In Edinburgh, August is a time where the city becomes a stage, and we invite the whole world to be our audience. Though this year's festivals have been cancelled, with some events migrating online, BooksfromScotland is still here to delight you with book recommendations that encompass the best things about our international festivals. We have drama, music, storytelling and spectacle on offer this month, so take your seats - it's time for curtain up!

There have been a number of hotly-anticipated novels from Scottish authors this year, and Shuggie Bain definitely fits that bill. We caught up with author, Douglas Stuart, to ask him all about his debut novel and its enthusiastic reception.


Shuggie Bain By Douglas Stuart Published by Picador


Congratulations on Shuggie Bain’s publication ! This novel has been a long time coming; could you tell us about how the novel came together?

I began writing Shuggie Bain about twelve years ago, and worked on it for about ten years. When you grow up poor, it’s difficult to imagine yourself pursuing a literary life. I went to high school in Pollok and academia and writing were not seen as something that ‘boys like me did.’ I always felt like I’d furloughed my writing dreams, so in my thirties I sat down to write Shuggie for the pure pleasure in writing it. I love Scotland – I’m so proud to be from Glasgow – so I loved spending time with these characters. I even grew quite protective of my relationship with them.


And another mighty congratulations are in order too – Shuggie Bain has been announced as a contender on the Booker Prize longlist. You must be delighted at the reception your book is getting. Is your publishing experience surpassing all expectations?

It’s truly wonderful. I’m an outsider in the publishing world, so I wrote what became Shuggie Bain with absolutely no expectations, it was enough just to write. It was too intimidating to even imagine it published, I might have psyched myself out. So I just kept my head down and wrote the book I’d been carrying around in my heart for so long. It is amazing to me that it has been able to connect with readers in the way it has.


The boo...


Not quite a novel, not quite an essay, Scotland’s Charco Press new publication by Luis Sagasti, A Musical Offering, is a series of fragments, or prose patterns, that celebrate and muse on the wonder of music, silence and storytelling. It’s a most beguiling read, and here, we share an extract for you to enjoy.


Extracts from A Musical Offering By Luis Sagasti Published by Charco Press


No one knows why an eighteenth-century Count, with no problems other than those that come with his position – palace intrigues, a damsel’s jealousy, the tedium of protocol – is unable to make peace with his conscience and get to sleep at night, as is God’s will and his own fervent desire. Like all of us, Count Keyserling believes that lying awake in the dark when everyone else has left for the land of Nod is a form of punishment. A punishment that equalises: insomnia makes no disti...



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