Tag Archives: short stories

‘The Beautiful Birds of the Aftermath’ in Gutter no 15

Squint and you can see my name on the cover

Squint and you can see my name on the cover

 

The new issue of Gutter is out now, and features one of my stories from Mayhem & Death – as well as a wonderful review of On the Edges of Vision. My book turns one year old on the 18th of this month. It was launched at Waterstones Argyle Street, right before I headed out on the American book tour. Hard to believe that it’s been a year already! I’m still not over the book winning the Saltire First Book of the Year award either.

A year, a year – and what have I been up to lately. I know I’ve been quiet here. Much of that is to do with the fact I’ve been working away on line edits for Flesh of the Peach, coming out next spring. It’s been a wonderful process, neither too invasive nor not rigorous enough – edits from an excellent editor are so important for tweaking bits into focus and letting the heart of the novel shine through. Now the book is off to the proofreader, and I’m anticipating the next phases: the cover and blurbs. Still floating ahead of me in the dusk. While that happens, I’ve work to do on the witchy novel I’ve spoken about here. Drafting and redrafting. Circling in on what is important there. The bones and the flesh of the thing refined. It’s easy to get discouraged at this – so far from the finish line that it seems to be an impossible distance away. It’s been almost two years since I completed the novella version of the book, and by optimistic calculations perhaps another year before it’s finished. I think come the autumn it will be easier. It’s an autumnal book, a little eerie, a little surreal. Littleg at all in kinship with Flesh of the Peach, which is, as my editor said, a ‘dark star’ of a novel. But part of me now, having read the earlier book, wants to bring something in line with the latter. I might have to dig down for texture, something a bit brutal – but trying to do so without crushing the sweet, folktale feel I want it to have. Hmm. Work to be done. I’d better get started.

 

If you’d like to buy Gutter no 15, here’s the link. You’ll be supporting writing from Scotland and elsewhere. Lots to read and much to discover, and only £6.99.

 

 

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Big Songs, Wild Words

If you are near Edinburgh tomorrow evening this announcement is for you:

 

Come one come all

 

– for a very special fusion of Canadian pop and Scottish writing! Come hear singer-songwriters Iskwé and Melissa Bandura, along with writers Ailsa Crum, Laura Tansley and Helen McClory.

Iskwé (pronounced iss-kway, meaning “Woman” in her native language) draws upon her Cree/Dene (Aboriginal) and Irish roots to produce a sound filled with booming bass lines and heavy beats, defining her distinctive offering of Alternative RnB/TripHop.

She has recently been listed by the CBC “Top 10 Canadian Musicians You Need to Know” and twice by The Grid TO as “One to Watch”.

Melissa Bandura is a member of Canadian band Familiar Wild: Familiar Wild writes intuitively from a melodic space, what results is a brand of “Pop music with heart and soul…& brain…& kindness”- DJ Champion.

Readings from Ailsa Crum, Helen McClory (author of On the Edges of Vision – Saltire First Book of the Year 2015), and Laura Tansley add wildness, salt and weirdness to flavour the night.

Merchandise and books for sale. Ditto Alcohol (and soft drinks) in abundance.

£5 on the door.

 

Iskwé

Melissa Bandura

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#ScotLitFest and Brexit

One very good thing, and one depressing thing!

One week ago, the first online literary festival of Scottish writing happened – right in the wake of Britain voting to leave the EU (as you may know, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly to remain within it). #ScotLitFest took place across Twitter and livestreams and Youtube, and was fantastic, a shining point in moment where the future yawned open ahead of us. You can catch up with some of the discussions, readings and interviews of #ScotLitFest by checking out their Youtube page. And there you’ll see a discussion between Kirsty Logan and myself, as chaired by Sasha de Buyl-Pisco. It’s about an hour long, and we talk about all sorts of things, from short stories, to novels, to bad art and notions of reality.

 

Make yourself a tea – perhaps this is even a two-tea event.

 

On the topic of Brexit, 3AM Magazine (who have published my work before) have been gathering the single-sentence reactions of writers, publishers and other literary types on this article. I’ve contributed my instant impression, though others have had more constructive or analytical things to say. On Wednesday I took myself and my opinions outside, and attended a pro-EU rally outside Hollyrood, the Scottish Parliament.

 

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There were some good speakers (and some harder to hear) but Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Green Party, said it best – humans are a migratory species, and that is a good thing, he said. He wanted us to celebrate the inherent value of all people. No ‘good’ migrants for him. I have to hope that voices like his win over. Brexit has caused a lot of division, and have led already to a bubbling up of (of course always present) racism and xenophobia. Where now for us? Well, for Scotland, as for Northern Ireland, the future seems particularly uncertain, but with a way forward for Scotland at least that I am putting my hopes on: There is talk of a second independence referendum for Scotland, and a few previous ‘no’ voters I’ve spoken to have said with Britain wanting to leave the EU, they would now vote ‘yes’ for an independent Scotland within the EU – an community which after all protects so many rights as well as providing funding for infrastructure and institutions alike. But this is all ahead, all possible, or impossible. The future, as I said, has opened up its jaws. What happens now depends on the voices of the people and the actions of those in charge.

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On the Edges of Vision goes on Presale

!!!

 

If you’d like a copy, it’s just $14.95 with free US shipping direct from the publishers

support a great small press!

have my book in your possession!

If you’d like read some of the stories from the collection, they have been published in a few places online, and I’ve put them on my Fiction page to make these easy to find.

If you’d like to help out with the Kickstarter for On the Edges of Vision’s book tour, it’s 80% funded and in need of a boost.

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On the Edges of Vision arrives in Edinburgh

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Utterly thrilled to hold my first ever book in my actual hand! The book itself has mysterious qualities – luminous, highlighter yellow in real life, it turns a softer yellow on camera. On the inside it has beautiful fonts and a charming layout and basically everything possible has gone right in its creation and I am so grateful to Queen’s Ferry Press for everything. Here’s hoping the stories inside will connect with you. On the Edges of Vision will be available for pre-release this Tuesday. If you still haven’t heard, I’m running a Kickstarter to help with the costs of the US book tour (click through to watch the video / donate what you can). Kickstarter have very kindly made the campaign a staff pick!

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Umbrella Death Weather

It’s the season of Umbrella Death Weather in Glasgow now, and if the climate is anything like the last time I lived here, we’re in for this for the next few months. The wind whips up, the rains lash, and umbrellas succumb, crowding the bins and sides of the street along with the golden leaves slowly turning to mush. It’s a time to be indoors, reading, writing, cosying up with a creepy film, adjusting your excursions to limit them to work and back, with a stop on the road home to get supplies. It’s the Hallowe’en lull, before Christmas indulgence and shopping cranks into gear (also in the time of Umbrella Death, because there is never much snow here).  For now, I don’t resent the weather breaking out. This past Summer and early Autumn have been unusually kind, balmy even.  But towards March it will be a different story. But, for now, the novelty of terrible weather.

 

I have a little news – I am now reading submissions for Necessary Fiction. I’m glad of it. I’ve enjoyed the opportunities I’ve had in the past to read slush – the sense of discovery, a chance to appreciate other writer’s approaches and sharpen my eye – so I’m really grateful and glad to be involved now. Send send send! And obviously, read the site’s fiction feature to get an idea of what appeals (and also because it’s important to know that you like reading the stories Necessary Fiction publish, and that you’d be thrilled to be picked for such company).

 

Back to work for me – listening, I can’t hear the wind any more. Just the old pipes and the white noise of the dehumidifier.

Work, reading, chill, slush of the leafy and writerly sort.

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Reading the dollhouse

Kirsty Logan's The Rental Heart and other fairytales

 

 

Yesterday was the Glasgow launch of Kirsty Logan’s The Rental Heart And Other Fairytales, published by Salt, a packed-out event with people sitting on the floor in some spots. Chat was led by the indefatigable Peggy Hughes, and some very interesting things were said by Kirsty on her writing process, particularly the idea of constructing a ‘dollhouse’ or a single room of a dollhouse, in the case of shorter fiction. It seems to fit her writing voice so well; lucid, compelling arrangements of tactile detail, a vivid control within the imaginative space. I was lucky enough to snag a signed copy – books ran out before the end. All in all a huge success. You can read lots of Kirsty’s stories online for a taster of the book; why not have a wee look here and here (from my tenure at Necessary Fiction). You can order the book from Salt directly here. Congratulations to one of Scotland’s up-and-coming literary stars.

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