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PUBLICATION DATE: November 15, 2021
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Letting Go: A timeline of tales
By Gerda Stevenson
The twelve stories in Letting Go take us on a journey through landscape, language and turbulent times, from the mid-19th century to the present day, and into the future. Stevenson’s array of characters from many walks of life and nationalities – including a traveller, a wood carver, chicken farm workers, a nurse, an architect and a magician – meet and part, some becoming reacquainted. Themes exploring identity, creativity and the environment, echo and connect throughout the different narratives, sometimes carried in snatches of song.
The author leads us outward from her native Scottish Borders to Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Gàidhealtachd, south to England, across the Atlantic to Apartheid South Africa and, finally, to the melting Arctic.
Praise for Letting Go:
What is instantly striking – apart from the breathtaking, page-turning fluency with which Stevenson writes both in English, and in a powerful and lyrical Border Scots – is how many of the stories are explicitly about love; both the radical, life-changing force of romantic and sexual love, and the equal weight of love that binds a woman to a grown child with special needs, and special insights. – JOYCE MCMILLAN, THE SCOTSMAN
Gerda Stevenson is an award-winning writer, actor, theatre director and singer-songwriter. She has worked on stage, television, radio, film and in opera, throughout the UK and abroad. She is a recipient of Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland writers’ bursaries, won the YES Arts Festival Poetry Challenge in 2013, and the Robert Tannahill Poetry Prize in 2017. Her stage play Federer Versus Murray, directed by the author, toured to New York in 2012 and was published there by Salmagundi. In 2014 she was nominated as Scots Singer of the Year for the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, following the launch of an album of her own songs Night Touches Day. She has written extensively for radio, including original plays and dramatisations of Scottish novels. Her first poetry collection, If This Were Real (Smokestack Books, 2013), was published in 2017 by Edizioni Ensemble, Rome, as Se Questo Fosse Vero, translated into Italian by Laura Maniero. Gerda wrote the biographical introduction and a series of poems for the book Inside & Out: The Art of Christian Small, which she also edited (Lyne Press, 2018, now published by Scotland Street Press, 2019). Her most recent book is Edinburgh, a collaboration with Scottish landscape photographer Allan Wright, for which she wrote the introduction and a sequence of twenty-two poems (Allan Wright Photographic, 2019). A seasoned performer, she won a BAFTA Best Film Actress award for her role in Margaret Tait’s feature film Blue Black Permanent, and is the founder of Stellar Quines, Scotland’s leading women’s theatre company.