The Literary/Genre Divide

At the Edinburgh Book Festival this year I interviewed Tess Gerritsen and Michèle Roberts (post coming soon). Whenever I interview someone, I always ask right at the end, ‘is there anything else you want to tell me?’ Sometimes they just say ‘no’ and other times they come out with the most interesting/surprising/inspiring nugget of personal information. Gerritsen and Roberts both responded to this question by saying they hated the genre/literary divide.

I knew straight away that I wanted to explore this issue. Without even meaning to, I had stumbled upon two writers on either side of a chasm,  both of whom wanted a little of what the other had. 

I just wrote a post about it over at Scottish Book Trust’s Soapbox blog. It would make me very happy if you would pop over there to read it and leave a comment. I feel quite nervous about having something I’ve written posted on a website that isn’t all mine. It would be nice to see some familiar names in the comments box!

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’ve made a suggestion about how we could shrink that alienating literary/genre divide. I’m sure you also have some ideas and I’d love to hear them.


Medieval Helpdesk

If you have signed up for Scottish Book Trust’s mailing list, you will have received their Christmas e-mail complete with a link to suggestions of 21 ways to procrastinate online this Christmas. Check it out. There’s a website recommendation from me in there too.

My favourite was Caitrin’s link to the Medieval Helpdesk sketch on youtube:

Do you  have a favourite book or reading related website, video, blogs etc. that you would like to recommend?

Family Legends

Robinson Crusoe Book CoverToday Scottish Book Trust launched Family Legends, a new reading and writing campaign, in partnership with Lottery Heritage Fund and BBC Radio Scotland. Family Legends invites you to write a true story of between 100 and 1000 words inspired by a character or event in your family history. Stories can be submitted online and will be published on the Family Legends website. A selection of the stories will be published in a book (previous projects have seen the publication of The Book That Changed My Life and Days Like This) and five will be broadcast on BBC Radio.

I’m thinking about who I’m going to write about. Apparently I had a great-great-uncle who sailed to the Antarctic (I think. May have been the other pole. I’ll need to check that out). Or my grandmother was pretty well known for her mean sense of humour: when my uncle was a small boy she pushed his face in a trifle when he leaned over to admire it. (What kind of mother does that to her own child? Or ruins a perfectly good dessert that she has made herself, for that matter? It boggles the mind.) Or I might write about the time my dad found the tip of Robinson Crusoe’s compass on the island where he was marooned (the real Robinson Crusoe that is, Alexander Selkirk. I think it would be cooler to be related to Selkirk than to the chap who found his compass tip but hey-ho, you can’t have everything).

Who is a legend in your family?