Wednesday, March 24, 2021

George Mackay Brown - Centenary Year

2021 has a few centenaries I'm planning on marking. There's Patricia Highsmith's which I know I should have celebrate din January, and who's massive collected short story collection Under A Dark Angel's Eye from Virago is weighing down my conscience right now (it's on top of a pile of guilt inducing books right in front of me all waiting to be read as a matter of urgency). It's a hundred years since Georgette Heyer published her first novel, The Black Moth, which I'll be reading as part of a Twitter group later in the year, which will be a lot of fun, and it's also George Mackay Brown's centenary. 

I think there's another one, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is (prompts gratefully received if anything seems obvious). 

I noticed a few weeks ago when I was combing through Birlinn's forthcoming titles that they're bringing out a trio of his titles in June. They were by no means the only things I noticed - browsing publishers websites is a potentially expensive pastime. It's Mackay Brown's short stories that I particularly love, and the collection edited by Malachy Tallack that has particularly caught my eye. I'm assuming this is a collection that Tallack has chosen, and despite having what I think is the whole set, I really want to see which ones make the cut in this volume.

It's probably also a good year to try and get to grips with Mackay Brown's poetry and novels. I failed utterly with Greenvoe so long ago that it's about time I tried again. And whilst I'm in an Orkney mood there's some Eric Linklater that might make good companion reading.

There is also a celebration and exhibition being run by Orkney Library (one of the best library twitter accounts out there) where they're asking people to knit and donate hats. These will be displayed and then sold to raise money for a local charity. I'm quite taken with this idea - I like knitting hats, I have a piece of his writing in mind as a starting point, and a bit of creativity always makes me feel better about the world in general, so whilst things are still relatively locked down this is a welcome project.


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