Stepping into its second decade with well-earned confidence and style, Glasgow’s Aye Write! festival is a must for all book addicts and lovers of literature, with this year’s programme promising something for everyone.
All life is here, with authors talking food, music, love, politics, money, evolution, revolution and Star Trek.
Here are a few selected highlights to give you something to think about, but you can peruse the full programme at your leisure here.
You can also keep up to date with events as they unfold by following on Twitter or on Facebook. Tickets can be bought here.
One of Scots Whay Hae!‘s books of 2015 was Stuart Cosgrove’s Detroit ’67: The Year That Changed Soul Music, and when Stuart talked about that book on the SWH! podcast he also mentioned that his next venture was going to be a history of Northern Soul, one of his great loves. That book is called Young Soul Rebel, and he will be talking about it on Friday 11th March. Cosgrove is steeped in soul music and this is a must for all music lovers.
On the same day music journalist Barney Hoskyns is in town to talk about Woodstock and the musicians and characters drawn to that place. On Saturday 12th, Cosgrove and Hoskyns’ fellow NME alumni Paul Du Noyer will discuss his book on Paul McCartney which is based on a series of conversations the two have had over the decades. McCartney is sometimes portrayed as a figure of fun these days, but he is one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, and Du Noyer has had almost unprecedented access for this book. Continue reading
The latest podcast is one of two halves. In the first, Ali talks to writer Zoe Strachan, (wearing her editor’s hat), about all things Out There, the anthology of LGBT writing which was published late last year, and which Scots Whay Hae! reviewed on the 18/01/15.
The two discuss the influences on and the inspirations behind the book’s conception, the perceived problems with anthologies, writer biographies, the trouble with editing, and the process of bringing so many writers together to make a coherent whole.
The second half is made up of some terrific readings from Nicola White, David Kinloch and Louise Welsh (see below), all of whom have their work included in Out There, and which were recorded at the launch of LGBT History Month at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow at the end of January. Continue reading
There is a common, if idealistic, perception of Scotland as a liberal and tolerant society, leaning nonchalantly to the left (with exceptions, such as those who like to take a morning stroll in celebration of ancient religious rivalry, and golf clubs); a place where a man’s a man for a’ that, but such a generalisation can lead to complacency and may hide troubling specifics. It is worth reflecting that homosexual acts between consenting male adults were criminal until 1980, when the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act was passed, 13 years after such legislation was passed in Wales and England. Consider how Scotland, and the rest of the world, changed in other ways between 1967 and 1980 and that disparity is as shameful as it is shocking. As Jeff Meek asks in his Afterword to Out There, the recent anthology of Scottish LGBT writing, “Why was Scotland different?”.
It’s a question which Christopher Whyte, whose story ‘Unfamiliar Rooms’ also features in Out There, posed in the introduction to his 1985 book Gendering The Nation: Studies In Modern Scottish Literature. He explores the theory that the growing importance of questions of nationalism in this period overshadowed other issues of equality. For a while it was if Scotland could only deal with one thing at a time. Certainly it has been posited before that Scottish Literature was spending so much energy justifying its existence in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s that it was a rare voice which commented that what was being offered as a Scottish canon, and, in turn, the criticism of it, was hardly diverse in terms of analysis, gender or voice. If you believe that a country’s literature is a reflection of its society, culture and people, then the connections are clear. Continue reading