolian mother to campaign against prejudice.

As part of DS Awareness Week, Uuganaa Ramsay will be appearing at Looking Glass Books in Edinburgh at 6.30pm on Thursday 20 March, and at Waterstones Kensington at 7pm on Tuesday 25 March.

The Eagle's Way launches amid rave reviews

Jim Crumley's latest book, The Eagle's Way, launched in Dundee tonight in a celebration of Scottish nature writing at its finest. Jim's superb, evocative description of how nature's balance is readjusting in the wake of the sea eagle reintroductions is accompanied by Laurie Campbell's unrivalled photos of both golden and sea eagles.

You don't just have to take our word for it: Roger Hutchinson of the West Highland Free Press sums it up as "magnificent". "Crumley's knowledge and experience may be equalled by a few," he ventures, "but his writing is not. His books are sublime. The Eagle's Way is a beautiful, funny, argumentative narrative of praise to the eagle."

Ray Collier of the Highland News Group describes the book as "An enthralling combination of great writing and photos."

So what are you waiting for? Read it now, buy one for a friend, or borrow it from the library – or all of the above. You'll see why the Los Angeles Times calls him the UK's best nature writer.

Forthcoming appearances by Jim will be at the John Muir Trust's Wild Space in Pitlochry (5th April at 2pm) and the Watermill, Aberfeldy (17th April at 7pm). Look out for further events at the end of May at Aigas Lodge and Grantown-on-Spey.

An innocent man's terrible dilemma

Condemn his cousin to the guillotine...

…Or serve 40 years himself on Devil's Island?

The Guillotine Choice, the new novel by Michael J Malone, is the astonishing true account of one man’s experience of a hell on earth that few of us could ever hope to survive: the infamous Devil’s Island penal colony.

Packed with all the drama of The Shawshank Redemption and Papillon, The Guillotine Choice, published on March 13, tells the story of an uncommon man – Kaci Mohand Saoudi – whose dignity triumphed over despair in unimaginably horrific conditions. The novel was written in collaboration with Kaci’s son, Bashir Saoudi.

Bashir says, ‘My father’s life is an inspiration and serves as an education to all of our children. It has been a dream of mine for thirty years to have this story told, and my deepest thanks are due to Michael Malone whose eye for detail, his patience and his storytelling ability have all helped to make this book everything I hoped for.

‘I feel that I got to know my father better through the thirty years of research that went into this project. This book is a way to thank him and to say what I should have told him in the living years, that is: Dad, I love you.’ 

The novel begins in 1920s French-controlled Algeria, when Kaci Mohand Saoudi was in the frame for the brutal murder of his French boss. He is faced with a stark choice: win freedom by naming the killer and thus condemning him to the guillotine, or keep quiet and face a never-ending sentence in the infamous devil’s Island penal colony?

Kaci, just 20 years old, must choose between an eternity of guilt and shame... or a lifetime of physical suffering and mental anguish.

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