Scotland: Exploding the Myths?

Scotland: Exploding the Myths?

'To tell the story of a country or a continent is surely a great and complex undertaking; but the story of a quiet, unnoticed place where there are few people, fewer memories and almost no reliable records - a place such as Glen Conach - may actually be harder to piece together. The hazier everything becomes, the more whatever facts there are become entangled with myth and legend…' - so James Robertson’s latest masterpiece News of the Dead begins – and it is this intersection between truth, myth and legend that we examine in this series of events. 

How much do the stories that come from these shores help us make sense of our own – and the world’s - perception of Scottishness? From the rugged romanticism of our cities, lochs and people embellished by Sir Walter Scott, to Irvine Welsh’s gritty and alluring anti-heroes living on the fringes of society: where do we see ourselves amongst the canon of Scottish stories and characters? And how much do writers today have to unpick the work of their forebears in order to carve out their own truths – and myths – from this land? Join us for a captivating look into the past, present and future of Scottish writing.


Tom Devine with Allan Little: Rewriting Scotland’s History

Sunday 15 August 16:00 - 17:00

During the 20th century, Scotland commonly depicted its own history through the lens of a kind of colourful, tragicomic victimhood. This amounted to a tartan-clad story set against a Highland backdrop and a sense of national self-doubt that has...

Robin Robertson & Tim Robertson: Spirits of Scotland

Monday 16 August 14:30 - 15:30

Haunting, elemental and deeply charged, Robin Robertson’s writing evokes the mythology of landscapes and people, whether in Scotland or elsewhere. Most of his work takes the form of shorter poems and a new book, Grimoire, brings together some of...

Reading Scotland: James Robertson, Ghosts of the Glen

Monday 16 August 17:30 - 18:30

We are thrilled to present the new novel by one of Scotland’s most gifted authors, James Robertson. Ever since the acclaimed And the Land Lay Still, readers have been waiting for another novel by Robertson that would articulate the changing spirit and...

Denise Mina: Treason and Plot

Wednesday 18 August 14:30 - 15:30

BSL Interpreted, Captioned
Things just get better and better for Denise Mina. Her novels have twice been Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novels of the Year, and recently The Less Dead was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year. Now the Glasgow-based author has looked to a...

Val McDermid: The Winter of Our Discontent

Thursday 19 August 14:30 - 15:30

The fan club for Val McDermid’s books just keeps growing – lapping up each new novel featuring either DCI Karen Pirie or Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. But whether you’re an old hand or new to McDermid’s work, there’s something special this...

Reading Scotland: Helen McClory, The New Edinburgh Gothic

Thursday 19 August 17:30 - 18:30

In a northern European city not unlike Edinburgh, three young people’s lives intersect in the flat they share. But as Helen McClory’s eagerly anticipated Bitterhall unfolds, her characters Daniel, Orla and Tom begin to be haunted by something very...
A few months ago there was a minor storm in the Twitterverse when a group of Scottish authors realised their books would all be published on more or less the same day in August. How could we ignore this explosion of Scottish crime writing? Today we’re...

Stuart Kelly: Walter Scott, Writer of the Future?

Friday 20 August 11:30 - 12:30

Walter Scott had more impact than any other author on this country. Quite simply, he reimagined Scotland. Previously conceptualised by the likes of Samuel Johnson as ‘primitive’, with a landscape that was ‘horrid’, by the time Scott was done...

Meet the Makar: A Toast to Scotland’s New National Poet

Saturday 21 August 20:30 - 21:30

On the 18th of August, poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie was announced as Scotland's new Makar. Jamie – who writes in English and Scots – began writing poetry as a teenager and published her first booklet at the age of 20. "Since then," she says,...

One City: A Just Capital?

Monday 23 August 11:30 - 12:30

In 2005, the OneCity Trust and some of Edinburgh’s most famous authors created One City, a collection of short stories with the aim of fighting poverty and social exclusion across the city. January 2022 will see the publication of a new One City...