Sometimes it feels very strange, being a Scottish writer based in Scotland who writes historical fiction set in Scotland but who just so happens to be signed up with a US publisher (Phew! That was a mouthful, wasn’t it?). The Scottish literary scene is very active and busy, but when you find yourself on the fringes of it all, it can sometimes seem like you’re a mangy wolf skulking around while there’s a great big party going on inside the palisade.
But in the modern cut-throat world of publishing and book-trading, I like to think that all of us little guys are in this together, so if I can put in a plug for independent presses and booksellers, I’ll do it.
It’s Scottish Book week this week. Across the country, there are events being held which celebrate Scottish writing and Scottish publishing, so if you find yourself looking for something to do between now and the 30th, check out the website at http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland and see if there’s anything that takes your fancy.
And I’d also like to give a special mention to the pop-up bookshop in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, which is being run by the Milngavie Bookshop. If you’re passing by the Mitchell this week, pop in and take a look – my personal favourite amongst the new titles has to be ‘Look Up Glasgow’, by Adrian Searle and David Barbour. It’s definitely one of those ‘gosh, I wish I’d thought of that first’ kind of books – it takes a look at some of Glasgow’s architectural gems which though located across the city remain largely hidden and unappreciated because most visitors only interact with the buildings at eye (or shop front) level.
Those of us who do take the time to look up and see the ‘angels in the architecture’ (as Paul Simon would say) aren’t remotely surprised that the authors have found enough information to fill a book devoted to the subject. But I think most of us would be hard-pressed to be able to capture the wealth of images that graces the pages of ‘Look Up Glasgow’ – it’s a truly stunning tribute to the city and its architectural treasures.
Incidentally, the Milngavie Bookshop – as well as stocking an excellent range of up-to-date titles – has a lovely little cafe attached with some excellent soups and cakes. So if you ever find yourselves in or around Milngavie, please check them out (more info as http://www.milngaviebookshop.co.uk/).
And if you need an excuse to go and visit Milngavie, can I just point out that it’s just a stone’s throw from the Campsies (in the lands of the Lennox, John Stewart’s stamping ground, if you know your ‘Fire and Sword’) and that there are some really nice walks around Mugdock Country Park. There’s a ruined castle there, too, but that’s another story!!