Skip navigation to content

School of English news - Nov-Dec 2016

An Leabhar Liath / The Light-Blue Book

An Leabhar Liath / The Light-Blue Book, a new anthology tracing 500 years of Scottish Gaelic love and transgressive poetry and song, will be launched at the end of November. Co-edited by Dr Peter Mackay, and Iain S MacPherson, the anthology offers a glimpse into a side of Gaelic culture that was not just ignored, but actively suppressed, over the course of centuries: a focus on the body, sexuality and love that does not fit in with the Balmoralized, shortbread-tin version of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The book has been awarded the Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek for the best Gaelic book of 2016. It is published by Luath, Edinburgh, and is available in all disreputable book-shops:

Scotland and the First World War

Scotland and the First World WarScotland and the First World War: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Bannockburn is a new interdisciplinary collection of essays edited by Professor Gill Plain and published by Bucknell University Press. The book explores the martial myths that shaped Scottish identity from the aftermath of Bannockburn to the close of the nineteenth century, and asks why so many Scottish soldiers signed up to fight in the First World War. What motivated these men, how were they represented, and what did they think they were fighting for? At the heart of the collection is an interrogation of what might be termed 'anniversary culture' – the events and people that societies remember and those they choose to forget – and the project emerges from a colloquium held in the School of English to mark the convergent anniversaries of the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Featuring essays by experts from the fields of literature, history and cultural studies, including the School's Professor Robert Crawford and Dr Peter MacKay, Scotland and the First World War examines how Scotland remembers war, and how remembering war has shaped Scotland.

Saltire Poetry Short List

Collections by two members of staff in the School of English have been shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of the Year. 40 Sonnets by Professor Don Paterson (Faber & Faber) and Gu Leòr / Galore by Dr Peter Mackay (Acair) are among six books in contention for the prize, which will be announced in Edinburgh on 24 November. A former Professor from the School, Kathleen Jamie, is also in the running for The Bonniest Companie (Picador).

BBC Radio 3 Feature

Dr Peter Mackay presented a Sunday Feature on BBC Radio 3 on 13 November. Based on his new anthology, An Leabhar Liath / The Light-Blue Book, this 22-minute feature explores euphemism, innuendo and eroticism in Scottish Gaelic songs; how these songs were expurgated and censored during the 19th century; and how – if you know how to read it – the Scottish landscape can be seen in a more suggestive and bawdy light. The programme was originally broadcast on Sunday 13 November at 1845, and is available on the BBC iPlayer:

Memories of Partition

Memories of Partition'Memories of Partition' is an artistic response to the traumatic legacy of the 1947 India/Pakistan partition, based on research by Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri in collaboration with artist Adrienne Salgado. From 17 to 25 November, a selection from their work will be exhibited at the Punjabi Junction café and community centre on Leith Walk in Edinburgh. The exhibition will be accompanied by three public events: a conversation and Q&A between the artist and Dr Raychaudhuri on their working process and two interactive performances based on archival records and oral history interviews. The exhibition and events will explore the complicated histories of India, Pakistan and Britain, and challenge the audience’s understanding of national borders, national memory, and national storytelling.

The dates of the events are as follows:

8pm, Friday, 18 November – A Q&A session with artist Adrienne Salgado and academic Anindya Raychaudhuri
What is the relationship between oral history and art? How can academics and artists work together on collaborative creative projects?

8pm, Monday, 21 November – Partition: The Calcutta Question
An interactive, immersive event exploring the processes that led to partition. We examine the process by which the decision of the boundary commission was made: the arbitrary resolution of an impossible dilemma. We ask you: Was it the right decision? Could any decision be the ‘right’ decision?

8pm, Thursday, 24 November – Remembering Partition, Telling Stories
We will explore people's memories of partition through an interactive performance. How do people remember partition today, and how do we go forward using these memories?

More information here, or please email

Poetry Reading by Dr Oli Hazzard

Friday 18th November 2016
Centre for Poetic Innovation
5.30-7pm, Byre Theatre, Studio

Oli's first collection of poems, Between Two Windows (Carcanet, 2012), won the English Association's Michael Murphy Memorial Prize, an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, and was a book of the year in the Guardian, Financial Times and Times Literary Supplement. A pamphlet of prose poems, Within Habit, was published by Test Centre in 2014.

Other Publications

Media and Print Culture Consumption in Nineteenth-Century BritainDr Katie Garner has a chapter on Victorian girls reading Malory in a new collection Media and Print Culture Consumption in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Victorian Reading Experience, edited by Paul Raphael Rooney and Anna Gasperini and published by Palgrave Macmillan.

A post by Professor Susan Sellers on the writing of her novel Vanessa and Virginia about the lives of writer and artist Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell has been published in Biographical Fiction: A Reader, edited by Michael Lackey, by Bloomsbury this month.


On 8 November Lesley Glaister conducted a writing Masterclass at the Scottish Writers' Centre at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow.

Postgraduate News

Patrick Errington's poem, 'White Lies', was selected by National Book Award winner Mary Szybist to appear in the forthcoming Best New Poets Anthology from the University of Virginia Press.

Zoë Sutherland presented a paper at the University of Saarland in Germany, about 'Strange Intentions and Familiar Fictions in Ben Jonson', as part of the conference 'Strangeness in Early Stuart Performance', on the 3 November.

Alumnae News

Congratulations to Drs Jacqueline Dillion, Megan Hoffman, Hope Jennings and Karin Koehler on book publications arising from their Ph. D. research in the School of English.

Jacqueline Dillion's monograph, Thomas Hardy: Folklore and Resistance, Megan Hoffman’s monograph Gender and Representation in British Golden Age Crime Fiction, and Karin Koehler's monograph, Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams, and Postal Systems, all based on their St Andrews doctoral theses, have been published by Palgrave; Hope Jenning’s debut novel Nostalgia, the definitive biography of Mina Byrne, obscure avant-garde poet, painter, lamp-shade maker, and never-before-suspected muse of infamous Russian-American novelist, Vasili Novikov, and his son, Andrew Brennan, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has been published by Anti-Oedipus Press.