The day Little Interpretations fell off the face of the earth…

 I whined a couple of posts ago that my new job was keeping my insanely busy – and so I’d neglected my blog. Understatement of the year.

I logged into Little Interpretations today to publish my new post, a review of Review: Bukowski’s Post Office, only to find that no-one had actually viewed my blog in over two weeks. Nothing. ZILCH. Zero. Cue to panic.

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The Scottish Book Awards 2011: Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay

The Scottish Book Awards 2011So let’s kick things off! In July I will be giving away the four titles that have been shortlisted for The Scottish Book Awards 2011 – find out how to enter the giveaway here! In the non-fiction category, Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road is one of these titles and I reviewed it a couple of months ago…

Jackie Kay‘s writing oozes ‘normality’, it’s unashamedly honest and at times unapologetically simple. But her personal life has been neither normal nor simple, and her identity has very much influenced her work; a Scottish poet and writer, Kay was born in Edinburgh to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. She was adopted at birth by a communist white couple and was brought up in Glasgow.

In Red Dust Road: An Autobiographical Journey, Kay tells us about the journey she took to trace her birth parents. Her journey is a metaphorical and physical one: from Glasgow to Milton Keynes to Aberdeen to Nigeria and back again, to the forked roads and the roads not taken and the long winding roads. Emotionally, the journey is a difficult one, and Kay doesn’t take the easy route. Continue reading

The Scottish Book Awards 2011 Giveaway

To celebrate the 39th year of The Scottish Book Awards, hosted by Creative Scotland, I will be hosting a giveaway!

In the month of July, you will be given the chance to win all of the four titles shortlisted for this years award. Each of which exemplify Scottish literary excellence:

The Scottish Book Awards Creative Scotland 2011

  • Leila Aboulela, Lyrics Alley (fiction)
  • Jackie Kay, Red Dust Road (non-fiction)
  • Stewart Conn, The Breakfast Room (poetry)
  • Sue Peebles, The Death of Lomond Freil (first book)

The winner of the The Scottish Book Awards will have their book named Scottish Book of the Year, and the author will win a whopping £25,000. What’s more, for the first time in the history of the awards, you will be responsible for choosing a winner. The public vote will commence on the 16 May and end on 31 July 2011. So get voting here!! Continue reading

World Book Night 2011: The ups & the downs

It’s been almost a week since the hype surrounding World Book Night reached its crescendo, as 20,000 givers prepared to hand out 1 million books across the UK. On the Friday before the book giving commenced, book givers received a welcome, appreciative email from Jamie Byng, Chair of World Book Night:

From the moment this wildly ambitious project to celebrate writing and reading on one night was conceived, it was the passion of readers that we always knew was going to lie at its very heart.  IF it is a success, it is going to be down to the personal passion of the givers who are sharing their love for a book with hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

I signed up to become a World Book Night giver in December, choosing to giveaway The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. With impending library closure and the general downturn trend in book buying, promoting reading seemed like a perfectly good idea. Yet, the idea quickly attracted critics like Vanessa Robertson, owner of the Edinburgh Bookshop, who called the idea ‘misguided and misjudged’. She suggested that it would ‘flood the market with free books and devalue the work of authors in the eyes of the public’. Seriously, what a load of nonsense.

World Book Night blurb
However, this attack on the book-giving event was a clever one; it hit us faithful book lovers where it hurt. It was no-ones intention to ‘flood the market’ or ‘devalue’ writing and so givers (myself included) frantically scrambled to come up with even more ingenious ideas, so that we looked as though not only did we want to spread the joy of reading, we now wanted to appease every critic and independent bookseller in the land. As more elaborate, fan-dangled book giving plans emerged, I regret being pressured into coming up with my own explicitly-book-industry-friendly plan. Continue reading

Save Our Libraries Day: 5th February 2011

Like This!

Libraries set people free. They’re not a luxury. They’re not a relic. We must fight to save them

Hari Kunzru

As part of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, spending cuts will result in public library closures across the UK, eroding our cultural foundation and affecting readers everywhere. Cameron, books for all, not just the wealthy please!

I am not going to sit here and bang on about the importance of public libraries. It’s pretty straight forward: reading matters and libraries matter. I’m certain that the majority of people reading this post will have visited a public library at some point in their lives. As a child, I know I was encouraged to borrow and read books from my local library (and then harangued by my parents to return them before the overdue fees started piling up).  I’m CONFIDENT that my interest in reading would not have been able to flourish without those four-weekly library trips with my dad.

This Saturday, 5th February is Save Our Libraries Day. It is imperative that anyone with a fond memory of their local public library gets behind this campaign… Continue reading