Summer is officially here. The sun is out, the sky is (mostly) cloudless and there’s never been a better time to tackle your literary bucket list. Whether you’re home or away, take a look at the SWC’s recommendations for a literary inspired summer!
Glasgow and Edinburgh are full of exciting literary events running through the summer – check out Rally & Broad’s last ever event in Stereo on the 19th June for an extravaganza of spoken word and music, featuring critically acclaimed Scottish author A.L. Kennedy. Join Scot Lit Fest in Edinburgh between the 24th and 26th June for a celebration of the rich tradition of Scottish literature, or wander along to the West End’s Botanic Gardens for Bard in the Botanics’ ‘Vaulting Ambition’ season to see Shakespeare performed in a lush outdoor setting. Don’t forget to visit the Comic Invention exhibition at the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery to admire the great work of our friends over at BHP Comics! And if you fancy exploring more of Glasgow’s beautiful Victorian West End, then you’re in luck – this year’s West End Festival features a showcase from the University of Glasgow’s recent Creative Writing students. And, of course, a Scottish literary summer recommendation would not be complete without a trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival: the variety and choice is astonishing, so any lover of literature is bound to find an event that appeals to them.
Image credit: edinburghfestivallist.co.uk
Looking for a book to accompany you on your summer travels? Opt for Michel Faber’s latest novel, The Book of New Strange Things, the genre-bending sci-fi ‘masterpiece’ winner of the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award, or if you enjoyed our January event on the scholarly life of Robert Burns, try Catherine Czerkawska’s latest publication The Jewel, a novel focusing upon Burns’ wife, Jean Armour, once known as ‘the Belle of Mauchline’. Summer is also a great opportunity to delve into the work of Scotland’s new Makar Jackie Kay, or explore the recently announced shortlist of Britain’s oldest literary competition, the James Tait Black Prize, which includes exciting releases such as Miranda July’s The First Bad Man and Benjamin Markovits’ You Don’t Have to Live Like This. Happy reading!
Image credit: www.telegraph.co.uk
Give the bookshelves some love
In a world of Kindles and Amazon, it sometimes feels that the age-old, beloved pastime of strolling around libraries and bookshelves has been lost. Reclaim the excitement of childhood reading and devote some time to the pleasure of book-shopping: everything from often-forgotten local libraries to mammoth institutions such as the Mitchell Library and the University’s own impressive library should be appreciated for their incredible wealth of books and their commitment to inspiring new generations with the love of reading. Check out Glasgow Women’s Library and the Scottish Poetry Library for specialist approaches to reinvigorate your love of browsing. Similarly, a wander around Scotland’s second-hand and independent bookshops can be a refreshing antidote to the commercialisation of literature – Voltaire & Rousseau, Caledonia Books and the Calton Bookshop are several that the SWC would highly recommend!
Image credit: www.caledoniabooks.co.uk
And most importantly… write!
Even if you’re not lucky enough to be a student with an endless expanse of summer stretching in front of you, it’s still a great chance to re-devote yourself to your writing and even explore some new genres and styles. The submission deadline for the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Awards ends on 6th July, which provides a grant for new writers committed to developing their writing, and other writing opportunities can be found across the country: submit to Collections of Poetry and Prose on this edition’s theme of love, and start planning ahead for New Writing Scotland’s annual publication of new writers.
Let us know if you have any more recommendations for a Scottish literary summer!
Words: Rachel Walker