Thursday, July 26, 2007

An Orcadian Break

I'm heading off on holiday for a couple of weeks - but have no fear! Suffer & Survive comes in a handy 18 chapters, enough to give you a fulsome daily dose of a grand story till this blog returns full steam.
We're heading up to the Orkney Islands, one week in a caravan on Burray and another in a newly converted barn overlooking the sea on South Ronaldsay.
This is pure holiday - walking, discovering the island, gazing out, reading. Years ago I watched Harlan Ellison give a talk to scifi-fans at a Glaswegian scifi convention. In wonderfully acerbic fashion he berated anyone there who had not yet read George Mackay Brown, a writing master in their own land. Mackay Brown's novel Beside the Ocean of Time is coming with me, along with Maggie Ferguson's new biography of the man, which I'm told she rewrote at an editor's suggestion so it became simultaneously a book about the Orkneys. Other readng matter sifting its way towards my suitcase: A. L. Kennedy's So I am Glad; John Banville's The Sea; Sarah Hall's The Carhullan Army; William Gibson's Count Zero; A. M. Homes' Jack; David Austin's A Clear Calling; and the selected poems of Fernando Pessoa. Some of those are new writers for me - holidays are a good chance to stretch my reading wings.
Hopefully I'll see some of you on my way back down from the Orkneys. I emerge for my gig at the Edinburgh Book Festival on August 14th (10.30am), and I understand other Scottish events are being set up for me that week. I'll aim to find an internet cafe in Kirkwall and post any updates should they come in.
Those copies of Suffer & Survive in the picture are stacked up on a table in our own front room - hopefully to be replicated on a book store table near you some time soon! Or place orders in your library (no overseas editions as yet). It does make great holiday reading. Enjoy your own break if and when it comes.
Off we go - looking forward to the Minke whales as they slide past our conservatory window.


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