The News

Nature writing at its very best

We're very proud to to announce that Saraband will shortly be publishing the new book by Jim Crumley, one of the country’s most renowned nature writers. The Eagle's Way, published on 13 March, sees Jim Crumley soaring to new heights with beautifully descriptive prose that is the product of his many years of observing golden eagles and his fascination for their evolving interaction with sea eagles. The result is an intimate portrait of these spectacular birds.

In The Eagle's Way - which also features stunning photographs by Laurie Campbell - Jim asserts that sea eagles are, perhaps surprisingly, now present in central and Highland areas of Scotland – away from their coastal strongholds. He argues this is compelling evidence that they ‘remember’ the Scottish landscape, even though they were originally wiped out in the early 20th century.

Sea eagles were reintroduced to Scotland’s west coast in 1975 and, since then, the magnificent bird of prey has flourished. A further reintroduction programme saw sea eagles arrive on the east coast’s Tay estuary in recent years. Their increasing presence from coast to coast is a huge consideration for all nature, for golden eagles in particular, and even for people, some of whom have already had to adapt to a new definition of the word 'eagle'.

Jim says, ‘There’s a wedge of land 130 miles long and a few miles wide between Dundee and the Isle of Mull that is being adopted by eagles as a kind of thoroughfare between strongholds. The east coast birds seem to be aware of the Mull population despite never having been there before. The perplexing question is: how do they know?

‘I think they find each other because it is in the nature of sea eagles. The fact that there was no sustained sea eagle presence in Scotland between 1918 and 1975 does not wipe from the bird’s consciousness every sliver of awareness of thousands of years of occupation of this landscape, of the highways and flyways between Highland and Lowland Scotland.’

Combining passion, a lyrical writing style and the Jim’s 25 years of living, breathing and writing the landscape, The Eagle’s Way explores the controversies surrounding these birds. What now for the eagles? And how will they transform our skies?


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. 

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