The News

J. David Simons' new novel is a Kindle bestseller

An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful, the latest book from J. David Simons, has raced into the Top 10 of the Amazon Kindle Literary Fiction Chart, proving even more popular than JK Rowling and Jodi Picoult in the last few days!

Amazon readers and literary critics alike seem quite taken with the novel, which is best described as a sweeping novel of East and West, love and war, truths and denials. The critic Lesley McDowell has called An Exquisite Sense 'a genuine tour-de-force', whilst one Amazon reader, 'Lone', found it to be 'at once a great page-turning holiday read and a literary experience that leaves you musing on it for weeks after you regretfully finish the last page'. Meanwhile, 'x', wrote: 'What a beautiful read! The evocative text conjures scenes of Japan, London, New York and Glasgow across narratives spanning several decades, skilfully intertwined. It has brilliant observations of human nature, engaging portrayals of complex love affairs and relationships.'

The novel was launched in March at a highly successful event at Waterstones in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow (J. David Simons' home town). The award-winning poet, author and playwright Chris Dolan introduced David, who read from An Exquisite Sense and answered questions from the 150-strong audience. David has already made several public appearances this year - such as at Edinburgh Central Library and at the 'Words by the Water' Festival in Keswick - and there are plenty more to come, including at libraries around Scotland and at other book festivals, such as Nairn in September.

Great reviews for Bear Witness

With just a couple of weeks to go before publication, Bear Witness, the new novel by Mandy Haggith, is already garnering some top reviews. The Scotsman's review describes Mandy's writing as 'both lyrical and tight' and goes on to wax lyrical about the beautiful descriptions of bears in their natural habitat, which are a prominent feature of the book: 'Haggith creates an image here of great beauty and power - of a mysterious, majestic creature roaming ancient woodlands, a symbol of regeneration and hope.'

Meanwhile, writers, poets and even eco-activists have heaped praise on Bear Witness. Jason Donald has described it as 'passionate and subversive, written with a poet's touch', whilst Scottish writer Laura Marney has called it a 'fascinating novel of radical ideas and what-if scenarios'. Linda Gillard feels the book is 'lyrical and vivid, written with a poet's eye for detail... an ambitious, visionary novel'. Writer Linda Cracknell says, 'Bear Witness takes you deep into thickets where government policy, science and environmental activism collide with one woman's passion. A "what if?" with an emotional heart.'

Bear Witness is published on April 25, 2013 and will be launched at a special meeting of environmental activists in the Highlands on Earth Day, April 22, 2013.

Should bears return to the wilds of Scotland?

Bear Witness makes the controversial case for the reintroduction of species such as bears, wolves and lynxes to the Scottish landscape. Released April 25, 2013.

“Mandy Haggith is a wonderful storyteller. Science, politics, romance and nature observation all combine… This is a book with bite.” - Kenny Taylor, writer and naturalist  

Bear Witness, the new novel by Mandy Haggith, will certainly stir the passions of those on both sides of the debate about the notion of reintroducing large – and potentially dangerous – animals to the Scottish wilderness.

It tells the story of Callis MacArthur, an ecologist who is galvanized into becoming an activist after the brutal shooting of a bear cub. Dreaming of bears roaming free – even in Scotland, a thousand years after their disappearance – Callis finds herself exploring Europe’s remotest forests and meeting colourful characters who are as passionate about nature as she is.  

But as she begins to embrace her wild side, she faces escalating challenges: she must risk her career and endure agonising personal losses to avoid being swept up in events and emotions beyond her control.  

Combining lyrical prose, mythical themes, romance and a cracking plot, Bear Witness is a page-turner with a heart and mind. The book is being launched on April 22 – Earth Day – at a special Highland summit of wildlife experts discussing the pros and cons of reintroducing large species to Scotland.  

How Wild Can We Go? will feature speakers such as Jim Crumley, author of The Last Wolf, and Roy Dennis, Scotland's leading expert on reintroductions of various species, including the osprey, sea eagle and red kite. Joining them on the panel will be a representative of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which is leading the beaver reintroduction in Argyll, and author Mandy Haggith.

You can pre-order Bear Witness at your local independent bookshop or at Amazon UK.

Praise for Bear Witness:

“A passionate and subversive book, written with a poet's touch.” – Jason Donald, author of Choke Chain.

“Mandy Haggith is a wonderful storyteller. Science, politics, romance and nature observation all combine as she explores re-wilding of both individual and land. This is a book with bite, relevant to contemporary debate about large predators but also a source of many other pleasures and surprises. I know I’ll re-read it many times.” – Kenny Taylor, writer and naturalist.

“There have been moments throughout the history of nature writing when a writer slips through the electrified fences that keep nature and society apart, and liberates not just a biological truth but also a self-fulfilling prophecy. Mandy Haggith’s daring and at times beautifully worked novel is one such moment. This IS what will happen. Read and learn.” – Jim Crumley, author of The Last Wolf.

"A passionate and authoritative novel. Haggith’s evocation of landscape and wildlife is lyrical and vivid, written with a poet’s eye for detail. Her characters convince and entertain. This ambitious, visionary novel belongs to no single genre but encompasses romance, drama, comedy and literary fiction. Bear Witness is a big-hearted book and deserves to find a wide readership. It will make a significant contribution to the debate about the future of Scotland’s wilderness.” – Linda Gillard, author of Star Gazing. 


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