The News

Join us for Mongol book launch events

Uuganaa Ramsay, author of the award-winning Mongol, will be appearing at two Waterstones stores this month as part of the book's launch celebrations. Mongol recounts Uuganaa's extraordinary experiences growing up in rural Mongolia - as well as the moving story of her son, Billy, who was diagnosed with Down's syndrome shortly after birth. The memoir, published on January 16, has been described as 'a gripping read that will touch your heart' (Sheila Grant, Newbooks Magazine).  

Uuganaa will be reading from Mongol and answering questions from the audience when she appears at the Waterstones Glasgow Argyle Street store on Thursday 16 January at 7pm. Tickets are free but should be reserved: RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0141 248 4814.

There will be a second appearance at the Waterstones Ayr High Street store on Thursday 23 January at 6.30pm. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve free tickets. 

Mongol memoir ebook release

Mongol, the new memoir by debut author Uuganaa Ramsay, is a celebration of Mongolian 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. The ebook edition of Mongol is out 10 December 2013, and the the print edition will follow on 16 January 2014.

For any parent, the birth of a child with Down’s syndrome (DS) is bewildering: the news is a shock that can trigger a wide range of emotions, from anger to grief, denial to guilt. But when Uuganaa Ramsay’s son Billy was diagnosed with DS, her confusion was made even harder to deal with due to the prejudice associated with the term ‘mong’ in modern Britain – for Uuganaa herself is a Mongol.

No one can deny that the words ‘mong’ and ‘mongol’ are still commonly used as insults – just witness Ricky Gervais’s retweeting Twitter jokes based on the word ‘mong’ in 2011. But in Mongol, Uuganaa Ramsay makes a heartfelt plea for people to stop misusing the word ‘mongol’.

“As a Mongol, it’s my ethnic identity, which I feel proud of,” says Uuganaa. “So for me it is so hurtful that ‘mongol’ was used to describe people with Down’s syndrome, and is now used by some people as an insult.”

In Mongol, Uuganaa skillfully interweaves the extraordinary story of her own childhood in Mongolia – where she grew up as a nomad, eating marmot meat and distilling vodka from yoghurt – with the sadly short life of Billy, who as a Mongol boy with DS, is a symbol of cultures and complexity, stigma and superstition.

Mongol is the touching tribute by a remarkable woman to her beloved son, who inspired her to challenge bigotry and transform herself from outsider to fearless champion of love, respect and tolerance. 

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’.


Additional information