The News

Bookspotting: Books on the go

We're very excited to announce that Saraband is taking part in a major new project to produce smartphone apps celebrating Scotland's unique literary heritage.

Funded by Nesta, the charity that provides investments and grants to bring great ideas to life, the project will see the development of smartphone apps based on a selection of Scottish-interest books. The apps will offer new and compelling ways for readers to explore characters, moods, genres and specific titles.

Some of the features of the apps will include:

  • Geolocation of titles, characters, scenes and author sites through maps, GPS triggers and specially constructed journeys.
  • Personalised reading recommendations based on surprising and unusual criteria and playful elements.

The aims of the apps are to provide wider access to Scotland's literary canon through familiar technologies; provide revenue for publishers and writers; celebrates Scotland's unique literary heritage; update the image of Scotland's vibrant publishing industry; supply cultural tourism around all regions of Scotland and offer new contexts for an new routes into Scottish literature.

The project will be managed by Publishing Scotland and delivered by Saraband along with Spot Specific, who helped us deliver our successful Burns Night and Pandacademy apps.

A Capital Union coming soon

With Scots preparing to vote in the September 2014 referendum, A Capital Union, the new novel by Victoria Hendry published on August 29, takes a step back into the recent Scottish past in order to shine a light on the universal issues of loyalty, identity and independence.

Set in World War II Edinburgh, it tells the story of Ayrshire lass Agnes Thorne, who’s just seventeen, newly wed, and gamely trying to be a dutiful wife and fine Edinburgh lady. However, aloof city folk are testing her spirit – as is her husband Jeff, who is a committed member of the recently founded SNP and refusing to enlist in the British Army. Agnes thinks Jeff should stop fretting about Westminster and get on with fighting Hitler. Ultimately, she will have to choose: between loyalty to her husband, or finding her own way.

Author Victoria Hendry says, “A Capital Union looks at what we owe our partners in union, regardless of whether it’s marital union, or political union. It also asks what can be done when a union feels or becomes unequal. This is an especially difficult question for the weaker party in any union.

“Anyone with an interest in the Scottish independence movement in general will like the book: it’s set in the 1940s, yet many of the issues it raises still resonate today.

“I also hope people will enjoy reading a book that explores these big themes told from a female perspective, which is all too often missing from accounts of history.”

Agnes Thorne certainly is a vivacious, grounded and disarming narrator in this highly accomplished debut novel, which has an exceptional paciness and some genuinely big surprises in store for the reader. 

Diary Date:

A Capital Union is being launched on August 28 at a special event with author Victoria Hendry at Blackwell’s South Bridge store in Edinburgh. More details coming soon.


Busy times for Saraband authors

It's an exciting spring and summer for two of our authors - J. David Simons and Mandy Haggith - as they are both making special appearances at a host of events around the country.

J. David Simons, whose new novel An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful has been garnering some great reviews and selling like hot cakes on Kindle, appeared at Waterstones' prestigious Gower Street shop in London. It is Europe's largest academic bookstore and situated in the heart of Bloomsbury, where some sections of An Exquisite Sense... are also set. At the other end of the country, David also gave a reading last week at Waterstones in Dundee. Poet, author and playwright Chris Dolan was on hand to introduce David and lead a Q&A session.

David is also busy with a series of events taking place at libraries in Scotland. At the beginning of May, he appeared at both Drumchapel and Knightswood libraries in Glasgow, and he is due to appear at Kirkcaldy library in June. Come September, he will be taking part in the Nairn Book and Arts Festival.

Meanwhile, Mandy Haggith is also busy promoting her new novel Bear Witness, which launched in April at a specially arranged Highland eco-debate that attracted the attentions of the BBC, STV and the Press & Journal. Last week Mandy also gave a reading from Bear Witness at Waterstones in Sauciehall Street, Glasgow, and on Friday 31st May she will be at the Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. In July, Mandy has the honour of being the Poet-in-Residence at Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens. Mandy will spend the month celebrating the Gaelic Tree Alphabet at the Gardens.


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