Kristian and I are carrying on our travels along the highways and byways of Scottish literature with the fifth episode of our podcast, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature, our digital escapade that’s part of Birlinn’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations. This episode is dedicated to one of Scotland’s most prolific and celebrated authors, Iain Crichton Smith, and in particular, his classic novel, Consider the Lilies.
A lot of us are probably more familiar with his poems and short stories – mainstays of the Scottish curriculum – and yet Crichton Smith is also a very fine novelist indeed. Consider the Lilies is regarded as one of his best, and it is a beautiful and finely drawn portrait of a Highland widow having to deal with the consequences of the Clearances, still an emotive and controversial subject today.
We stay with the Highland Clearances with an interview with one of Scotland’s premier historians, James Hunter. His many books have shone a much-needed light on Highland life through the ages, and his most recent, and award-winning, book Set Adrift Upon the World is a fantastic exploration of the Sutherland Clearances. It’s shocking, thorough, and necessary reading. We round things off with the marvellous Kevin MacNeil performing some of Iain Crichton Smith’s poetry.
So, if you want to introduce yourself to two fantastic writers and a hugely important subject, have a listen. We hope you enjoy it!