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This Issue explores politics past and present, art as activism, urban and rural regeneration, Scottish history and more. Spanning poetry, non-fiction, fiction, and children's, this varied Issue highlights some of the many profound shifts, in thought and in practice, that humankind has continually undergone. Where will we go next?

We are delighted to feature the Author’s Note and part of the opening chapter from The Jungle, Pooja Puri’s hotly anticipated debut novel, and the first book from new Edinburgh-based imprint Ink Road. Here we meet Mico as he navigates the many dangers of the migrant encampment in Calais, commonly known as ‘the Jungle’, including the merciless ‘Ghost-Men’…  

Extract from The Jungle By Pooja Puri Forthcoming from Ink Road

Author’s Note

Much of the action of this story takes place in Calais, France. Here, on the border between land and sea, formerly lay the migrant encampment more commonly known as “the Jungle”. Its inhabitants came from far and wide – some to find a better life for themselves, others to escape political violence and war. The difficulties they endured on their journeys are unimaginable. Life in “the Jungle” was not much better. Facilities were, at best, basic; at worst, non-existent. There was little food. Charities did what they could but resources were limited.

While writing this book, I have tried to present as accurate a picture of the camp as I can. However, it is important to note that this story and its characters are a work of fiction. As such, there may be inevitable distortions between “the Jungle” as it existed in real life and the setting presented in the book. I hope, nonetheless, that in reading about Mico and Leila, readers can start to understand the despair and courage of those willing to risk everything for a brighter future.

Chapter 1

Mico was stealing.

He was lying in the dusty undergrowth, hidden by a scree...

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In this month’s column David Robinson encounters avant-garde artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz through two books: Wojnarowicz’s  forthcoming ‘memoir of disintegration’ Close to the Knives, and Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City, which will both be published by Canongate Books in March. Delving into Wojnarowicz’s pioneering political oeuvre, Robinson makes clear his importance as both innovative artist and defiant activist.

One hundred years after the outbreak of the Russian Revolution – what the Bolsheviks called “the  February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution”, as opposed to their own “Great October Socialist” one  –  it’s easy to be cynical about revolutions and revolutionaries. A century later, the idealism of a few hardline optimists in 1917 has, after all, faded into the plutocracy and cynicism of Putin’s Russia. What’s to celebrate about that?

So I want instead to point to a different revolution...

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Creating Freedom click

Creating Freedom

‘We need a revolution in our thinking that will spark a revolution in the way we organise our lives and structure our societies’

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Singing History: Speed Bonnie Boat click

Singing History: Speed Bonnie Boat

‘This new appetite for all things Jacobite is not restricted to film and TV’

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Radical Regeneration: Cities In Victorian Scotland click

Radical Regeneration: Cities In Victorian Scotland

‘The architecture of cities became a battleground for the Victorian soul’

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An Cuilithionn | The Cuillin click

An Cuilithionn | The Cuillin

‘the devilish revelry would drown / the voice of the wise and cry of the tortured’

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Why I Write Strong Girls: Lari Don click

Why I Write Strong Girls: Lari Don

‘We’re still telling those old tales with princesses as prizes, so perhaps the revolution isn’t over yet’

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Finding Hope In The Dark click

Finding Hope In The Dark

‘In the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act’

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From Annan to Zinkeisen: Scottish Women Painters and Sculptors click

From Annan to Zinkeisen: Scottish Women Painters and Sculptors

‘Flower painting was broadly considered the most acceptable form for women to practice’

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Tartan Tales: The Story Behind Black Watch click

Tartan Tales: The Story Behind Black Watch

‘The Black Watch was formed in the wake of the unsuccessful 1715 Jacobite Rebellion’

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A Petrol Scented Spring click

A Petrol Scented Spring

‘The women who come to speak at the Suffrage Society are the sort of women she would like to be’

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George MacLeod: Founder Of The Iona Community click

George MacLeod: Founder Of The Iona Community

‘How did the Iona Community really begin? The Seanachaidh tells it himself’

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Errant Blood click

Errant Blood

‘The man came at him with both hands outstretched and caught him in the chest, knocking him back against the wall’

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The Memoirs of The Last Grand Duchess of Russia click

The Memoirs of The Last Grand Duchess of Russia

‘The news that a revolution had broken out in St. Petersburg came like a veritable thunder bolt’

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Putting the ‘R’ in Evolution click

Putting the ‘R’ in Evolution

‘I suggest that Homo sapiens is an offshoot of an older form of humans called Homo passiens’

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GeoBritannica: On People and Landscape click

GeoBritannica: On People and Landscape

‘A few decades after Union, numerous market towns were planned and (re)built’

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On Writing and Feminism: Triona Scully click

On Writing and Feminism: Triona Scully

‘My debut novel looks at the role of gender in the serial killer sex crime genre’

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