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Inner Space can mean many things, whether swimming across the globe, navigating fantasy realms, or simply ruminating on life, and there's no finer example of that breadth than the fiction, children's books, poetry and more you'll find in this issue. Let's dive in.

A tale of two times. It’s 2019 – Hannah Greenshields has her first day at Memory Lane, a memory clinic in Edinburgh’s centre, which houses advanced technology which allows clients to relive their favourite memories for a substantial fee. Fly back to 1975 and John Valentine, another client, is reliving his wedding day over and over, hoping to change one key event he can’t forget. John soon realises his memory isn’t such a safe place after all. The pair must work together to get John back to the real world before it’s too late. Ross Sayers had a quick chat with Books From Scotland to celebrate his latest release.

 

The Everliving Memory of John Valentine By Ross Sayers Published by Fledgling Press

 

Another publication day for you – congratulations! Could you tell us about your latest book The Everliving Memory of John Valentine?

Thank you so much! Of course, the book is about a mysterious memory facility in the middle of Edinburgh, Memory Lane, which allows wealthy clients to pay to relive 12 hour segments from their memory. The narrative is mainly split between Hannah, who is a new employee of Memory Lane, and John, who is reliving his wedding day over and over again. Hannah discovers that clients can’t be automatically removed from their memories when the 12 hour period is up, and it’s her job to go into client’s memories if they refuse to leave after their allotted time. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that Hannah ends up going into John’s memory at some point…

You’re a bit of a writing machine! This is your second book in the space of a year, and a year, let’s face it, that has been quite challenging. How have you stayed motivated to write?

I definitely think I had a bit more motivation at the start of lockdown, when th...

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Nina Mingya Powles first learned to swim in Borneo, where her mother was born and her grandfather studied freshwater fish. There, the local swimming pool became her first body of water. Through her life there have been others that have meant different things, but have still been, in their own way, home: from the wild coastline of New Zealand to a pond in the northwest of London. Nina’s debut essay collection Small Bodies of Water, which weaves together personal memories, dreams and nature writing, and what it means to belong, won the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize for nature writing. You can read a brilliant excerpt below.

 

Extract taken from Small Bodies of Water By Nina Mingya Powles Published by Canongate Books

 

‘I think about loving swimming the way you love somebody. How a kiss happens, gravitational.’ Leanne Shapton...

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ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

David Robinson reviews: News of the Dead, Rizzio and Rose Nicholson click

David Robinson reviews: News of the Dead, Rizzio and Rose Nicholson

‘I don’t think there’s been a summer when so  many Scottish writers have brought the past so vividly back to life. ’

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Monument Maker click

Monument Maker

‘Is it possible for books to read? For books to dream within books?’

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The Book According To… Val McDermid click

The Book According To… Val McDermid

‘I also plan to tell a series of damn good stories with some dead bodies along the way!’

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Love: An Archaeology click

Love: An Archaeology

‘When you’re safely ensconced in a bubble, you are in a comfort zone.’

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The Fair Botanists: Interview with Sara Sheridan click

The Fair Botanists: Interview with Sara Sheridan

‘For me the fascination is always in asking the question: where do we come from?’

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Borges and Me click

Borges and Me

‘God was the first and only librarian.’

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Line click

Line

‘Thou shalt not skip the line’

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Strategy: Get Arts – 35 Artists Who Broke the Rules click

Strategy: Get Arts – 35 Artists Who Broke the Rules

35 Artists Who Broke the Rules

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Grimms’ Fairy Tales in Scots click

Grimms’ Fairy Tales in Scots

‘Some bizzum’s been sittin in ma chair.’

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The Darlings: An interview with Angela Jackson click

The Darlings: An interview with Angela Jackson

‘I wanted to explore what [accidentally killing someone] might do to someone.’

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Fish Town click

Fish Town

‘many of us spend our entire lives in hiding’

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The Climbers click

The Climbers

‘I’d be famous and remembered for ever because I’d choose its name.’

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This Good Book click

This Good Book

‘Sometimes I wonder if I had known that it was going to take me fourteen years to paint this painting of the Crucifixion, and what it would take for me to paint it.’

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The Knitting Station click

The Knitting Station

‘Madame Jeanne is concerned with the glamour, the story-telling of knitwear.’

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Between Tongues click

Between Tongues

‘Up the mountain. Through birch bones. Through leaf-whispers. Away from camp, where the children should be rising, bleary, pre-dawn, putting on orange T-shirts.’

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Beyond the Swelkie click

Beyond the Swelkie

‘Quiet meditations, the start of a lovely dawn / broken, piece by piece as day breaks.’

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