As I may have already mentioned, for the last four years I have been writing a monthly column on Scottish writing over at the excellent Dear Scotland. This December will see the publication of number 50, and to celebrate this Pete Reid is running a writing competition, with the winner receiving the featured 50 (see left) as their prize.
The first post in November 2009 was a statement of intent, setting out the aim of Indelible Ink to showcase the depth and breadth of what Scottish writing has to offer, and you can judge for yourself whether we are achieving that or not, but from Alan Warner’s Morvern Callar (the first featured novel) to this month’s column on Leila Aboulela’s The Translator we have looked at as wide selection of writers as possible. There are writers who choose to make Scotland their home, and those who have chosen to leave, representatives from the Borders to the Highlands and Islands, from Greenock to Leith, The Stornoway Way to Lanark, all of them have added to Scotland’s cultural identity and sense of self.
If your interest is piqued, you should head over to Dear Scotland for further info, and you can also read about all the books which could be yours, but here are just some of the details:
To win you will have to dig out your virtual ballpoint as we are looking for a piece of writing on ‘Scotland’.
That’s all the direction you are going to get, so how you react is up to you. It can be poetry, prose or non-fiction, whatever takes your fancy, but your submission must be no longer than 600 words. You can be as funny, passionate, angry, controversial and emotional as you like, or all of the above..
The judges are broadcasting legend, and author, Vic Galloway, novelist Nina de la Mer, and my good self. In the event of a literary punch up breaking out Pete has agreed to cast the deciding vote, although I’m sure it won’t come to that.
The top three will be published in a special Indelible Ink in the New Year. First place wins all 50 books. Second place will win a signed copy of Vic’s new book ‘Songs In The Key Of Fife’ and Nina’s classic ‘4 a.m.’, with third place getting a copy of one of the best collections of new Scottish fiction of the last 10 years, ‘The Year of Open Doors’.
It is sheer coincidence that The Scotsman’s literary critic, and Man Booker judge, Stuart Kelly has just picked his own 50 best Scottish books of the last 50 years, but we’d like to think that our 50 give an alternative and yet complimentary view of Scottish writing in recent years, with many of the writers appearing on both lists, but not many of the same books.
When looked at together, the two provide a great selection of titles and authors all of which you can offer as suggestions when you are asked that maddeningly still common question; “Does Scotland really have its own literature?”. The answer is yes, it always has, and it is one which continues to thrive.