‘If you like poems that are honest, hilarious, visceral, tender and always surprising, you should definitely pick this one up.’
We’re very much looking forward to Martin MacInnes’s second novel, Gathering Evidence, after the success of his debut, Infinite Ground. He’s a writer who defies description, and likes to push boundaries in genre and form, while exploring ideas of technology, the environment and the world(s) we live in. In Gathering Evidence, we are taken to a dire future where a research team, led by Shel Murray, visits an exclusive national park to observe one of the last troops of bonobo chimpanzees. Amid unusual behaviour and unexplained deaths, Shel suspects her team is being hunted, and when her partner, John, is attacked, she realises that something even more catastrophic has to be stopped.
Gathering Evidence is published on 6th February. (Atlantic)
Shola Von Reinhold
In 2020, Jacaranda Books will be joining forces with Words of Colour Productions for its Twenty in 2020 initiative, celebrating black British writers. One of them is Scotland’s Shola Von Reinhold, a recent graduate from the Creative Writing MLitt at the University of Glasgow. Jacaranda will be publishing their debut novel, LOTE, which follows the narrator Mathilda’s fixation with the forgotten black Scottish modernist poet, Hermia Drumm. A fan of modernism and the avant-garde, Shola explores the ephemeral nature of art and beauty, and how art stakes its claim in history.
LOTE is published on 26th March. (Jacaranda Books)
Jane Alexander, a creative writing teacher at the University of Edinburgh and the Open University, is just about to release her second novel, A User’s Guide to Make-Believe. Her first novel, The Last Treasure Hunt, was published in 2015 and selected as a Waterstones Debut of the Year. Taking its cue from Black Mirror and Jane’s own fascination with virtual reality, A User’s Guide to Make-Believe follows Cassie, an employee of of the manufacturers of the virtual reality experience Make-Believe, as she herself gets caught up in using it to relive her memories of a past relationship.
A User’s Guide to Make-Believe is published on 23rd January. (Allison & Busby)
Another debutant, Laura Guthrie will be publishing her her first YA novel in the summer. Anna is a modern reimagining of childhood favourite, Pollyanna, where Guthrie’s Anna, who has Aspergers’ Syndrome, finds herself transported to Scotland to live with her reclusive mother after the death of her father. With two plays, a PhD and several award-winning short stories under her belt, we’re bound to hear a lot more from her in the future.
Anna is published in June. (Cranachan)
Colin Bramwell, Chris Boyland, Carly Brown & Bibi June
The wonderful folks at Stewed Rhubarb are encouraging all poetry lovers to subscribe to their Fellowship of Stewed Rhubarb this year to receive all their publications as well as other lyrical treats. They will be releasing pamphlets from four shining stars in Scotland’s spoken word scene: Jigsaw by Colin Bramwell, User Stories by Chris Boyland, Dramatis Personae by Carly Brown and Critique of the Criminal Justice System by Bibi June.
The Fellowship pamphlets will be published quarterly throughout 2020. (Stewed Rhubarb)
Coming highly recommended by the award-winning, and fellow Airdrieonian, David Keenan, as well as Kerry Hudson and Janice Galloway, Graeme Armstrong’s debut The Young Team looks set to dazzle us all in 2020. We follow the teenage years of Azzy Williams who’s ready to smoke, drink, fight and do anything for his gang of pals, though it might not all be good for him. Graeme Armstrong was picked up for Picador’s New Voices 2020, and the novel is based on his own experiences of growing up.
The Young Team is published on 5th March. (Picador)
It’s always good to get a new fictional bobby on the beat, and Deborah Masson’s creation, DI Eve Hunter, is pounding the mean streets of Aberdeen in her first novel, Hold Your Tongue. On her first day back from a sabbatical, DI Hunter is called to the scene of a gruesome crime. A young woman’s mutilated body has been discovered in a hotel room with a newspaper headline about the victim’s burgeoning modeling career is pinned to her. It is up to Eve to find the killer before they strike again. The novel is already garnering strong praise with fans already looking forward to its follow up.
Hold Your Tongue was published on 26th December 2019. (Corgi)
Ali Whitelock’s first book, Poking Seaweed with a Stick and Running Away from the Smell was a brilliant memoir of her childhood growing up in the west of Scotland. She now dedicates her writing time to poetry and her first collection And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can will be released in the UK later on this year. If you like poems that are honest, hilarious, visceral, tender and always surprising, you should definitely pick this one up.
And My Heart Crumples Like a Coke Can is published in April. (Polygon)
Joe Donnelly, a Glasgow-based journalist and mental health advocate, loves video games. And he is tired of reading about the supposed bad influence gaming has on the young and the introverted. His debut, Checkpoint: How video games power up minds, kick ass and save lives, seeks to counter those stories, reflecting on the comforting and healing effect that exploring digital worlds and narratives can have on mental health both personally and on a wider scale. The rehabilitation of gaming culture starts here!
Former nurse Hannah Foley won the Kelpies Prize for childrens’ writing in 2018, and this year sees the publication of that award-winning entry. The Spellbinding Secret of Avery Buckle is a childrens’ book (8-11 years) full of magic, adventure, enchanted bicyles and a host of characters from Scotland’s myths and legends. If you want to know Avery’s secret, you’ll have to get a copy!
The Spellbinding Secret of Avery Buckle is published on April 23rd. (Floris)