Hot on the heels of the ‘Flodden and the Blue Blanket’ exhibition in Edinburgh last week came another Flodden-related event in Linlithgow. I’d heard about it back in May and pencilled it in as a ‘Must Attend’ date, because it looked as if it was right up my street.
I wasn’t wrong.
The event in question was The Illustrated Book Lecture, held in Linlithgow Burgh Halls as part of the Battle of Flodden Quincentenary, in conjunction with the Linlithgow Book Festival. This featured not one, but two, authors whose recently published books have a strong Flodden connection.
The first was George Goodwin, author of a non-fiction book entitled ‘Fatal Rivalry’, which examines the run-up to the Battle of Flodden and in particular the clashing personalities of the charismatic James IV of Scotland, and his English counterpart, the bullish and inflexible Henry VIII.
The second was Rosemary Goring, whose novel ‘After Flodden’ is set in the immediate aftermath of Flodden. A short reading from the novel was followed by a fascinating interview with the author which covered a wide range of themes. It covered the author’s approach to the researching and writing of a historical novel, and also discussed the dearth of historical novels being written by contemporary Scottish writers.
Once the author showcases were over, the organisers ran an excellent audio-visual presentation about the Battle of Flodden, which visited the battlefield site and features some of the archaeological works being undertaken there. Meanwhile, the authors remained behind to sign copies of the books in the time-honoured fashion, and I’m delighted to report that both titles sold quite briskly.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take advantage of the special offer prices for Rosemary Goring’s novel, as I’d bought it previously from Waterstones, but I did manage to smuggle my copy in for signing! I was also delighted to have an excuse to get hold of a copy of ‘Fatal Rivalry’, which I’d put on my ‘Must Buy!!!’ list just as soon as I heard about its publication.
So a big ‘thank you’ to Nick Davis of the Flodden EcoMuseum for circulating news of this event so widely. I think the girl at the door was quite nonplussed when she realised that two of her visitors lived so far away that their postcode wasn’t even held on the computer system, but hopefully it’ll help reinforce Linlithgow’s identity as a ‘heritage burgh’, with an impressive heritage resource that is well worth celebrating and exploring further.
I believe Rosemary Goring will be appearing at various Borders Book Festivals throughout September, so do keep an eye open both for her, and her book!