JUST OUT: Naturalist Polly Pullar has written a charming account of her adventures with Tufty-eared friends in A Scurry of Squirrels, Nurturing the Wild (Birlinn, £14.99). Passionate about red squirrels since her childhood in Ardnamurchan, she now works tirelessly to restore the habitats of these threatened animals, and hand-rears orphaned “kits” on her Perthshire farm before returning them to the wild.
Her book combines natural history and environmentalism with entertaining stories about her encounters with these much-loved creatures, and with other animals that share the beautiful part of Scotland where she lives. Warning that unless we are careful, “we are in increasing danger of losing these incredible, delightful woodland sprites” altogether, she makes a heart-felt call for the protection of wild places along with other measures needed to ensure the red squirrel “a healthy future in the northwest” of Scotland.
FESTIVAL: The Edinburgh International Book Festival, which takes place from August 14 to 30, will announce its line-up on Tuesday (July 6). Organisers promise a mix of Scottish and international, familiar and new names in a programme to be offered fully online but with some socially distanced IRL (In Real Life) audiences at their new home in Edinburgh College of Art.
Check their website http://edbookfest.co.uk from Tuesday for full details.
PRIZES: The shortlist for the Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year has been revealed. The four novels are The Silent Daughter by Emma Christie (Wellbeck); No Harm Done by Alistair Liddle (Self Published); Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison (Macmillan); and Waking the Tiger by Mark Wightman (Hobeck Books).
The shortlist is based on points received by a team of readers – largely made up of bloggers and booksellers – but the winner will be judged by Janice Forysth from BBC Radio Scotland, Simon Lloyd from Waterstones and Kenny Tweeddale from sponsors, the Glencairn Glass.
Bob McDevitt, Director of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival said: “Once again, I’ve been blown away by the quality of the debut novels submitted this year. The fact that three of them also feature on the McIlvanney Prize longlist gives you some idea of just how high the standard was this year.” bloodyscotland.com
Successful novelist Helen Sedgwick has described winning one of these awards as “the most important turning point in my career”. There are 11 days left until the applications closing date of July 14. Full details at http://scottishbooktrust.com