June’s ‘Scottish Books Long Weekend’ Opens for Registration

In News by Porter Anderson

Taking the digital route, Publishing Scotland and Books From Scotland offer a series of online events to showcase Scottish books and writers you may have missed during the pandemic.

Inspirational pandemic-era public messaging in Glasgow. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Mo and Paul

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Plans Amid Uneven COVID-19 Easings
One weekend, 14 digital events. If you’re still able to face the Zoom logo and not break out in hives, this may be for you.

The Scottish Books Long Weekend is a program announced today (May 17) from Publishing Scotland and its site, Books From Scotland. It runs June 10 to 13 and features a countdown clock on its site.

Devised as “a celebration of Scotland’s rich and diverse writing and publishing landscape,” the weekend’s events are to include “thrillers, teenage dreams and childrens’ storytelling as well as politics, publishing, history, Gaelic fiction and more” all put across digitally by “a brilliant lineup of Scotland’s writers.”

Not unlike a book fair, the serious intent here is to give publishers and authors a chance to highlight some of their work, in the context of the Publishing Scotland program, which works to support and promote Scottish literature. The shortage of public appearance opportunities has taken a toll in Scotland as elsewhere, as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic wears on, of course.

Among events featured in the lineup is the Booker shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project), whose newer work, Case Study, is due out on October 7 from Saraband.

There’s also a focus on an illustration workshop with Kate Milner; Alex Renton in conversation with Lisa Williams, founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, on his family’s own legacy in the slave trade; and “YA sensation” Estelle Maskame talking with radio host Edi Stark on her (Maskame’s) 10 years in writing.

In a prepared statement, Publishing Scotland’s CEO Marion Sinclair is quoted, saying, “With the cancellation of so many book events in 2020 and continuing into this year, we wanted to put our publishers under the spotlight this spring and early summer with an event that focuses on the wide range of books and ideas emerging from the independent scene.

Marion Sinclair

“The Scottish Books Long Weekend aims to capture some of the dynamism and diversity of publishing with tasters on fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and working in the industry.

“Now that the bookshops are open again, we look forward to seeing the current crop of books and writers making their way to new audiences.”

Reopenings are not so clearly in place everywhere in Scotland, however. BBC News is reporting that Glasgow has not yet been released as most of the country has been from tough coronavirus constraints. A rapid rise in cases is blamed, first minister Nicola Sturgeon saying that the move to Level 2 from Level 3 for Glasgow (and the more northerly Moray) needs to wait.

Maybe a visit with so many points of Scotland’s publishing prowess will be just the thing in June. Included among the independent presses represented are Sandstone, Luath, Monstrous Regiment, and Jamie Byng’s Canongate, which on Thursday (May 13) won the British Book Award for independent press.

The weekend is free, and you register for each event from its page. We’ll give you the day-by-day content, which will link you to the events you’re most interested in.

Thursday June 10

  • First Love: In Conversation with Estelle Maskame

Friday June 11

Saturday June 12

Sunday June 13

More from Publishing Perspectives on Scotland is here, more from us on translation is here.

And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.