Theresa Talbot at Readers’ Day in Kirkintilloch, 16 May

If you’re anywhere vaguely close to Kirkintilloch, north east of Glasgow you can catch This Is What I Look Like author Theresa Talbot at the William Patrick Library, where she’ll be part of East Dunbartonshire’s Readers’ Day, presenting at 1.00pm.  Tickets are a mere £2 and available on 0141 777 3141.

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Theresa is lively, thoroughly entertaining and engaging, so it’ll be well worth the trip. More details here.

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Is this just fantasy?

It’s a question Freddy Mercury used to ask. It’s also one that the BBC’s Nick Higham raised when interviewing Kazuo Ishiguro recently about his new novel, Buried. (You’ll find the interview at the end of this post.)

cover_Adult_GillianPhilip_FirebrandAnd it’s a question we’ve often asked about Gillian Philip‘s Rebel
series – Firebrand, Bloodstone, Wolfsbane and Icefall – which has been a word-of-mouth international success.

To us, Rebel Angels is much more than fantasy. Gillian’s books are literature with a slightly unreal – but nonetheless familiar – setting, cover_Adult_GillianPhilip_Bloodstoneand we would argue that there’s more reality in her books than in many that purport to reflect the world as we know it.

How so? Well, because the characters and relationships that Gillian creates – and then usually savages! – are so very recognisablecover_Adult_GillianPhilip_Wolfsbane around us, be it in the subterfuge of international politics, in big business or in families and the loyalties than go with them.

The dilemma for publishers is the need to categorise books to make the job of buyers – at wholesalers and retailers – easier, because 9781905537150there are a lot of books to choose from. Books can easily get lost in ‘general fiction’, so categories (Fantasy, Romance, etc) have a certain appeal. However, they can limit readership, which is a shame.

As someone in our office once said of Firebrand, ‘Fantasy isn’t my thing, but I love this.’ We imagine that many fans of the late Terry Pratchett might feel the same way about his books.

cover_Adult_JanneTeller_NothingThere’s a similar issue with crossing the divide between Young Adult and General fiction. Janne Teller‘s Nothing is a good example. It tends to be thought of as YA, but it’s a philosophical book for all ages; it just so happens that the main protagonists are teenagers. We’re delighted that it’s now finding an adult audience after being lauded by David Almond on BBC Radio 4.

So, can authors have a foot in more than one camp? It’s a trick that Kazuo Ishiguro is trying to pull off and we wish him luck. Good books are good books, and they deserve to be read widely.

Nick Higham meets Kazuo Ishiguro (link to BBC iPlayer)

When Kirkland met Janice

Most ears in Scotland were glued to radios at 1545 today for Kirkland Ciccone‘s spot on BBC Radio Scotland’s Culture Studio programme, hosted by Janice Forsyth.

Okay, that’s not all true. People didn’t actually glue their ears to their radios.

For those in the know, the big question was: would Kurt be with Kirkland? Kurt Cobain, that is. For those not in the know, that might seem unlikely. Either way, listen here (opens BBC iPlayer in a new window) to solve the mystery.

The slot is 10 minutes of hilarity and outrageous Kirklandisms. We think you’ll love it.

Janne Teller’s ‘Nothing’ features on BBC Radio 4

If you caught David Almond’s excellent ‘A World Beyond Alice’ programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday you’ll have heard him talking Janne Teller about her provocative modern classic Nothing.  It’s a remarkable existential novel, with an equally remarkable tale behind its publication.

If you missed the programme, click here to go to it on the BBC Radio iPlayer. (Opens a new window.) Listening will be 30 minutes well spent. Equally, if you want to go straight to the interview with Janne you’ll find it 21 minutes and 57 seconds in.

Nothing by Janne Teller


Theresa Talbot part of Aye Write Festival 2015 star line-up

The downside of being a traffic reporter must be that you lose the ability to use ‘I was delayed in traffic’ as an excuse for turning up late.

But hopefully a short hop to Glasgow’s Mitchell Library from nearby BBC Scotland HQ will be straightforward for Beechgrove Potting Shed host and traffic presenter Theresa Talbot when she appears at the Aye Write book festival in mid April. She’ll be talking about her memoir This Is What I Look Like, but might she also have some exciting news to break to the audience…? We can say no more.

Theresa Talbot
Theresa Talbot


Highlights have just been announced by programme director Bob McDevitt. Other stars include Irvine Welsh, Everything But The Girl singer Tracey Thorn and Alexander McCall Smith. Here’s a link to The Herald‘s coverage of the announcement.

Event dates and times will be revealed in March.

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