Books

Review: Neu! Reekie! After Curfew – BookLaunch/Bill Drummond/Mark Cousins Rating 95%

Review: Neu! Reekie! After Curfew – BookLaunch/Bill Drummond/Mark Cousins

This special evening to celebrate the launch of After Curfew; an anthology of new work by twelve writers who had each spent a month at Cushendall Tower in Co. Antrim was introduced by founders Michael Pederson and Kevin Williamson. The occasion was also marking the end of a year of Residency at Leith Theatre for Neu Reekie with the support of Leith Theatre Trust. Cushendall Tower is owned by the national treasure that is Bill Drummond, who is the publisher of After Curfew and the highlight of the evening was Bill’s quest as to ascertain whether Bill loves Elvis or Elvis loves Bill? Answer to be posted on a wall near you in the near future.

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Tawnya Selene Renelle: Giving permission to have those feelings as well

Some poets concoct delicate metaphors to say what they have to say – Tawnya Selene Renelle from Bellingham, Washington, is not one of those. Now based in Glasgow and working on her PhD in Creative Writing, Tawnya released her debut collection this exquisite corpse this June, which, according to British poet Louise Welsh, “evokes shades of Nan Goldin” and dissects experiences with grief, sex, family, fetish and the body with unceremonious candour. Back in Glasgow after touring her book for three weeks in the UK and at home in the US, Tawnya spoke to The Fountain about her approach to writing and creating a platform for people.

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Review: The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst Rating 83%

Review: The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

The Sparsholt Affair opens in the manner of thousands of other books. It’s the early 1940s, the war is raging and we, the readers, are midst an Oxford college getting introduced to a handful of characters. We encounter the title character David Sparsholt immediately as a mere ‘shadow’ seen through the window and the first part of the book, which is divided into five altogether, is mainly focused on the small circle of male protagonists and their fascination with the figure of David Sparsholt. But if you think that the book’s focus is David you are wrong for his name is a symbol of a much bigger topic, a movement and its history that has slowly but steadily changed for the better: the gay movement.

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Review: Scotia Extremis,  Poems from the Extremes of Scotland’s Psyche Edited by Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone Rating 90%

Review: Scotia Extremis, Poems from the Extremes of Scotland’s Psyche Edited by Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone

Edited by poets Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone, Scotia Extremis is a poetry anthology, which seeks to explore the ‘soul of Scotland’ through a selection of poems specially commissioned from poets from all around the country. The anthology’s title is inspired, in part, by the following line from Hugh MacDiarmid’s great early poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle:

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Review: I Choose Elena by Lucia Osborne-Crowley Rating 88%

Review: I Choose Elena by Lucia Osborne-Crowley

A significant essay, published by The Indigo Press, is Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena, which was mostly about the insidious effect that trauma can have on the physical make-up of the body. Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, she was violently raped on a night out. The injuries she sustained that evening ended her gymnastics career, and eventually manifested in life-long chronic illnesses, which medical professionals now believe can be caused by untreated trauma.

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Review: The Paper Lovers by Gerard Woodward Rating 90%

Review: The Paper Lovers by Gerard Woodward

At a first glance, reading the blurb and looking at the cover, The Paper Lovers does not jump straight out at a reader for it seems somewhat mundane and restraint. It is a story that revolves a handful of characters set in a somewhat unremarkable city with people living stereotypical suburban lives. And yet, if given the chance, the book really grips you with such intensity that it becomes a page-turner that you will not want to close until you are done.

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Review: Catherine Simpson, EIBF 2019 Rating 89%

Review: Catherine Simpson, EIBF 2019

When I first read Catherine Simpson’s memoir, I found myself wanting to send her direct messages on twitter, saying ‘I loved this bit,’ or ‘that is so true,’ or ‘this is just as I remembered!’ Being close in age, I totally ‘got’ the experiences being described in the book. Which is to say, not only is this story universal but also, it’s historically relatable.

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Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson Rating 77%

Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

If the premise for Frankissstein, combine the story of Frankenstein with AI, was not enough to hook your interest in to Jeanette Winterson’s most recent offereing, then her Edinburgh Book Festival was a sure fire winner, dynamic and theatrical in its precision. Addressing Artificial Intelligence in Brexit Britain, Winterson’s newest work feels fresh and sees her retain her post as a gifted writer with enthusiasm and flair. An affecting read, it will be difficult to explore this novel without notions, feelings, laughter and thoughts of your own.

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Review: Colson Whitehead with Kirsty Wark, EIBF 2019 Rating 77%

Review: Colson Whitehead with Kirsty Wark, EIBF 2019

Another understandably sold-out Edinburgh International Book Festival event was one of the last of the final weekend, the hotly-anticipated, Kirsty Wark, in conversation with award-winning author, Colson Whitehead. Renowned for his successful with The Underground Railroad, which not only saw him win the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, and if thats not enough, the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. And then on top of that, it was named by Barack Obama as one of the most important books of his presidency. So are we really surprised to witness Colson in packed-out room with his most latest offering, The Nickel Boys.

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Review: Jeanette Winterson – Modern Monsters and Mad Genius, EIBF 2019 Rating 88%

Review: Jeanette Winterson – Modern Monsters and Mad Genius, EIBF 2019

Jeanette Winterson is well-considered in the literary world, becoming renowned with her first, yes her first, book, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Having won several awards for her writing and gained a CBE, it was hardly surprising to realise her event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year was a sell-out, and after her delivery, well, even more so.

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