#FictionFriday


THIS WEEK: (29th) Caitrin Armstrong of the S.B.T.
NEXT WEEK: (5th) Book-blogger Kenny Pieper






Caitrin Armstrong
of the S.B.T.



CA: Anyone who thinks that writing picture books is somehow easier than writing for adults should be made to read a terrible picture book over and over again. A bad picture book is a special kind of hell ... click here to read more








Memorial Device



MD: A book we read and re-read. And it just keeps on giving. Its meaning and resonance change as we do. The more we experience and understand, the more we appreciate it ... click here to read more








The actor
Tam Dean Burn



TDB: The world that Irvine has created, based above all in our shared birthplace of Leith and teeming with fantastic characters that he's returned to again and again is right up there with Dickens or whoever ... click here to read more








Writer & editor
Joseph Ridgwell



JR: The bit where he gets lost in the woods of Utah is classic. It’s very honest writing, which we don’t see too much of these days. Most writers today write badly written fairy tales that are meaningless ... click here to read more








The writer Neil Campbell



NC: Sometimes with the old guys you have to forget all the bullshit that surrounds them and actually read their writing. A great book like that is an act of fucking heroism ... click here to read more








Short-story writer
Ian Farnes



IF: Often it’s the choice of music we fall in love with that bridges the gap between being a child and being an adult and it can shape the way we interact with the world for the rest of our lives ... click here to read more








The artist Stuart Murray



SM: His work was a real shaft of light. Realising that a short story can be five pages of nothing happening, but everything happens. A couple of sentences on their own can constitute a short story, a piece of art ... click here to read more








Artist & designer
Mark Mechan



MM: I know it's a popular choice amongst Scots but with good reason. Its full of beautiful agony. Its tines are so well embedded in the soil that it connected with me in a way that no other book has ... click here to read more








Musician & writer
Kris O'Rourke



KO: Surely the greatest living American author. She does not let a page go by without crafting language that leaves you breathless, or mining a nugget of devastating insight ... click here to read more








The writer James Connarty



JC: I tend to pick it up if I’m in bed with the cold or battling a bout of insomnia. I have a really old battered copy from the 70s that my uncle gave me once when I was visiting him on a family holiday and had exhausted the reading material I’d brought with me ... click here to read more








The writer Ely Percy



EP: Despite having previously enjoyed the Edinburgh vernacular in Irvine Welsh’s ‘Trainspotting’, it was not until I read ‘How Late’ that it dawned on me that I was also allowed to have a go at writing in Scots. That’s when I discovered I had a good ear for dialogue ... click here to read more








Michael Curran
of Tangerine Press



MC: There are of course many books that people tell me I ‘should’ read. When I shake my head, they look horrified ... click here to read more








The artist Lucy Sweet



LS: To The Lighthouse - if you're looking for a beautifully judged description of a coastal path, an overgrown garden or the inner life of a woman, Virginia Woolf is your gal ... click here to read more








The illustrator
Steven Learmonth



SL: The main theme of the novel is the difficulty of fitting into regular society, how some people long for that kind of acceptance and conformity, and how others may never achieve it ... click here to read more








The writer Lynsey May



LM: I have never hated anything so much. I hate-read it to the end. I was more persistent then. ... click here to read more








Professor Gerard Carruthers



GC: The seemingly apocryphal story, although I’ve been told not, is that when the Luftwaffe bombed my hometown of Clydebank during the Blitz this was the only book damaged in the town’s central library (I want to believe) ... click here to read more








The writer & NWS editor
Rachelle Atalla



RA: I expected to love it with its Kafkaesque elements but the protagonist is so jaded it reads to me like the thin mask of Coetzee in essay form ... click here to read more








Rachael Fulton of Netflix



RF: Like most little-girl bookworms, I felt an affinity with Matilda, (though I lacked her skills in maths and telekinesis) but my favourite was probably Danny The Champion of The World. The gypsy caravan and paraffin lamps are vividly imprinted in my mind’s eye, more like a memory than something from my imagination ... click here to read more








The poet Ciara MacLaverty



CM: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte left a big impression on me as a teenager. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is haunting and spellbinding, as beautiful as it is scary. It's the novel of our Climate Emergency times ... click here to read more








Publishing Scotland's
Vikki Reilly



VR: ...Heller knows exactly what he’s doing in representing the random, chaotic, ugly, illogical world his characters find themselves in. I love its structure, the call backs, its anger, its moments of victory, every single one of the characters – even when they’re being utter arseholes. Oh, I’m due a re-read! ... click here to read more








Scots Whay Hae's
Alistair Braidwood



AB: I read it in one sitting on a flight to Australia in the late ‘90s and the sights, sounds, textures and flavours were almost overwhelming. I think the woman sitting beside me worried for my health as I was moved to tears on many occasions. They do say you feel more keenly at altitude so there may have been a bit of that ... click here to read more








Journalist & editor
Catherine Taylor



CT: It's a work of metafiction, and a story within a story, a form of the pseudonymous autobiography at which Nabokov excels, as well as being a novel of exile, a meditation on the loss of parents, and wild with literary ambition and hope. It's stuffed with beauty and poetry and wit, and the rather liberating idea that we are all just moveable characters on the stage of life ... click here to read more








The writer Lynnda Wardle



LW: Books about finding long-lost family on a leper colony in Crete, designer baby hospitals for rich women on fancy ocean liners with a searingly handsome gynaecologists, Books with pastel covers, aggressive marketed as 'women's fiction' or the 'Holiday Read'. You get the picture ... click here to read more








Allan Cameron
of Vagabond Voices



AC: She is part of an unusual story of an unjust world, which doesn't work out well. Sought-after marriages are unhappy, and perhaps the unhappiness teaches the victims something ... click here to read more








Samina Chaudhry
(of Ten Writers Telling Lies)



SC: This style comes from a certain segment of Nigerian society linked to the socio-economic and educational background of the speakers. Heartfelt and timeless, the destruction of war is reflected poignantly ... click here to read more








Pat Byrne
(of Ten Writers Telling Lies)



PB: I love everything about this story. The vivid imagery, fantastic dialogue and the richness of the emo-tions felt by the characters. The revelation of a disturbing memory ... click here to read more








Litstack's Lauren Alwan



LA: I was angered and disappointed by Terrorist by John Updike, a book the author confessed having researched by reading 'Islam for Dummies', which tells you all you need to know. The novel employs some of the worst and most ignorant stereotypes imaginable ... click here to read more








The novelist Dr Rodge Glass



RG: It’s about the power of language and corruption of language. There are two poets, ripped from their families as children, imprisoned by a regime that tasks them with waiting a lifetime to write a single poem ... click here to read more








Professor Simon Kövesi



SK: .. What a bag of self-inflationary hot air that book is. Like walking into a gentleman’s club in the 1910s and being shouted at for being in the wrong building. Just odious ... click here to read more








The novelist David Keenan



TCB: The book that most disappointed you?
DK: I Fought The Law: The Life And Strange Death of Bobby Fuller by Miriam Linna and Randell Fuller ... click here to read more








The Common Breath editor
Brian Hamill



BH: The beginning strikes me as much more significant. Everything rides on whether you’re going to engage with this writer’s world, or not. I suppose an answer for this depends on what you think of when you think of a brilliant opening to a novel – first line? First paragraph? Page? Chapter? ... click here to read more








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