By Sam Best
Historically, Scotland has its share of pretty alright writers, but you don’t need to look far to see that this tradition is alive and well nowadays as well. Storytelling has always been a vital part of our culture and now more than ever, there are writers, literary magazines and events galore. I’ve trawled the land (okay, the internet) for some great stuff to get you started on your new reading list (I know, as if you don’t have enough out the library already).
Bethany Ruth Anderson’s Swings and Roundabouts launch
Anderson’s writing has been described as ‘John Green, but grittier’, so brace yourselves. Her début novel, Swings and Roundabouts, is a love story at its heart, except instead of boy meets girl, think Manic Depressive meets Body Dysmorphic. Anderson’s writing is an unflinching look at not only how mental illnesses can affect one in four of us, but how they can affect everyone and everything around us too.
New Writing Showcase
Three of Scotland’s literary magazines – Octavius, Far Off Places and From Glasgow to Saturn – have joined forces to bring you an afternoon of readings, drinking, and possibly even cake. Litmags are a great way to get your writing out there and there’s a real sense of community here. Previous writers from these magazines have gone on to win awards, sign book deals, and generally live the high life. All of the magazines are nice and approachable and this is your chance to get a taste of what the editors like (as well as cornering them to try and talk them into publishing you).
Samuel Best’s Shop Front launch
A shameless plug, I know, but hey. My début novel, Shop Front, comes out on March 24th and I’m having a book party on Thursday 27th to celebrate. Described by writing institution Alan Bissett as ‘A howl and a sigh from Generation Austerity’, Shop Front is the story of an unemployed graduate who moves back home to a world of shelf-stacking, knife-crime and cancer scares. Cheery stuff, but honestly, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s some cheery chat about Disney films, Scottish Independence and that awkward moment you bump into someone you used to know from secondary school.
Previous called the Wee Festival of Words, CoastWord brings literature to the beautiful Dunbar coast. Although the programme is yet to be announced, it’s set to feature a host of exciting authors and events that’ll whet your thirst for books (trust me, I’ve had a sneak peek). With everything from an open mic to workshops and residencies, CoastWord is bound to put Dunbar on the map as another Scottish destination for writers and readers alike.
The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant
Enjoy theatre? Fancy being a part of an exciting new show? Alan Bissett’s latest show, The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant, is set to be staged at the Edinburgh Fringe this August and is a cracker of a play on Scottish Independence. What’s more, it’s crowd-funded, which means you get the feel-good factor of helping put on a show as well as a whole host of rewards depending on your donation.
The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant is fundraising here.