Michael Schmidt and Robert McCrum
To the plethora of festivals held in Edinburgh a new one is added later this month.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend, both of us bemoaning the fact the historical novel has changed little since the days of Sir Walter Scott and Maria Edgeworth, the pioneers of the form.
I was in Mainstreet Trading Company last weekend, a glorious bookshop-cum-cafe in leafy St Boswells.
I have seen human degradation in some of its worst places, both in England and abroad," wrote a man named JC Symons.
As lambs frolic in the fields ahead of Easter, and start appearing on restaurant menus, there is one thing at least that today's sheep need not fear.
To add to the procession of companies declaring for or agin Scottish independence can now be added a trickle of writers revealing their hand.
Almost exactly 100 years ago, the Times Literary Supplement became a standalone publication.