This series of free events gives the public a chance to see, listen to and meet Scottish literary performers, from poets to crime novelists, folk musicians to a-capella singers; a different line-up each Thursday. On this particular evening it was unfortunate that Ewan Morrison couldn’t make it, but the four published writers remaining made up for it in sheer diversity of style yet connectedness of content.
First up was Hazel McHaffie with a sketchy yet lengthy synopsis of her novel which is centered around the suspect goings on at a fertility clinic with many a moral dilemma to boot; the sort of book that will get Daily Mail readers’ tongues clicking in eager judgement. If McHaffie had not delivered her speech as if to a class of remedial eight year olds, I might have warmed to her book.
Jennie Erdal, resplendent in green, talked about the philosopher David Hume and his influence on her novel “The Missing Shade of Blue”. She then went on to explain about the the main protagonist Eddie who is a translator but gave little away about her book. Her shyness endearingly gave a glimpse into Eddie’s character.
Anne Connolly immediately thanked us for being a big group (anytime, Anne!) as she had earlier in the week done a reading at the small independent Pulp Fiction bookshop on Bread Street. Connolly, a poet hailing from Ballymena, read from her shape poem, “Began” which tied in with the embryonic research theme of McHaffie’s, delivered with rhythm and soft Irish tones. Lucky for us, because of the gap left by Ewan Morrison, we were treated to more of Connolly’s delectable and occasionally very witty poetry. Sometimes she recited rather than read which was even better.
By this time the welcome cool of the air conditioning had become cold discomfort but the audience was warmed by crime writer Caro Ramsay’s amusing stories of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and meeting her translator. She is an absolute gas and although I have never read crime fiction, after hearing some of her grisly opening chapter, I may just try. Ramsay, who holds a diploma in forensic science, even managed to make a cheeky plug for the Killer Cookbook which is soon to be raising funds for a new centre for forensics in Glasgow. Apparently Scots make the best forensic detectives. I know, weird.