Literary Gossip

As you may recall there was a lot of gnashing of teeth and rending of garments when the Literature Working Group proposed an Academy of Scottish Writers, with members of the Society of Authors in Scotland in particular lamenting it was a cabal of, basically, nearly dead white males (like the image above). So how will they react to the news that the Association of Scottish Lifeless Literary Studies is, in recognition of its 40th anniversary, is to elect “41 women and men who have made a substantial and distinctive contribution to the Scottish literary tradition” as honorary fellows? At present, they list Edwin Morgan and A L Kennedy as honorary members, and ALK’s not all that sure if she got a badge or anything. Now, doesn’t this sound rather like an Academy-in-Waiting? They’re keeping schtum as to which writers, academics etc are to be uplifted into the empyrean: but I’ll let you know as soon as I know.

My plan to spend Easter reading selections from the wonderful Imprint Academic “Library of Scottish Philosophy” was slightly stymied by the arrival, today, of ten books from the Penguin “Central European Dark Humour” library, including the wonderful E M Cioran’s A Short History of Decay, Thomas Bernhard’s Old Masters, Karel Capek’s The War with the Newts and Gregor von Rezzori’s The Snows of Yesteryear (odd choice: his Memoirs of an Anti-Semite is a masterpiece). I can’t resist a title like Gyorgy Faludy’s My Happy Days in Hell.

Among the browsable moments of delight this week:

Finally, this week’s review – James Kelman’s first collection of short stories in 12 years.

And the awful news that Bloomsbury is to re-jacket all the Harry Potter novels. Could this news have influenced their decision? They’ve also cancelled – yes, cancelled,  not delayed – Suzie Mackenzie’s biography of Gordon Brown, originally slated for February, then moved to July. Bringing it out in February did seem like Hamlet without Act V.


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