NEW POETRY SIGNING:

Polygon has announced a new signing to its poetry list, the debut collection from Alycia Pirmohamed, winner of the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Another Way to Split Water meditates on how we inherit the lived experiences of our ancestors, while also reflecting on wider themes of womanhood, belonging, inheritance, loss, beauty, and spirituality.

The product of several years’ work, the collection is partly “an homage to family – to how identity reforms and transforms throughout generations, through stories told and retold, imagined and reimagined”, says Pirmohamed. “Perhaps most strongly," she adds, "this collection employs figurations of the natural world to reflect on themes of language, distance, migration, belonging, faith, grief, and intimacy.”

The Canada-born, UK-based poet gained a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is co-founder of the Scottish BAME Writers Network. Polygon editor Edward Crossan describes the poems in Another Way to Split Water as “compelling, evocative and beautifully written, a welcome addition to our list”. The book will be published next year. Birlinn.co.uk

ENTER THIS:

Aspiring crime novelists have just under a fortnight left to enter Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect 2021 – a chance to pitch their book to a panel of publishing experts who are on the hunt for new crime writing talent. Offered the challenge to present their novels convincingly, the chosen writers will gain valuable feedback from the panel of top publishing experts. Enter by Friday, August 13 by visiting bloodyscotland.com/take-part/pitch-perfect
 

COASTAL EVENT:

HeraldScotland: Denise Mina is among the literary stars of this year's Fringe By The Sea festival Denise Mina is among the literary stars of this year's Fringe By The Sea festival

A tidal wave of literary talent will land in North Berwick over the next few weeks, as the Fringe By The Sea festival gets underway. The multi-arts jamboree will feature live entertainment in Covid-secure environments, including an impressive list of author events featuring big name writers such as Irvine Welsh, Maggie O’Farrell and Denise Mina. The festival runs from August 6-15, with the opening weekend including a reading by poet Lemn Sissay MBE, from his best-selling novel, My Name Is Why (Canongate). Taking place on Sunday, August 8, it will reflect on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness.

HeraldScotland: Lemn Sissay will read from his best-selling novel, My Name Is Why, at Fringe By The SeaLemn Sissay will read from his best-selling novel, My Name Is Why, at Fringe By The Sea

Also on Sunday, Conservationist Polly Pullar will be talking about her book, A Scurry of Squirrels (Birlinn) and young readers can enjoy a reading and drawing session with festival artist in residence Eilidh Muldoon, illustrator of Fierce, Fearless and Free by Lari Don, (Bloomsbury Education).

Then on Monday (August 9), novelist William Sutcliffe will discuss his comic young adult novel, The Summer We Turned Green (Bloomsbury YA). Broadcaster and Herald columnist Brian Taylor will conduct a Lunchtime Blether with politician Jim Sillars, who’ll talk about his forthcoming autobiography, A Difference of Opinion (Birlinn). More events later in the week, full details on fringebythesea.com

 

BOOK NOW:

HeraldScotland: Citizen writer in residence Eleanor ThomCitizen writer in residence Eleanor Thom

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has always proved a magnet for visitors but it also offers a programme of events focused on the people and communities who call the city home. One of this year’s highlights is the Citizen City Tour. Developed by photographer Alicia Bruce and Citizen Writer in Residence Eleanor Thom in collaboration with residents of Tollcross, this free, self-guided audio tour encourages participants to explore the gap between Edinburgh’s postcard exterior and its inner heart. There are contributions from Omar, the owner of the Khartoum Café; Kelly, GM of the Cameo and Carol Ann, a long-time resident who recalls visiting the Tollcross “steamie”(public washroom).

The Citizen City Tour is part of the Book Festival’s ongoing programme of long-term partnerships with organisations and residents across the city and Musselburgh. It features a host of other events, including Take Your Place, in which Jenni Fagan, Caleb Femi and Graeme Armstrong explore how relationships to home and identity have shifted over the course of the pandemic. Citizen is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery through their Postcode Culture Fund and through the PLACE programme.

This year’s festival also features guided tours, including the Black History Walking Tour with Lisa Williams. The Edinburgh Caribbean Association founder will share the extraordinary stories and histories of the people in Edinburgh who came from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, their ongoing influence on the city and the remarkable legacies they have left. The Edinburgh International Book Festival runs August 14-30. Full details: edbookfest.co.uk

CHECK IGNITION: 
Applications have just opened for the Scottish Book Trust’s Ignite Fellowships, 2022. Designed to help established writers take their careers to the next level, there are three awards, including one specifically for Gaelic writing. Applications from writers working in Scots are also strongly encouraged.
 
Last year’s fellows included poet and performer Courtney Stoddart; artist and filmmaker Raman Mundair; and Gaelic poet and translator Niall O’Gallagher. Fellows receive a £2000 bursary and tailored creative support to suit their individual projects. Circumstances permitting, they’re also offered a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor.
 
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “The Ignite Fellowship now moves into its fourth year and looks to elevate the careers of writers, poets, playwrights and more who are looking to take the next step. The Ignite Fellowship programme is flexible to meet the needs of the awardee, which we know is more important now than ever. We encourage those writing in English, Scots and Gaelic to submit.”

Apply by noon on September 29. Full details: scottishbooktrust.com/writing-and-authors/ignite-fellowship

BE HEARD:

Disabled and chronically ill writers are often unable to attend literary events such as book launches, book festivals, and training courses due to their conditions. This can lead to feelings of isolation, especially if they have no contact with other writers in similar positions. A Disabled Writers' Network Scotland has been proposed, set up with the needs of disabled writers in mind and offering opportunities to network, catch up on news, and exchange ideas. A Creative Scotland-funded short questionnaire offers disabled writers the chance to influence the shape of the network. Open to responses until August 14, it can be accessed via docs.google.com/forms/d/1bxYtVF6oaDzVys6ZOFhlpAjCobWLoWi5kAIuIMndCb8/edit