Both at home and abroad, the Scots use Robert Burn’s birthday as an excuse to get quite extraordinarily drunk and mind bogglingly maudlin; I like to think we do it very well.
This year it was even better as Rabbie aka the Bard turned 250 on January 25th and gave the Scottish Government and tourist industry a chance to roll out Scots culture big time, celebrating whisky, golf, ancestry, Scottish inventors and innovation, as well as another opportunity for Scots everywhere to get pissed of course.
As a little side project “Reading Roots” has been developed to showcase Scottish literary diversity. Tartan-clad Scottish librarians have been playing hunt the haggis not with “puddins” but with books deposited in public places à la Bookcrossing. Hopefully copies of the Oor Wullie annual, Trainspotting and the Bard’s finest poems will find grateful homes.
The Reading Roots website also has a taster of titles celebrating Scots writers both old and new. The lists include:
- Glaswegian writer Laura Marney, her latest title My best friend has issues is apparently “a romp through the fleshpots Barcelona”. I also suspect Nobody loves a ginger baby by her may too be worth a scan based, if for no other reason, on the sheer outrageousness of the title. How very un-pc.
- Jackie Kay is a well-known poet, short-story writer and novelist, Wish I was here is her haunting collection of short stories on the eternal theme of love. She also wrote The trumpet a fantastic and surprising novel from 1998.
- Christopher Rush’s Hellfire and herring: A childhood remembered records the authors 1950’s childhood in the small Fife fishing village of St Monans and sounds suitably “Wee Free Church” with a salty tinge.
- To further reinforce that no one does dark as well as the Scots Lin Anderson’s Rhonda MacLeod detective series is described as “a heart-stopping sprint through Glasgow’s dark underbelly”, a welcome distraction now that John Rebus is no longing scooping pints at the Oxford Bar.
- Finally Anne Donovan gets a mention; she is the author of Buddha-Da, strong in Scots dialect and strong in story, a tale of worlds colliding. Her latest title is Being Emily and follows the family life of Fiona O’Connell, a young girl whose mother has recently died.
Over thirty million people globally claim Scottish ancestry; prove your Scots credentials, grab a whisky, snack on a haggis and read a great Scottish novel.