A selection of Best Scottish fiction of 2013, so far …

After a cold winter, the UK has some pretty hot new books out at the moment. With perfect weather right across Europe, the time is right to sit outside and enjoy them. What better excuse! The Birlinn and Polygon teams thought we should recognise, not just the books that we publish, but some memorable writing from publishing colleagues elsewhere.

The Professor of Truth – James Robertson

The Professor of Truth

Kicking off with The Professor of Truth – James Robertson gave us a tremendous novel this Spring. Its background is set around a fictional variant of the Lockerbie bombing of December 1988, which is a fitting setting for a book that is more about the sense of absence, grief and loss that comes from such a tragedy than anything else. John Burnside wrote an excellent review for The Guardian and you can find an interview with James on the Scottish Review of Books website. An event with James talking to Jim Swire was the highlight of the Hay festival and the most moving of any book festival event that this blogger has been to in many years. And he’ll be taking part in the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Megrahi: You Are my Jury – John Ashton

You are My Jury

But if you’re more interested in fact than fiction then you should go for Megrahi: You Are my Jury by John Ashton. This book argues that, far from being an unrepentant terrorist, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the innocent victim of dirty politics, a flawed investigation and judicial folly. This book tells the story of the man known as the Lockerbie bomber and John has a second book on the subject due out later this year.

After Flodden – Rosemary Goring

Thrilling historical novel: After Flodden

Thrilling historical novel: After Flodden

Delving much further back into Scotland’s history, author Rosemary Goring has produced After Flodden, aptly marking the 500th year anniversary of this historic battle. Goring exposes a motley of characters involved in that disastrous September afternoon (from the Scots’ perspective!) and explores the long-felt consequences woven around the tale of a grieving sister whose questions soon lead her into trouble as well! Again, you can read a piece by Rosemary, literary editor of the Herald and Sunday Herald in the current issue of Scottish Review of Books. You can also read a review by Allan Massie in the Scotsman.

Rosemary will be at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year and is appearing at events across the UK.

Looking forward: a glimpse from the catalogues

2013 catalogues from presses north and south of the Scottish Borders offer glimpses of debut home-grown authors alongside some great new releases from familiar names, but watch out too for the best of international fiction written elsewhere but published here in Scotland, including two titles which have topped the best-seller lists in Europe: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philipp Sendker, a very moving, inspirational love story set in Burma; and Veritas by Monaldi and Sorti which is an opulent, powerful historical masterpiece set in Europe in the early 18th century.

Out soon and highly anticipated: Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers

A last tip: do look out too for Alexander McCall Smith’s new book in the Scotland Street series, Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers, which is due out next month for some late summer entertainment.

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