Monday, 25 January 2010

Heading North By North West

Well, it's official, I am definitely going back to Alaska in May - yippee! I have a guarantee that I am going to get to spend time with my lovely friend Mary, plus I am going to get to visit Stony River (population 65), a village that I haven't yet been to, where they want me to attend a Fine Arts Festival they are putting on, flying in the students from all the Upriver Schools. The students will take part in a number of activities and one of them this year will be writing something, with a view to publishing or performing it. I can't wait. As long as they don't expect me to paint or dance, we should be OK...

Talking of festivals, Ian Rankin is currently in India. You can follow him at the Lit Sutra Blog. Or you could follow Ian himself on Twitter. In which case you will be treated to such wonderful comments as "Postcard 2. Now in Kolkata. 26 degrees but not humid and no midges. Curries eaten: 11. Kingfishers drunk: 28. Meeting readers: priceless." Marvellous stuff. And BooksPlease has an excellent write-up of Ian's recent award from West Lothian Libraries.

Marcel Berlins in the Times rather likes Scottish crime writers Catriona MacPherson and Tony Black, and calls Tony Black "a compelling and convincing portrayer of raw emotions in a vicious milieu." Excellent. And a good review of Russel McLean's THE GOOD SON at

Charles Cumming talks about spying and books on YouTube.

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy on Glasgow's Aye Write festival.

And, finally, Douglas Lindsay is good to his readers. This isn't the first time he's posted short stories online and, apparently, it won't be the last.


  1. I'm so jealous -- I'm DYING to go to Alaska. Are you familiar with the writer Seth Kantner?

  2. Chris - it's the most gorgeous place I've ever been, and the people are fantastic. I bought my partner his ORDINARY WOLVES - have you read that one?

  3. I have read that one, yes. I loved it! I wrote a blog post about Seth the last time he was in town, in case you're interested.

    If I were a single man, or if Julia ever wises up and kicks me to the curb, I think I would disappear into the wilds of Alaska. Naked, but for a loincloth.

  4. Now, Donna, not wanting to be rude or anything, but why do they want you in Alaska? I mean, anyone would be a fool not to, but what do you do to the Alaskans to warrant this toing and froing?

    I read your Alaskan blog, which was great fun, but other than carting lots of bags of crisps over there, I didn't quite get what the purpose of your trip was. (Oh dear, I'm beginning to sound like Immigration.)

  5. Chris - thanks for the link! Sounds good - I picked up a copy while I was there last time. I thought it sounded sufficiently 'literary' enough for my partner :o)

    Bookwitch - you mean taking sweets and chocolate is not a good enough excuse to go? Actually, I was 'teaching' creative writing in Yup'ik schools to students fromthe ages of 5 to 18. I put 'teaching' in brackets because what I was actually doing was having a lot of fun, making up stories and laughing. Amongst all the posts about ice cream made of fish, and getting to fly a plane, I did occasionally post about some of the classes. Like this one: