Malachy Tallack on coming to terms with BBC Radio 4

_’Hearing your own words, your own thoughts, on the radio is a very strange experience. And to hear them in the voice of an actor, on Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’, is doubly so. Particularly when those thoughts include such personal subjects as my relationship with home, my childhood and the death of my father.
But of course, alongside the strangeness, the nerves and the worry about what listeners and readers will think, there’s a great deal of excitement too.
Writing this book took several years, during which I travelled west around the sixtieth parallel, from my home in Shetland to Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway. A lot of research was required for this project, and a lot of thinking too. I took my time with it, carefully piecing it all together, and deciding what I wanted to say.
Now though the book is out of my hands, on the shelves and on the airwaves, and everything is happening at once. Interviews, talks, readings, and now blogs! As I say, there’s a great deal of excitement, and I’m trying my best to enjoy it.
The journeys I took, around the world at sixty degrees north of the equator, took me to some amazing places. I saw enormous icebergs melting on the shore in southern Greenland; I met a First Nations campaigner in Canada to discuss our relationship with the land; I had a close encounter with a terrifying animal in an Alaskan forest.
Throughout my travels, I was trying to learn more about what it is that connects people to the places where they live. What is it that makes people stay, despite the difficulties – despite the cold, the isolation, the storms? What does it mean to belong to a place?
At the same time, I was asking questions of myself. What is it that connects me to Shetland, the islands where I’ve spent most of my life? What does it mean to be at home there? Sometimes you have to go away in order to learn more about the place to which you return, and so it proved with this book.’_
Malachy Tallack, 60 Degrees North

From the Library – Orkney Library talks to the Scottish Review of Books

In Celebration of Libraries Week 2017, Scottish Review of Books talks to Louise Graham and the staff of Orkney Library about what makes their library tick

A Year of Spark - Bold Publishing Programme to mark the Centenary of Muriel Spark's birth

2018 is the centenary of Muriel Spark’s birth. One of the great writers of the 20th century, all 22 of her novels will be re-published by Polygon in a bold publishing move, A Year of Spark.

Independent Bookshops - Alexander McCall Smith

In the run up to Bookshop Day – 7 October 2017 – Alexander McCall Smith talks about the joy to be found within your local bookshop.