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Join some of Birlinn and Polygon’s authors for this year’s Aye Write!

Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival is back, starting this week and running 15-25th March 2018 and it is set to be a good one! With plenty of our amazing authors making an appearance you’re going to need some help deciding what to see…  

Peacock's Alibi

First up, musician, songwriter and novelist Stuart David will be kicking things off on Thursday 15th March at 7.45pm. His new book, Peacock’s Alibi, is a fantastic new piece of crime fiction and we can’t wait to hear more about Peacock’s brushes with the law and his new get-rich-quick scheme- an unmissable appearance at the University of Glasgow Chapel.

Memphis 68 (pbk)The following day Stuart Cosgrove takes the stage to discuss Memphis 68 The Tragedy of Southern Soul, which has recently been shortlisted for the 2018 Penderyn Music Book Prize! Don’t miss hearing all about the soundtrack to the civil rights movement on Friday 16th March 6pm at the University of Glasgow Chapel.

Moscow Calling
Writer and broadcaster Angus Roxburgh will be talking about his book Moscow Calling. The political significance of Russia is more apparent than ever and Roxburgh, with his 45 years experience, will offer a unique, insight into the quirky, crazy, exasperating, beautiful and tumultuous world that is modern Russia. You can catch this at 1.15pm on Saturday 17th March at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Storm in the Desert
Later that Saturday at 3pm Mark Mullar Stuart, senior mediator to the United Nations Department, will be at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall talking about his book, Storm in the Desert. Journalist Ruth Wishart will chair Stuart’s discussion of his book, which gives a unique insight into the world of diplomacy and power politics and the way they impact upon ordinary human lives.

Appointment in Arezzo 2A choice, however, will have to be made as Muriel Spark: A Centenary Celebration is also commencing at 3pm on Saturday. Head over to Mitchell Library to hear Alan Taylor, author of Appointment in Arezzo, joined by novelists Candia McWilliam, and Zoey Strachan discuss the literary legend that is Muriel Spark.

Dear AlfonsoBestselling author Mary Contini will be appearing at 1.15pm on Sunday 18th at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to discuss her book Dear Alfonso. Nina Caplan, author of The Wandering Vine will also be discussing her book making this an unmissable celebration of the food, wine and families of Italy.

When the Clyde Ran RedAlso on at 1.15pm on Sunday 18th is Maggie Craig discussing her new book When the Clyde Ran Red, A Social History of Red Clydeside. In this book Maggie Craig puts the politics into the social context of the times when revolution was in the air on Clydeside. Head over to the Mitchell Library to catch Maggie Craig alongside Natalie Fergie, author of the novel The Sewing Machine.

Acid AttackWeek two of AyeWrite! is set to be just as jam-packed with acclaimed investigative journalist Russell Findlay starting off the week with a discussion on his new book Acid Attack, an unflinchingly realistic portrait of Scotland’s criminal underworld at CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts 6pm Thursday 22nd March.

HebridesAlso on the Thursday 22nd will be documentary film maker Paul Murton discussing his book The Hebrides. You couldn’t ask for a better guide as Paul Murton has spent half-a lifetime exploring Scotland’s incredible rugged, six-thousand-mile coast line. Join Paul at 7.45pm at Mitchell Library.

Ghost of Helen AddisonThe Ghost of Helen Addison is the upcoming mystery novel by Charles McGarry The Ghost of Helen Addison sees private detective, avowed gourmet and wine connoisseur, Leo Moran drawn into the investigation of the ritualistic murder of a young woman in rural Argyll. McGarry will be joined at Mitchell Library by Glasgow crime authors Alan Parks and Ian Skewis on Saturday 24th March at 1.15pm

Clyde Mapping the RiverLast, but certainly not least, who better to discuss, arguably, the most evocative of Scottish rivers than John Moore? His book, Mapping the Clyde discusses how the river was mapped from its earliest depictions and includes such topics as navigation, river crossings, war and defence, tourism, sport and recreation, industry and power and urban development. Join John Moore on Saturday 24th March at Mitchell Library, 1.15pm and take a trip ‘doon the watter’.

With so many amazing authors you really are spoilt for choice, but don’t spend too long deciding! Get your tickets and find out more at the Aye Write! website now!

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Blair Bowman and Nikki Welch prepare you for World Whisky Day

Following on from last week’s blog post by Blair Bowman and Nikki Welch, authors of The Pocket Guide to Whisky, we give you another guest blog from these two guides, who will take you on an amber adventure into the world of whisky. In this week’s blog, Blair and Nikki give you some golden tips on how to explore some of your favourite whiskies, and how to edge onto a new line on the WhiskyTubeMap.

The Pocket Guide to Whisky - flexi-cover artwork‘To help you get started we have created a couple of journeys around the WhiskyTubeMap and some fun ways to ‘pimp’ your tasting to test all your senses.

Sightseeing tour
Our sightseeing tour takes in a stop on each line of the WhiskyTubeMap, giving you a broad spectrum of whiskies to try. Each line on the WhiskyTubeMap represents a different flavour profile, and alludes to the types of flavours and textures you’d expect from whiskies situated on that line. If you don’t want to do all seven you could just pick four or five that you fancy to start with.

Easy Loop
The Easy Loop, does what it says on the tin, here you’ll find easy going, every day whiskies.
Suggested stop: Johnnie Walker

Intrepid line
Here you will find whiskies from the ‘brave new world’ of whisky distillation. Expect bold and perhaps sometimes foreign flavours.
Suggested stop: Hibiki

Heart Line
The ‘heart’ of a distillation run is the part of the spirit that is held back to make whisky. The Heart Line cuts through the landscape of the WhiskyTubeMap, with a broad spectrum of flavours and origins of flavour are represented as you go along the line.
Suggested stop: Glenfiddich

Amber Line
These are simply classic sweet, honeyed and fruity tasting whiskies but are not in the least bit boring. Expect good bang for your buck in terms of flavour from your dram.
Suggested stop: Glenrothes

Decadent Line
These whiskies are rich, deep and unctuous. Luxury in every sip, to be savoured and enjoyed.
Suggested stop: Macallan

Coastal Line
This is where influences of sea, smoke and peat start to appear on the WhiskyTubeMap. There is a gradual build up in intensity as you begin to approach the Outliers island.
Suggested stop: Highland Park

Outliers Line
A welcoming dram awaits you on board the ‘ferries’ to the Outliers island. Once you are on the island you will start to find more smoke in your whisky. With a gradual build up of smokiness at the terminus, Ardbeg.
Suggested stop: Lagavulin

Just starting out tour
If the map feels a bit daunting, you are totally new to whisky or it has been a long time since you’ve had a dram the sightseeing tour might be a bit much. To help ease you in we have created three ‘starting’ points on the map, these stations are marked with an arrow. Try these three first, then decide which one you prefer and go exploring from there.

Starting point 1: Johnnie Walker
Start here if you want to begin with a very easy drinking, not overly-complex blended whisky.

Starting point 2: Glenfiddich
Start here if you want to begin with a juicy, fruity and sweet single malt whisky.

Starting point 3: Highland Park
Start here if you are after something a bit more complex with a hint of smoke.

Getting Braver Tour
The Getting Braver tour will take you out of your comfort zone and show you some whiskies you might never have thought of trying before. Prepare your taste buds for exciting new experiences and flavours.

Stop 1: Glenfiddich
A tasty starting point for your ‘getting braver’ tour. Look out for apples, pears and green fruits in this whisky.

Stop 2: Virgin Wood Finish
Whiskies from this station might be more woody than you are used to. This gives you a great way of tasting how important the influence of wood is on whisky.

Stop 3: Sullivan’s Cove
A deliciously rich and slightly spicey single malt from Tasmania, Australia. Probably the furthest you could get from the highlands of Scotland but a tasty whisky.

Stop 4: Single Grain Whisky
An often misunderstood cousin of single malt whisky. Single grain whisky is complex and peppery but offers a refreshing alternative to traditional single malt.

Stop 5: Springbank
A malty and slightly maritime dram. This is whisky is like an iron first of flavour in a silk glove.

Pimp your whisky tasting

Why not ‘pimp’ your next whisky tasting by adding fun multi-sensory elements or music as part of the tasting.

Blindfolds
It’s all gone a bit fifty shades of whisky! Give everyone in the tasting a blindfold and try tasting the whisky with the blindfold on. Does it taste different without the sense of sight?

Textures
Now try tasting the whisky again while touching a rough texture like sandpaper, or a soft texture like silk. Did the taste or texture of the whisky change?

Chocolate
Try one whisky with a piece of dark chocolate and then milk chocolate. The darker chocolate will bring out the bitter flavours of the whisky and the milk chocolate will give your whisky a smoother texture.

However you do it, have fun!
Happy Exploring!’

And remember The Pocket Guide to Whisky is available from World Whisky Day on the 20th of May, but you an pre-order your copy here.

WWD_Master_LogoAnd don’t forget, you can find out more about World Whisky Day, which is on 20 May 2017, here. Events are popping up all over the globe. If you want to get involved and raise a dram with the world, head over to the website where you can register your own event. It’s completely free, and anything goes – whether that’s a dram with friends at home, a tasting flight put on at a local bar, or a full-blown street party.

Peter Pan Give-away Competition!

It’s Edinburgh International Book Festival this month (in case you hadn’t noticed), and we’ve been celebrating our wonderful authors’ appearances with fun and games and, more importantly, FREE BOOK GIVEAWAYS. Today it’s no different. At EIBF today (Monday 24th) Stephen ‘Stref’ White, illustrator, and Fin Cramb, colourist, will be talking about their latest project – the recently published, first ever Peter Pan graphic novel, based on J.M. Barrie’s original text. Earlier this month, Tom Pow appeared at the Festival to discuss his own take on Peter Pan – his book tells the story of Barrie’s childhood, and the inspirations derived from it which led to the creation of Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Hook, and Neverland.

SO, we decided we’d put together a short quiz, the winner of which will receive these two stunning new books.

All you have to do to be in with a chance is to answer the multiple choice questions below, in a tweet sent to @BirlinnBooks or @BCKidsBooks, and we’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning!

Question 1: What was J.M. Barrie’s childhood nickname?
A) Sixteen String Jack
B) Yellow-Bellied Jim
C) Dare Devil Dick

Question 2: What happens to the Lost Boys when they grow too old?
A) They join the pirates
B) They’re forced to leave Neverland
C) Peter thins them out

Question 3: How does Captain Hook originally plan to kill Peter and the Lost Boys?
A) In a surprise attack whilst the boys are sleeping
B) Poisoning their water supply
C) By luring the crocodile into their den
D) Tricking them into eating cake before swimming

Question 4: What was the name of J.M. Barrie’s inspirational childhood home?
A) Mount Brae
B) Moat Braille
C) Moat Brae
D) Mount Braille

Get answering, get tweeting, and you might just get winning!

BC Logo Master Maroon