By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Plans Amid Uneven COVID-19 EasingsOne 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.
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.
“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
- What Next For Scotland at Home and Abroad? Talking Politics with Malcolm Combe, Annie Tindley, Stephen Gethins & Angie Zelter
- The Wild, Wild West: Talking Crime Fiction with Diarmid MacArthur, Leela Soma & Robbie Morrison
- School Daze: Talking Teenage Kicks with Ely Percy & Kirkland Ciccone
- Beauty, Borders, Belonging: In Conversation with Kei Miller and Bashabi Fraser
Saturday June 12
- The Fairy Song: Storytelling with Janis Mackay
- Learning Through Lockdown: The Impact of Coronavirus on Education in Scotland
- So You Want to Get Into Publishing? Roles Demystified with Vicki Rutherford, Leah McDowall, Ceris Jones, Sha Nazir, Kirstin Lamb
- Catastrophe, Conspiracy and Community: Talking Survival with Ewan Morrison and Donald S. Murray
- The Legacy of Slavery: Alex Renton in Conversation with Lisa Williams
Sunday June 13
- Illustration Workshop with Writer and Illustrator Kate Milner
- The Past is Another Country: Talking Historical Fiction with Iain F Macleod, Calum L Macleod and Graham Cooper
- Edinburgh’s Underworlds: Talking Gothic and Crime with Fiona Erskine, T. L Huchu and Kaite Welsh
- Case Study: In conversation with Graeme Macrae Burnet
And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.