We’re delighted to announce our list for the first half of 2017. It’s our most ambitious yet and features some extraordinary talent. We offer a mix of outstanding fiction from established writers, some glittering debuts, together with an eclectic list of illustrated non-fiction and Scottish interest.
Unspeakable – Dilys Rose
Edinburgh in the late 17th century is centre of religious authoritarianism, intolerance and fear. The flames of the city’s famous Enlightenment are yet to burn. Based on the true story of Thomas Aikenhead, this is the fictional account of a 20 year-old student who was the last person in Britain to be tried and executed for blasphemy.
Dilys Rose is one of Scotland’s very best literary writers. This is a brilliant historical novel, from an acclaimed and award-winning writer at the height of her powers, with great resonance for today.
‘Dilys Rose is one of the finest prose writers around’ Anne Donovan, author of Buddha Da and Gone are the Leaves
‘[a] magic box of a novel’ Alan Warner, author of The Stars in the Bright Sky and Dead Man’s Pedal
A Woman of Integrity – J David Simons
Laura Scott is an aging British actor whose career is on the slide. She’s drawn to the luminous life of Hollywood silent movie actress, Georgina Hepburn, who avoided the compromises of Laura’s career, only to leave acting and become a pioneering pilot in the 1930s. As Laura pushes to produce a one woman play about Georgina’s life, in a questionable act of betrayal by a would-be patron, layers of the past are uncovered, revealing that integrity also comes at a cost.
Acclaimed author J David Simons fifth novel, this is a subtle and complex exploration of the creative life.
‘A Woman of Integrity is an impressive read from an experienced pen. Beautifully textured, Simons’ elegiac prose is written with an admirable confidence.’ Lisa O’Donnell, winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize, author of The Death of Bees and Closed Doors
All the Galaxies – Philip Miller
The Lovely Bones meets Margaret Attwood in this extraordinary, deeply moving, supernatural story of a young man’s journey to find his mother, wrapped in a dystopian novel about an epic battle between good and evil that threatens to destroy a near future city.
John Fallon is a disillusioned journalist on a failing Glasgow newspaper. After a second failed independence referendum, Scotland is in turmoil, having broken into a number of autonomous city states. Roland, his son, has gone missing after a student protest turns into a violent clash with the newly militarised police. As Roland makes a shocking discovery that requires an impossible choice, Fallon finds that a great deal more is at stake than the future of one nation.
In All the Galaxies, Miller’s second novel presents a mesmerising morality tale than proves both a compulsive page-turner and unforgettable emotional journey.
‘Elegant and enthralling. A wonderful read’ Denise Mina, author of The Field of Blood and The End of the Wasp Season
‘visionary, apocalyptic but strangely warm, with a strong watermark of love and a moral heart… And it made me cry.’ Daniela Sacerdoti, author of Watch Over Me and Take Me Home
‘unsettling and uncommon and darkly atmospheric, with disarming flashes of hope and beauty.’ Helen Sedgwick, author of The Comet Seekers
Someone Always Robs the Poor – Carl MacDougall
A long-awaited new collection of stories from one of Scotland’s most acclaimed writers.
A young man returns from London, facing the prospect of reunion with a young daughter he’s never met. A woman recounts her family’s doomed attempt to emigrate from Poland to America 70 years before. A creative writing tutor is shocked by the story of one of his students, who is connected to a past atrocity in Bosnia. A former architect fights a losing battle with alcoholism and the ghosts from his past.
Here is a new collection of brilliant stories from the multi-award winning elder statesman of Scottish literature, exploring themes of poverty, migration, alienation, accountability and alcoholism, with an impressive depth and emotional range.
‘Brimming with the qualities we’ve come to expect’… beautiful writing, real people, poignant and wounded like us’ Anne Lamott, author of Blue Shoe
Leaving is My Colour – Amy Burns
Set in the Southern US, this is a funny, smart, sassy and deeply moving account of a young woman’s disintegration and redemption. After her family becomes unexpectedly wealthy, Rachel, a witty, intelligent young woman, succumbs to drink, drugs and OCD, falling in and out of rehab and dysfunctional relationships. Leaving is My Colour follows her often hilarious, always bittersweet, attempts to make it back from the brink and reconnect with those she loves. A brilliant and unforgettable new voice.
‘Relentless, delicious mischief spills from this family’s eye-popping dysfunction. Whipsmart and wickedly witty…’ Kate Tough, author of Head for the Edge and Keeping Walking
Flesh of the Peach – Helen McClory
In New York, the ending of 28 year old artist Sarah Brown’s recent relationship with a married woman has coincided with the death of her estranged, aristocratic mother, leaving her a substantial amount of money and an unrecognised burden of toxic grief. Rather than return home to England, she decides to travel by Greyhound to her mother’s cabin in New Mexico. There she’s drawn into a passionate relationship with Theo, a man whose quiet stability seems to complement her mercurial character.
But as Sarah’s emotional turmoil grows, there are warning signs that tragedy could ensue. In Flesh of the Peach Saltire First Book of the Year winner, Helen McClory, paints a beautiful and painful portrait of a woman’s unravelling, combining exquisite, and at times experimental, prose with a powerful understanding of the effects of unresolved loss.
‘McClory’s is a lepidopterist’s language that skewers with playful, painful precision.’ Joanna Walsh, author of Vertigo
‘Bold and unflinching… a brutal, clear-eyed study of a failing artist that shatters our expectations of what a woman should be.’ Kirsty Logan author of The Gracekeepers
The Last Wave – Gillian Best
Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections set on the South Coast on England, and the nuclear family explodes. A beautifully rendered family drama set in England between the 1950s and the present, following the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children and her close friends.
Debut author, Best, a native of Toronto, presents a wholly authentic tragicomic portrait of family life as it is buffeted by illness, intolerance, anger, failure and regret. A mature, accomplished and compelling new voice; a novel soaked in empathy and salt water.
‘In this deftly-woven and haunting debut novel, Gillian Best brings us, in many voices and across and through time, those who are submerged and carried, who fight and rise.’ Tania Hershman, author of Some of Us Glow More Than Others and My Mother Was An Upright Piano
Goblin – Ever Dundas
Ian McEwan’s Atonement meets Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in this extraordinary debut.
A novel set between the past and present with magical realist elements. Goblin is an outcast girl growing up in London during World War 2. Having been rejected by her mother, she leads a feral life with a gang of young children.
After witnessing a shocking event she increasingly takes refuge in a self-constructed but magical imaginary world. In 2011, a chance meeting and an unwanted phone call compels an elderly Goblin to return to London amidst the riots and face the ghosts of her past. Will she discover the truth buried deep in her fractured memory or retreat to the safety of near madness? In Goblin, debut novelist Dundas has constructed an utterly beguiling historical tale with an unforgettable female protagonist at its centre.
This is How We Talk – Julian Furman
Life in Tel Aviv, Israel’s famed party town, is restless, relentless and amoral, a cycle of hedonism and bitter regret. Modern couple, Yonotan and Lia, are at the heart of the scene, and this is the story of their relationship, lives as parents and the fallout from their break-up.
With searing honesty, Furman examines the younger generation of Israelis, alienated from their state and morally conflicted about their role as soldiers and citizens; burdened with responsibility of forging the future for a nation perpetually at war with itself.
‘This is a stylish, assured and compelling debut.’ J David Simons, author of The Credit Draper, An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful and A Woman of Integrity
The Cure for Lonely – Jessica Thummel
Winner of the Dundee International Book Prize
For a young transgender man, life in late 80s small town America requires one thing – escape. After getting fired from his job, Sam persuades his best friend Gwen, with whom he once had an all-too-brief fling, to leave her fiancé and run away with him to San Francisco.
On a road trip fraught with misadventure, Sam becomes increasingly aware he’s more comfortable living as a man than a woman and begins to experiment with this new identity. Arriving in San Francisco, the city of love, in the grip of the HIV epidemic, and needing money, Sam takes a job in a dubious AIDS clinic, finding himself drawn to its patients, including the luminous Magdalene.
As Sam, and the less-than-reliable Gwen, negotiate the community of leathers and strippers, misfits and oddballs, he begins to get a clearer idea of who he is, who he might be and where love might be found. But as his vision of the future becomes clearer can Sam make peace with the past, at and what cost?
Black Cart – Jim Carruth
Jim Carruth is Glasgow’s Makar, or poet laureate. His debut collection, a poetry novel, Killochries, received widespread acclaim and was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh Poetry Award for Best First Collection, the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award.
Black Cart is Carruth’s second full collection, and continues to draw on his upbringing in the farmlands of Renfrewshire. Almost eighteen years in the making, this collection is a love poem to a rural community in Scotland. The freshness of its language brings the daily grind, its joys and harsh realities, to vivid life; its final elegies form a moving testament to a lost generation of family, friends, farmers and farms.
The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate – Rachel McCrum
Rachel McCrum is one of Scotland’s highest profile poets and performers. She was co-founder of cult spoken word night Rally and Broad and the inaugural Poet in Residence at BBC Scotland. She has previously published two poetry pamphlets, Do Not Alight Here Again (2015) and The Glassblower Dances (2012) which was winner of the 2013 Callum Macdonald Award. She performs and teaches UK-wide and internationally and presented her first one woman show at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate is her eagerly-awaited debut collection.
Bay of Martyrs – Tony Black and Matt Neal
Clay Moloney, a cynical reporter with a regional Australian newspaper, is expecting an easy Sunday at work when the body of a young woman washes up at the Bay of Martyrs. The death is an inconvenience for Clay, who’s content filing obituaries and re-writing government press releases on the new multi-million-dollar airport. But the more he digs into the Bay of Martyrs incident, the more he realises the girl’s death is not a case of misadventure, despite what the police tell him. Clay becomes obsessed with the murder investigation, putting himself and his co-worker Bec, an Irish-born photographer, in danger. Will Clay achieve justice for the young student, or will those in power stop him before he uncovers the truth?
Master of Tartan Noir, Tony Black, collaborates with Australian author and journalist, Matt Neal, to create a thrilling criminal case of murder and corruption set on Australia’s South Coast.
None So Blind – Alis Hawkins
West Wales, 1850. When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery. He knows exactly whose bones they are.
Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty. But the investigation turns up more questions than answers. Questions that centre around three names. Rebecca, the faceless leader of an angry mob who terrorise those they hate. Nathaniel Howell, a rabble-rousing chapel minister preaching a revolutionary gospel. And David Thomas, an ominous name with echoes from Harry’s past.
Is it Rebecca who is intent on ending Harry and John’s enquiry? Why did Nathaniel Howell disappear when Rebecca’s insurrection was at its height? And can Harry keep the secrets of his own past safely buried?
‘I loved this book. As soon as I opened it I was hooked.’ ES Thomson, author of Beloved Poison and Dark Asylum
Colouring Glasgow – John R Hume
Adult colouring exploded onto the publishing scene with the huge, runaway international success of Scot Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden books. Here, talented illustrator, historian and architectural expert, John R Hume, takes us on a colouring journey across Scotland’s largest city, covering all its most iconic subjects, from the Tollbooth and City Chambers to the Buchanan Street Stock Exchange and Gallery of Modern Art.
A co-publication with Glasgow City Heritage Trust
I Love Champagne – Davy Zyw
Fall in love with 50 of the world’s best champagnes.
Davy Zyw, the youngest-ever British sommelier at Le Gavroche, the world famous Roux brothers restaurant in London’s Mayfair, and a young man who once bought more Italian wine than any other human being on the planet, takes us on an extraordinary tour of the best champagne houses of France.
With none of the pretensions of traditional wine writers, Davy offers a no-nonsense but fascinating, informative and highly rewarding guide to the history and production of champagne, its most famous houses and tasting notes on his 50 favourite champagnes.
Look Up Edinburgh Pocket – Adrian Searle and David Barbour
A pocket edition of the book that explores the extraordinary rooftop architectural heritage, hidden in plain sight, of Scotland’s beautiful capital city, Edinburgh. Featuring stunning full colour photography, helpful and informative annotations and occasional verse from some of the city’s leading poets, it will prove a delight for residents and visitors alike.
A Scots Dictionary of Nature – Amanda Thomson
Scots is a distinct language in its own right, entirely separate from Scots Gaelic, developing from Middle English from the Middle Ages. Influences come from as broad a range of sources as French, Flemish, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages.
Since the Act of Union in 1707 Scots has been under assault from Standard English, and particularly so in the modern era through the globalisation of culture. This beautiful little book presents Dr Amanda Thomson’s carefully collated collection of Scots words for things from the air, the sea and the land, from animals, fish, birds and insects to trees, landscapes and weather.