Review: Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Much hype has surrounded Transcription for the best part of a year now, though we’ve seen and heard nothing more than the title and the cover image of a flamingo. For a book that isn’t published until September this year, it has a lot to live up to. However its author is popular, multi-million selling Kate Atkinson, and this is her first literary outing since the critically acclaimed A God in Ruins in 2015. So it is worth the wait.

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Review: Ali Smith – Spark and Time, EIBF 2018

“You’re going to be spellbound,” promises Val McDermid as she introduces “Scotland’s greatest living writer who’s here to talk about Scotland’s greatest dead writer.” Ali Smith’s lecture on Muriel Spark as part of the Edinburgh Book Festival’s centenary celebrations of Spark’s birth is a sell-out, much publicised, and filled with the crème de la crème of the Scottish literary scene.

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Review: Sarah Crossan – Life and Death Row, EIBF 2018

Although Sunday in Edinburgh was wet and miserable, the same couldn’t be said for the children and young people’s corner of Charlotte Square. Edinburgh International Book Festival’s dedicated children’s events and activities area always comes alive with excited youngsters engaging in literature, and such a sight soothes the soul.

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Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Let’s get the aesthetics over with first: the jacket cover is cool, a space-sky with planets in a rainbow orbit. The hard cover, under said jacket, is beautiful, a blended prism of rainbow colours. This is not a severe lesson in womanning up and getting over oneself, Lord knows there’s enough of that about. Instead, Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet (Notes from here on in) offers gentle guidance on how to keep your head when the world around you seems to be losing it’s.

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Review: The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

Born on the same night as a fire-blazed comet hurtles across the sky, Ursula Flight’s story begins as brightly and excitingly as it will continue in Anna-Marie Crowhurst’s charming debut. Ursula is a gloriously uplifting character, and is given a strong narrative voice by Crowhurst. Though the vocabulary keeps in time with its 17th Century setting, The Illumination of Ursula Flight feels like a very modern tale, and the eponymous Ursula is a recognisable heroine.

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