Kristian and I are very much enjoying creating our podcast, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Scottish Literature, as part of Birlinn’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, and we’re delighted to bring you the latest episode, celebrating the life and work of the first woman to be published in Scotland, Elizabeth Melville, and in particular, her dream vision poem, Ane Godlie Dream.
We are excited to shine a light on a name that is probably not so well known in the twenty-first century, but back in Reformation Scotland, Ane Godlie Dream was hugely popular, running to thirteen editions in Elizabeth Melville’s lifetime. And the poem is not only noteworthy because Melville was the first women published, her work stands on its own merits. Her poems are passionate, powerful, and highlight the strength of feeling in religious worship as the power struggles between church, court, and state increased.
We stay in the murky Scotland of the sixteenth century with an enlightening interview with Polygon’s own Shirley McKay. Over the last few years she has given us the hugely enjoyable historical crime series starring her hero, Hew Cullen, a lawyer and academic, who, returns to his home town of St Andrews after educating himself in Europe. Throughout the books he finds himself solving local crimes – including murder and blackmail – as well as falling deeper and deeper into the court intrigues of the newly crowned James VI. If you like a little mystery with your history, they are the perfect read!
So, please sit back, get comfy, and join us as we head back in time to a very different era. We hope you enjoy listening.