The Ithacan Sonnets: Penelope tae Odysseus

Whit an odyssey! Elaine Morton has turned the Greek epic tapsalteerie wi forty sonnets that gie insicht intae events thro the een o the owerluiked heroine, Penelope – a wumman wi a guid Scots tung in her heid. This version pruives that ye dinnae need tae stravaig ower seas whan adventures o the hert an hearth can be even mair upsteerin. The reader wull fi nd this Penelope speaks fur mony wummen weel ayont auncient Greece – wi nae cheynge there! Frances Robson.

Sangs That Sing Sae Sweit

50 Years o Lallans Poesie

Since it first kythit in 1972 The Scots Leid Associe/The Scots Language Society has ettled tae publish a fowth o screivins by the maist byordinair makars and screivers o Scots in the pages o its bi-annual magazine, Lallans. Lallans is a ferlie in itsel, haen survived and fordered tae rax tae its 100th issue in 2022.

Sangs That Sing Sae Sweit is an ingaitheran o some o the best wark by the heidmaist authors tae screive poetry in the Scots leid ower this hauf century o mensefou chynge in Scottish life, politics and cultur. It sterts wi the makars at the hinder-end o Scottish Leiterary Renaissance and taks the reader up intil the here and nou and the new generation o screivers, the bairns o the Scottish Parliement.

Sangs That Sing Sae Sweit is pruif that Scots is no a deean language. Alang wi Wunds That Blaw Sae Roch (The Scots prose anthology that is published sib wi it) it is steekit wi tentfou, thochtie and brawsome celebrations o our kintrae, our landscape, fowk, sangs, leir and history. While it celebrates the cairrying stream o bonnie screivers, some wha hae passed on, it bides relevant and luiks faurrit tae the hecht and hairst o the future.

Sangs That Sing Sae Sweit tells us that the Scots leid is whaur it aye has been - the ongaun and virrfou vyce o the fowk.


C/O George T. WATT, 61 Cliffburn Road, Arbroath, DD11 5BA

Email: Tel: +44 (0) 1241 879 098


         Margaret Bennett

Dundee Street Songs, Rhymes and Games: The William Montgomerie Collection 1952

In 1952 when these songs and rhymes were recorded in Hilltown, Dundee there may not have been a street or playground anywhere where the sound of children singing and playing was not part of everyday life.

Although there had been Scottish collectors of ‘bairn sangs’ since the 1820s, it was not until the 1940s that anyone in Scotland audio-recorded the actual sound of playground voices.

Note: contact Grace Note Publication if you bought your BOOK without a CD.


The prestigious Iona and Peter Opie Prize for Children’s Folklore 2022 has been awarded to Scottish folklorist Margaret Bennett (Professor, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), for her book, Dundee Street Songs, Rhymes and Games: The William Montgomerie Collection, 1952, illustrated by Les McConnell. The prize was announced at the annual conference of the American Folklore Society, Oct. 2022.

Margaret Bennett

Dundee Street Songs, Rhymes and Games: The William Montgomerie Collection 1952

The voices of these school children captured the vitality of the local dialect, the spontaneity of their language-use outside the classroom, their repertoire of songs, rhymes and games, their musicality, as well as the sounds that echo the speed and accuracy of their hand-eye coordination.

Winner of the Iona and Peter Opie Prize for Children’s Folklore 2022

If you purchase the book without a CD - contact Grace Note Publications for your free copy -

      Margaret Bennett

We Are the Engineers!: They Taught Us Skills for Life

Scotland’s labour history has been the subject of many important studies, surveys, articles and books. Some of those published represent the invaluable collection of local groups and amateur historians, while others have been, and are, produced by academics and labour officials. The general expectation, even in Scotland, is that these works should be written in Standard English, regardless of the everyday speech of the workforce. For this publication, however, it seemed more important to transcribe, as recorded, the voices of folk whose vitality of language and expression gives a brighter reflection of their experiences during work and leisure.

This book has grown out of an oral history project, ‘The End of the Shift’, which aims to record the working practices and conditions of skilled workers in Scotland’s past industries. Publicity about the project caught the interest of a group of retired engineers, who had all served apprenticeships with a prestigious Kirkcaldy firm, Melville-Brodie Engineering Company. Having lived through times when Scotland seemed blighted by industrial closures, the engineers could identify with ‘the end of the shift’ as they had experienced the effect of closing down Melville-Brodie Engineering Company. The entire workforce was dispersed, and with it, the skills, expertise and wisdom of generations. Kirkcaldy also lost a company that had been the pride of Scottish engineering.

Margaret Bennett

Robert MacLeod: Miner Poet

This collection is a treasure trove of life in Fife in the early part of the 20th Century, created by the pen of Robert MacLeod. My generation caught the tail end of those riches of song and poetry, but Bob MacLeod was there and captured the age in his writings.

The great John Watt appreciated him hugely and, thanks to this lovingly restored archive, we all get to know the man and his work, so long forgotten. It’s wonderful, colourful and full of the human spirit.

Barbara Dixon,October 2015

Margaret Bennett with Eric Rice

Beatha, Òrain agus Ceòl Ethel NicChaluim.

In 1942 Ethel MacCallum was evacuated from an orphanage in Glasgow to the Island of Tiree, where she became fluent in Gaelic and absorbed a wealth of tradition. Her natural gift of music and song was encouraged and she composed music and songs in Gaelic and English.

Though established musicians perform her compositions, her original work has not previously been published or copyrighted. Her life story, both fascinating and moving, along with her songs and music is the subject of a book and CD, which also aims to support the Gaelic language and help maintain Gaelic tradition in music and song.

'Recollections of an Argyllshire Drover' and Other West Highland Chronicles

Recollections of an Argyllshire Drover” & Other West Highland Chronicles by Eric R. Cregeen. Edited by Margaret Bennett

Eric Cregeen’s groundbreaking research into the Argyll Estate Papers and into the oral tradition of the Scottish West Highlands are at the heart of this collection. During his appointment at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies, Cregeen tape-recorded tradition bearers in both Gaelic and English, gathering information that is today priceless, such as the descriptions of the last Argyll drover.
He was a founding member of the Scottish Oral History movement, but his tragically early death in 1983 robbed Scotland of a great scholar, social historian and folklorist and of other proposed books.
This collection, selected and edited by Professor  Margaret Bennett, will be welcomed by a wide range of readers, especially those who share Cregeen’s enthusiasm for ‘approaching the history of the Highlands with a mind alert to the claims of oral tradition.’
The book begins with a masterful introductory essay by the editor and also includes a comprehensive bibliography of Cregeen’s work. This edition brings invaluable and beautifully written material to a new generation keen to reconnect with Scotland's Highland history and tradition.

Margaret Bennett with Doris Rougvie

'In our day...' Reminiscences and Songs from Rural Perthshire

Life in the glens and villages of Perthshire is viewed through the eyes of shepherds, farmers, crofters, estate workers, housewives, gardeners, professionals, trades-people and children.
They all share reminiscences, stories, games, sayings and rhymes in Scots and Gaelic, which have been recorded for this book. Excerpts of transcriptions have been woven together by folklorist Margaret Bennett who also draws strands from written records.

Perthshire singer and tradition-bearer Doris Rougvie has also illustrated the book, which concludes with a selection of Perthshire songs. Along with several friends, Doris and Margaret have recorded all the songs, available on a CD from Grace Note Publications.

Margaret Bennett

Local, Social & Political History in the Repertoire of a Newfoundland-Irish Singer

This timeless Songs collection, recorded in Codroy Valley, Newfoundland, 1980 by folklorists Kenneth S. Goldstein and Margaret Bennett , is a tribute to singer Jerome Downey. This is not only a song book but is a Local, Social & Political History of Newfoundland’s Codroy Valley.

To appreciate the way of life in any part of Newfoundland, the reader should bear in mind that, until 1949, Canada was another country. Anyone born before that year, is, first and foremost, a Newfoundlander, belonging to a unique island with a long history – it has the distinction of being Britain’s oldest colony. Given that Canada’s newest province was less than twenty years old when Bennett first went there, it was very common to hear folk explain, ‘I’m not a Canadian, I’m a Newfoundlander.’ Thus, to understand the social, cultural and historical context of a song, it is essential to appreciate where it comes from, and especially to acknowledge the people who compose and sing the song.

If there is no land or work, there are no people, no livelihood, no stories, no music, no songs… (Gavin Sprott)

In the Codroy Valley, the folk who have worked on the land or fished the rivers and coastal waters for nearly two centuries are a mix of Irish, English, Scottish Gaels, French and Mi’kmaq. For as long as anyone remembers, they have enjoyed getting together for ‘a few tunes’, songs, yarns and a cup of tea. The kettle is always on the stove and, more often than not, a few glasses appear from the cupboard and make their way to the kitchen table– they need no excuse for a ceilidh or a kitchen party, with accordions, bagpipes, fiddles, guitars, spoons and mandolins as well as songs that would lift the heaviest heart. To Jerome and his people, songs and music are way of life..

Margaret Bennett with Doris Rougvie

Nell Hannah: Aye Singin an Spinnin Yarns

Nell Hannahwas born in rural Aberdeenshire in 1920 and grew in Turriff, where her family scraped a meagre living as domestic and farm servants. After the outbreak of WWII, Nell and her sister Margaret moved with their mother to Perthshire, where all three got jobs at the Stanley Mill. At the time, it was running full tilt to produce webbing for military requirements and despite long hours and austere conditions; Nell recalls her years as a mill lassie as being memorably happy.

In conversation with folklorist Margaret Bennettand long-time friend and fellow-singer,Doris Rougvie, Nell shares a life-time of reminiscences and songs. In recalling the hey-day of an industry that shut down in the 1980s, she constructs an oral history of life in war-time Perthshire. Then, following life’s paths with its twists and turns, Nell tells how, at the age of sixty-nine, she discovered her gift of singing and entertaining. Having made her first recording, a cassette, at the age of seventy, and her fifth CD at the age of 90, Nell can hold an audience in the palm of her hand.

Margaret Bennett

The Legacy of Allan MacArthur: Newfoundland Traditions Across Four Generations

Dileab Ailein:

This book discusses the history and traditions of a community of Scottish Gaels who emigrated from the Isle of Canna and Moidart in the nineteenth century and settled in the Codroy Valley, Newfoundland. Based on fieldwork recordings from 1969 to 2007, the book and double CD production celebrates four generations of the remarkable MacArthur family whose vibrant Scottish Gaelic traditions of song and music both endured and evolved through each generation to the present day.

Margaret Bennett

Notes and Memories of Music-making with Martyn Bennett

The book features notes and memories of music-making of artist Martyn Bennett.

This work includes topics such as: a short biography and discussion of ethnomusicology of the Scottish music composed and performed by Martyn Bennett. Compiled by folklorist and singer Margaret Bennett (Martyn's mother), the book is a collection of evocative, informative and amusing anecdotes from a wide range of contributors including Brian McNeill, Cathal McConnel, Sheila Stewart, Martyn's piping teacher, fellow musicians and friends.

Beatrix Potter

Sgeulachd Pheadair Rabaid-

Sgeulachd Pheadair Rabaid: Gaelic translation of The Tale of the Peter Rabbit, published in 1902. While holidaying in Dunkeld, Beatrix Potter wrote her first draft of Peter Rabbit. Not surprisingly, Mr McGregor appears, as Perthshire is the home of the ancient Clan Gregor. Now, at last, Gaelic-speaking children may delight in Tales of Peter Rabbit, family and friends. Margaret Bennett, Perthshire, 2008.

See all formats and edition. See also Peadar a Bruidhinn Gaidhlig: Peadar Rabaid is a Charaidean’ (Scots Gaelic) Audio CD

WALTER PERRIE in Conversation with Scottish Writers: Donald Campbell, Duncan Glen, Tessa Ransford, Trevor Royle,  William Hershaw, Alasdair Gray, Margaret Bennett, and  John Herdman

The interviews in this collection were recorded over a period of fifteen years between 2006 and 2020. They include leading figures in our national poetry, drama, the novel, short story, history, and folk-studies, as well as publishing, education and broadcasting.

WALTER PERRIE grew up in Lanarkshire in the 1950s and was educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Stirling. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, philosophical and critical essays and pamphlets, as well as a book on Eastern Europe, Roads that Move (Mainstream, 1991), written in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2020 Grace Note Publications published Walter Perrie’s celebrated lyrical autobiography in 101 poems, The Ages of Water.

Book Review by Haden Murphy

The eight interviews in this handsome publication by the Scottish poet and scholar Walter Perrie were recorded between 2006-2020. The subjects are Dramatist Donald Campbell, publisher Duncan Glen, Poet and founder of the Scottish Poetry Library Tessa Ransford, Historian and first Literary Director of the Scottish Arts Council (1971-78) Trevor Royle, Scots language poet William Hershaw, novelists Alasdair Gray and John Herdman and singer and folklorist Margaret Bennett. The conversations with Royle and Ransford are essential for all interested in cultural matters in Scotland over the last half-century.

Walter Perrie

The Ages of Water

This major collection of mature work by a Scottish poet who still lacks the degree of recognition he deserves is, as implied by its epigraph, a complex composite autobiography of the inner life. It articulates the progression of the self from infancy to adulthood and onwards to the long preparation for death which is the path we must all take. One of the principal ways in which it does so lies in its intense engagement with and love of nature, for, to cite the title of a key poem, “All Things are Signs”, as Boehme knew. More than that, they are “shadows cast by the invisible”, and the extraordinary sensuous beauty of so many of these poems is the measure of the spiritual sensibility which pervasively informs them.

William Hershaw Les McConnell

Saul Vaigers

Saul Vaigers (Scots for “Soul Travellers”) is a unique collaboration between award winning poet William Hershaw and artist Les McConnell. Based on the concept of a breviary or prayer book, the beautifully designed pamphlet is a calendar of Saints, each related to Scotland, its medieval shrines and pilgrims’ routes. The poems and stunning artwork deal with themes of maintaining faith and hope through difficult times and are highly relevant in the context of today’s world. Each section comes with an explanatory note. This is a book that will be treasured by a range of folk who are interested in walking, poetry, Scottish landscapes, history and religion. The combined overall quality is stunning. this space to add more details about your site, a customer quote, or to talk about important news.

William Hershaw Les McConnell

Earth Bound Companions

'Earth Bound Companions' is a collection of poems written about animals in Scots and English by Poet William Hershaw,with illustrations by Artist Les McConnell. The title is taken from the Robert Burns poem 'To A Mouse'. The poems andpaintings were originally exhibited at the Fire Station Creative Gallery in Dunfermline, Scotland, in March 2020. The pamphlet was designed and published by Grace Note Publications.

William Hershaw Les McConnell

The Sair Road:

Stations of the Cross

The Sair Road, written by William Hershaw and illustrated by Les McConnell, is a poem sequence written in Scots based on the Stations of the Cross and set in Fife during the coal mining strikes of the twentieth century.

William Hershaw

The Tempest and Voices o The Abbey Waas.

Theatrical plays in Scots

Prize-winning poet William Hershaw has written a compelling Scots language version of William Shakespeare’s last play The Tempest. It is set in Scotland during a regency period where powerful nobles form alliances to win power. Prospero, the book obsessed Earl of Fife, is usurped by his treacherous brother Antonio who has made a pact with the Duke of Argylle. Prospero and his young daughter Miranda are cast adrift and left for dead in the North Sea but they find refuge on a remote enchanted island. Here Prospero perfects his sorcerer’s powers to such an extent that twelve years later he is able to summon a storm that shipwrecks his enemies and leaves them at his mercy. From this choice between revenge and reconciliation a wonderful love story grows ...

William Hershaw’s play will fascinate anyone who is interested in Shakespeare, Scots language or simply who loves a good story well told. It is a play that will go down particularly well in the classroom at Higher and National 5 level where the range of characters (including the reluctant coal miner Caliban and the freedom seeking spirit Ariel) and range of engaging themes make it a text that will tick many teacher’s boxes. Hershaw’s presentation of the Scots language is readable and accessible.

Included with this book is The Voices O The Abbey Waas, a play set in haunted Dunfermline Abbey where the troubled consciences of Andrew Carnegie and a mine explosion survivor from Valleyfield colliery are brought together in the afterlife by the medieval poet Robert Henryson to settle their differences

William Hershaw

Michael:  A Ballad Play in Scots

Michael:A Ballad Play in Scots by William Hershaw, is based on the character of Michael Scot of Balwearie, the 12th century philosopher, translator, polymath, alchemist and reputed wizard. Hershaw has combined the historical and folk myth aspects of the Michael Scot legend to create a gripping portrayal of a troubled soul who attempts to destroy the universe in order to prove the existence of God.

Written in lively and accessible Scots, the play takes Scottish drama to new places by placing a cast of devils and historical figures (including Robert Burns and Jimmy Shand) in the setting of tradition ballads and folklore. The result is a tragic but life-affirming tale brimful with dark humour, magic, horror and contemporary relevance.

William Hershaw

Postcairds Fae Woodwick Mill: Orkney Poems in Scots

In Postcairds Fae Woodwick Mill, Fife goes to Orkney, and comes back again, and the meeting of people and places is a rich and moving exchange.

Wullie Hershaw has redd up a braw feast for his readers. Legend, ballad, folklore and song – the roots of our literature – are everywhere. Ghostly hares and grey men move across the pages; God and gods, witches and saints, otters and dominies populate the maze.

Beware: it may be longer than you imagine before you re-emerge.

A note from James Robertson, Fife 2014

William Hershaw

Tammy Norrie: The Hoose Daemon of Seahouses

My name isTammy Norrie– I am a hoose daemon, spirit, invisible ghost – eel, animus – whatever you choose to call me. I bide in and haunt an old fisherman’s cottage called Jonah’s Neukat Seahouses on the cold windy coast of Northumberland.

Sadly, the generations of fisher folk who lived in former days in Jonah’s Neukhave all set sail for Fiddler’s Greennow. Belle, Willie The Scotsman, Old Hilda, Young Bert, Young Hilda, Doris. Only me left here. Me and Nicey. The house was sold eighteen months ago after Young Hilda passed away at the age of one hundred and seven and converted into a holiday home for tourists who come to the North East. But not as regularly as the new owner, Farquhair Tinkerson, hoped when he had the house renovated for his modern holiday clients. …

The Prince-Bairnie:

Owerset intae Scots by Derrick McClure

'LE PETIT PRINCE' by Antoine de Saint-Exupery translated into SCOTS by Derrick McClure.

"Wull ye draw a sheepie-meh for us?"

Thus does one of the best-loved, and also one of the most enigmatic, characters in children's literature introduce himself in this new Scots translation of Saint-Exupery's Le Petit Prince. This classic story has been translated into dozens of languages: indeed, it stands alongside Pinocchio and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland near the top of the list of the world's most translated books. Until now, however, there has been no Scots version. Derrick McClure has naturalised the humour, the pathos, and the profound wisdom of the original in a medium which combines the ancestral Ayrshire speech of his boyhood with words and expressions from the great tradition of Scots writing. The merry and rapidly-growing company of children's classics in Scots renderings, which includes among others Taid o That Ilk, The Hoose at Pooh's Neuk and Asterix and the Pechts, has now a worthy recruit in The Prince-Bairnie.

This Edition of The Little Prince in Scots is published thanks to the support of the Jean-Marc Probst Foundation for The Little Prince, Lausanne, Switzerland

Allan and Rosemary McMillan

Scottish Domestic Bliss 2020 Lockdown

This book, dedicated to Paddy’s memory, will help support musicians who have lost their livelihood because of COVID-19 pandemic.When the WHO declared the outbreak of Coronavirus to be a pandemic, we learned that ‘social distancing’ meant ‘no handshakes, no hugs, and a distance of 2 metres.’ The date was March 13th, 2020, and some folk thought it was a joke; but it was no laughing matter on March 17th when our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave the first of a series of daily broadcasts. Phrases stay with us…. “Let me be blunt… follow the rules… during the weeks and months to come…. Lockdown… over-70s stay at home … children, listen to your parents… but also have fun…”.Weeks and months? That’s a lot of days, but, as Charlie Chaplin always said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. Though it’s not officially on the list of how to help the NHS save lives, laughter goes a long way to save our sanity. Or, as Allan and Rosemary have proved, it’s the only way to save domestic bliss!

Tom Hubbard

The Devil and Michael Scot:  A Gallimaufry of Fife and Beyond

This book offers you a virtual tour of much of Fife, mainly of its ‘fringe of gold’. It starts just west of Newburgh at the border with Perthshire and ends at the Kincardine Bridge, with substantial forays inland. The county’s international bearings are highlighted, with poetry and prose invoking ancestral ‘Fifers’ such as the Russian poet Mikhaïl Lermontov and the American novelist Herman Melville of 'Moby-Dick'. Goethe’s 'Faust' finds a Scottish accent of sorts (as also the Shakespeare of 'Macbeth' and 'The Tempest'), and Alexander Pushkin unknowingly borrows a tale from Dunfermline’s Robert Henrysoun.The centre-piece, which provides the title of our gallimaufry, is a play based on the vicissitudes of Michael Scot of Balwearie, the medieval polymath famous in both legend and history, and centering on his pact with the devil. More recent local heroes are celebrated, not least Joe Corrie of 'In Time o’ Strife'. ‘This is what makes Tom Hubbard such a rewarding guide: a man steeped in the places and tales of the Kinrick who doesn’t get run over by them, rather he manages to unfold fresh visions, partly because - as cosmopolitan traveller and translator, all human effort lies before him.’ A note from CHRISTOPHER HARVIE

Tom Hubbard

Ballads, Gaitherins, a Legend and a Tale from the fowk’s Republic of Fife

The Flechitorium presents an enormous range of subject matters, forms, styles and language but all of them are lynch-pinned by the author’s deep and sometimes ambivalent relationship with his native Fife … But what is a “Flechitorium”? You’ll have to read the poem therein to find out, dear reader, but be careful– this is a collect on with a real bite to it.

‘On the bill in this particular Flechitorium are a fistul of narrative ballads, historical and humorous to get us of to aflier. Then the mood changes and becomes more reflective and sombre … That old Scottish literary tradition of flyting is resumed and developed in the contretemps between the allegorical squirrel and the peacock in Dunfermline Glen ….And as a bonus, the gathering of braw poems is enhanced by a sulfurous tale to conclude – though one more RLS thanHammer House of Horror.

The Flechitorium is a delicious Fife broth or even Langtoun bouillabaisse … with its many hints and references to other literary cuisines beyond Fife and Scotland. At times it is funny,at others serious, it is always humane in its span of concerns from bawdy to spiritual yet the poems are crafted to address and engage intellectually as well as emotionally. Whether supped with short or lang spuin it will satisfy all tastes.’

Tom Hubbard

The Lucky Charm ofMajor Bessop:  A Grotesque Mystery of Fife.

Poor auld Burtie ...It wasnae a nice way to go, the way he went.

“Followed one of the trails, just beyond the ‘lodge’, to an old quarry and, on the moors just beyond, a cluster of weird outcrops formin a nat’ral citadel – remindin me o the Cullowhee Knobs, where a Cherokee Chief gave himself up to the Great Spirit. Cathy says ya can see a giant face on the quarry, but I couldn’t – tho maybe I’m expectin the profile o that there Chief and he ain’t there … Anyways, on the further side of the rock, halfway down, you can scramble into a cave. It looks kinda small when you first see it through a tumble of that coconut-smellin gorse and nettles: you wouldn’t think it would go far, just an alcove tryin too hard to be sinister, like some corny act at a Halloween party. That pamphlet I told ya about, it said you could only pass through it if you was a virgin … where would ya be without the power of legends?

In that summer of ’63, it was great to be young and abroad, at first. The beach was dirty, the seals was lazy, but it seemed the panorama of ole Europe was there before me. Now, I guess I fear for the kids, the kids everywhere. Back then, though, it was radiant days, radiant days.

A vulnerable and bullied boy vanishes from a boarding-school in an austerely beautiful part of the Scottish county of Fife. A young nurse from the American South encounters love – and culture-clash – at the school. Her beau, a teacher and former army officer, is a tense and troubled man. A precocious young aesthete stumbles towards maturity. A lecherous, alcoholic headmaster quotes Shakespeare at inopportune moments. Tragedy? Farce? Both? Offset by praise-poetry to Fife landscape and folk culture, Tom Hubbard’s complex, sardonic tale scurries through unexpected corridors and caverns, up and down dubious stairs, its secret architecture reflecting the “Big Hoose” in which much of the action takes place …

Tom Hubbard

Slavonic Dances: Mrs Makarowski – The Kilt – The Carrying Stream

Slavonic Dances is a sequence of three linked novellas which explore the comic and tragic implications of encounters by Scottish characters with matters of eastern and east-central Europe. ‘Mrs Makarowski’, the first story, tells of a good-natured working-class Fife woman who marries a Polish soldier stationed in her area during the war, and her bemusement – amounting at times to anxiety - as she learns of the dark realities of his background. ‘The Kilt’ takes its cue from the discovery of two strange photographs; the central character is Angus Cooper, a young Scot of the late 1960s, who arrives in Czechoslovakia as a visiting student shortly before the onset of the Prague Spring, and who has an affair with a Czech contemporary at the Charles University; their relationship is disrupted by the invasion of August 1968. ‘The Carrying Stream’ centres on a Scottish poet, Martin Meikle, a Glaswegian of working-class Irish Catholic stock, who recalls in his seventies his youth in St Andrews, his love of singing and of the music of Mussorgsky in particular. He reflects on the deep roots of poetry and music in folk tradition, and the story ends with him gazing through the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, symbol of Scotland’s tragic past, in an easterly direction.

As so often in Tom Hubbard’s work, much goes on below the surface narrative..

Tom Hubbard

Poems on European Themes

Tom Hubbard takes us on another poetic tour of Europe, offering a number of translations (or rather transcreations) on the way.

Parapets and Labyrinths, a collection of poems mainly in English (but with a significant presence of the Scots language – glossary included), is a companion volume toThe Chagall Winnocks, which was published by Grace Note Publications in 2011.

The poet wears his learning lightly, more of a cultivated ‘flâneur’ than a stuffy academic … If there is anything labyrinthine about these poems, it is because the poet is no mere aficionado of the ‘grand tour’, but sharply observant, knowing there is nothing straightforward about Europe and its outlying archipelago of the British Isles, Ireland and Iceland … Darkness may be latent in many of the poems, but … the pleasure principle trumps everything else in the poetry of Tom Hubbard.
A Note from Mario Relich

Tom Hubbard

The Chagall Winnocks with other Scots poems and ballads of Europe

From the forests of Finland to the plain of Lombardy, from a Scottish beach to a river island in Hungary,Tom Hubbard deploys the riches of the Scots language to explore that tragicomic space we call Europe. The poems are variously tender and mischievous in their reatment of our all-too-human foibles …

Hubbard believes that an international outlook and a parochial one (centred, in his case, on his native Fife) can be mutually enriching. The poems in THE CHAGALL WINNOCKS draw on the folklore of many European countries, not least that of Scotland - and indeed it is a retelling of a Fife legend, which opens this collection of poems, which have grown out of his travels in, and study of, the continent as a whole.

Many of these poems tell stories, in the form of ballads or the reworking of traditional tales; conversely, this collection of poems could be seen as a series of short stories, albeit in verse form.

Hubbard's new collection is a bold statement of faith in the Scots language, and echoes Hugh MacDiarmid's remarks on 'the unique blend of the lyrical and the ludicrous' which is possible in Scots, 'its Dostoevskian debris of ideas - an inexhaustible quarry of subtle and significant sound' ('A Theory of Scots Letters').

Arthur in Venice

Arthur’s Travel Guides for Children:One day something extraordinary happened to me. Something hard to believe. Something I couldn’t tell grown ups, they’d think I was mad: I had a dream that was more than a dream, how can I explain? It’s difficult…. Best that I tell you the whole story."The sun was coming up over the horizon and the sky was full of beautiful pale pink reflections. I saw a city slowly waking up, but instead of streets, there was water, and instead of cars there were boats. It was strange, it was magnificent." ARTHUR IN VENICE.

Arthur à Londres -

French version

One day something extraordinary happened to me, something difficult tobelieve. A thing I cannot explain to grown-ups, they would take me for a fool. Ihad a dream that was more than a dream, how can I explain? It’s probablybest that I tell you my story:

Travelling had always been my dream; and when I realised I had an amazing secret power to travel in my dreams, I had only one thought: when would it happen again? And where would it take me? Yet it all turned out very differently from how I imagined…

English and French edition

Artair ann an Geneva

(Scots Gaelic)

Eadar-theangachadh gu Gàidhlig de Arthur à Genève : ’S e balach gleusta, feòrachail a th’ ann an Artair agus tha e a’ fuireach air an dùthaich.

An oidhche bha seo, chaidil e air beulaibh braidseal de theine fiodha agus fhuair e tàlant iongantach: thèid aige air siubhal na bhruadaran, agus cha b’ fhada gus an robh e ann an seann bhaile Geneva. An sin thadhail e air na seallaidhean àlainn le bhith a’ fuasgladh tòimhseachan annasach. Mu dheireadh, thadhail e air Balla an Ath-leasachaidh mus do thill e dhachaigh.

Scottish Gaelic translation of Arthur à Genève: Arthur is a bright and curious young boy who lives in the countryside.

One night, he falls asleep close to roaring log fire and he discovers an amazing gift: he can travel in his dreams and soon finds himself in the old town of the city of Geneva. There he visits beautiful places by solving a mysterious riddle and finally visits the Wall of Reformation before returning home.

The Great Edge

THE GREAT EDGE brings together lives – ancient and modern – on the northern plateau where Scotland stops and starts, where history and myth fuel everyday reality, and where nothing is as it seems.

When an archaeologist comes to Caithness to research an early Christian chapel, she must reckon with a crisis that is global and contemporary as well as local and ancient. Adopted by Fracher, a retired roughneck and local fisherman, Mags is spun into a galaxy of characters and events that force her to a profound understanding of the relationship between Past, Present and Future. Meanwhile, in 21st-century Atomic City, the decommissioning of a national nuclear icon brings several dreams to an end.

THE GREAT EDGE is a story of science, engineering and geology; of Picts and Irish monks, Norse mythology, and Celtic civilisation. Through the eyes of a Norse skald, we begin to see there is little in the 21st century that hasn’t been experienced before. As we witness global warming and Arctic ice-melt, are we all waiting for the wave? In THE GREAT EDGE the wave duly arrives.


The poems in Fugitives fall into three categories: new poems, previously uncollected poems, and translations. Most of them have appeared at one time or another in magazines and newspapers.

“He writes a robust and finely tuned poetry, a poetry that is empathetic to the casual people that our confused society throws up”Robert Garioch,Lines Review

“Campbell’s resourceful craftsmanship and his ear for the authentic allow him to range confidently over a wide variety of forms and subjects.”James AitchisonScotland on Sunday

“I find many of Campbell’s poems very pure, with a piercing sense of the ‘lacrimae rerum’ of which Vergil wrote. It is unusual nowadays to find such purity of tone.”Iain Crichton SmithThe Scotsman

Heard in the cougait:

Poems by Donald Campbell from the engravings of Walter Geikie

When I first came across Geikie’s prints I was immediately struck by their near photographic quality and by the fact that his characters are portrayed in specific situation, thereby providing us a detailed picture of working-class life in the Victorian era.

Tha Cuimhn' Agam...:

Gaelic and English Writings by Malcolm Laing, 1888-1968 (Scots Gaelic)

a Cuimhn' Agam...: Gaelic and English Writings by Malcolm Laing, 1888-1968.

The Gaelic and English Poems in this collection were written between 1932 and 1945 and were published in various Gaelic and English periodicals. The Gaelic and English stories are often autobiographical or based on local historical events.

Most of the stories are set in his birthplace of the Uists and Benbecula, though one is about his time in Applecross and another is about Doctor George Henderson, the great Celtic scholar, who was his lecturer at Glasgow University.

Chan fhaigh thu rosg Gàidhlig nas fheàrr an àite sam bith. Raghnall MacilleDhuibh


The Complete Works of Peter Leslie, the Lochgelly Poet

Pindar: The Complete Works of Peter Leslie is organised in three sections:

  • Autobiography of a Private Soldier (published in 1877 by theFife Newsi n Cupar, Fife, Scotland), giving an account of his life from birth (1836) until he came back from the army (1877);

  • Random Rhymes (published in 1893 byFife News), which is an anthology of his poems edited by The Rev. A.M. Houston, B.D., minister of Auchterderran; and,

  • lastly, a collection of Pindar’s unpublished poems and songs gathered from The Cowdenbeath & Lochgelly Times & Advertiser(1895 to 1897) by James Campbell.

They Sent a Wumman:

The Collected Songs of Nancy Nicolson

Cultural Crofter is a very apt description for Nancy Nicolson – she is a Scottish folk singer and a tradition bearer, a songwriter and a storyteller and a melodeon player. Brought up on a croft in Caithness, the former Edinburgh teacher has worked with the BBC, Celtic Connections, and the New Makars Trust. It was high time that her songs were collected and published, and Grace Note Publications has done just that, to coincide with her 75th birthday in 2016.

They sent a Wumman: The Collected Songs of Nancy Nicolson contains an autobiographical piece by Nancy herself, as well as contributions by her fellow-Caithnessian writer George Gunn, by singer, songwriter, actor and director Gerda Stevenson and the folk singer, songwriter and publisher Ewan McVicar. But the focus is, as editor Paddy Bort writes in his introduction, firmly on the songs, in all their glorious diversity. Like few others, Nancy Nicolson has the gift – as writer, singer and storyteller – to communicate the life and culture of Scotland, with rare warmth and energy and her very own brand of wit and wisdom.

Saint Johnny: A Study in Historical Imagination

In his first novel, Owen Dudley Edwards views the story of the pilgrimage and passion of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Johnny, his youngest disciple.

"Johnny loved Jesus. Read this breathtaking novel, and you can imagine how he came to write the wonderful Fourth Gospel." Richard Holloway

"It is not only a marvellous synthesis of the historical and literary imagination, but also a deeply moving meditation on childhood and its centrality to our culture." Declan Kiberd

“Big, bold experiment, and a timely reminder that the greatest stories ever told are always open to fresh retellings.” James Robertson

Eavesdropping on Myself:

An Outsider's Boyhood in Glasgow

In Eavesdropping on Myself, Norman chronicles his boyhood in Glasgow and explores the push-pull of two cultures:

working-class Glaswegian and first-generation Hebridean

This is Norman Maclean at his best – by turns sharp, funny and melancholic. The original lad o’ pairts, Maclean has a literary voice shaped, but never confined, by the places and languages of his youth. Eavesdropping on Myself finds him picking over his childhood with an unsparing eye. We knew he was a master storyteller; only now are we getting the measure of his own story. No reader could forget it. -

Fraser MacDonald

Norman Maclean is one of the most resonant voices in Scotland. With one voice he articulates the tangled dualities of Scottish experience today: of tradition and modernity, highland and lowland, rural and urban, working class and middle class, local and worldly. His perspective straddles different classes, different languages and different lives, at once divided and unified. If Norman is speaking, then we should be listening. -

Jamie Chambers

Anent Hamish Henderson:

Essays, Poems, Interviews

Anent Hamish Henderson – Essays, Poems, Interviews brings together more than twenty contributions ranging from fond memory to critical inquiry anent the late Hamish Henderson, Scotland’s leading folklorist of the twentieth century, remarkable poet and songwriter, and political activist.

Contributors: Keith Armstrong, Margaret Bennett, Eberhard ‘Paddy’ Bort, Ray Burnett, David Daiches, Lesley Duncan, Archie Fisher, Howard Glasser, George Gunn, William Hershaw, Tom Hubbard, John Lucas, Richie McCaffery, Geordie McIntyre, Dolina Maclennan, Allan McMillan, Alison McMorland, Ewan McVicar, Andrew Means, Donald Meek, Jan Miller, Timothy Neat, Colin Nicholson, Mario Relich, Jennie Renton, Donald Smith and Sheena Wellington.

'Tis Sixty Years Since:

The 1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh and the Scottish Folk Revival

This book marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh and collects views and perspectives on the way the Scottish Folk Revival has evolved over the past sixty years.

The Ceilidh at Oddfellows' Hall was a catalyst for the modern Scottish Folk Revival. It was presided over by Hamish Henderson and recorded by Alan Lomax. Also in 1951, the School of Scottish Studies was founded at the University of Edinburgh.

At Hame Wi' Freedom

Essays on Hamish Henderson and the Scottish Folk Revival

At Hame Wi’ Freedom marks the tenth anniversary of Hamish Henderson’s death in 2002. It is the third book of a loose trilogy: Borne on the Carrying Stream (GNP, 2010), followed by ‘Tis Sixty Years Since (GNP, 2011); all revolving around the life and legacy of Hamish Henderson and the Scottish Folk Revival he did so much to inspire and sustain.

'At Hame wi’ Freedom' focuses on Hamish Henderson’s involvement in the revival, his association with Perthshire and the North-East, the emergence of his poetic voice, and his political activism. It also features Pino Mereu’s poetic evocation of the Anzio (Beachhead) Pipe Band and the 2011 Hamish Henderson Memorial Lecture by Owen Dudley Edwards. Further contributions are from Eberhard Bort, Maurice Fleming, Fred Freeman, George Gunn, Tom Hubbard, Alison McMorland, Ewan McVicar, Hayden Murphy and Belle Stewart.

Borne on the Carrying Stream:

The Legacy of Hamish Henderson

Hamish Henderson poet, soldier, scholar, folklorist, song-maker and political activist. Eighteen essays engaging with aspects of Hamish Henderson's remarkable contribution to contemporary Scottish culture - from song-writing and song-collecting to poetry and politics.

Edinburgh Folk Club's annual Carrying Stream Festival celebrates the life and legacy of Hamish Henderson. A selection of the Festival's Hamish Henderson Lectures, together with the other contributions, paint a fascinating picture of this multi-facetted Scot-'Father of the Scottish Folk Revival'.(


The Nine Lives of Wicked William

WikkedWillisSagais based on the life of a real cat that was born in the shop at Lochboisdale Pier. He found a home with a nearby crofter, Màiri Anndra, who shared her house with American folklorist and song collector Margaret Fay Shaw.

When Margaret moved to Barra to marry John Lorne Campbell, Màiri insisted she take with her this remarkable cat. Willi stayed with her when the couple later made their home in Canna. (Adapted from Margaret Fay Shaw,From the Alleghenies to the Hebrides: An Autobiography)

Uirsgeul Uilleim Dhona:

Naoi Beathannan Cait Uilc (Scots Gaelic)

Tha mar stèidh aig Uirsgeul Uilleim Dhona cat a bha ann dha-rìribh is a rugadh sa bhùthaidh air Cidhe Loch Baghasdail. Rinn e a dhachaigh còmhla ri Màiri Anndra, tè aig an robh croit faisg air làimh, is bha ban-Ameireaganach le ùidh an cruinneachadh beul-aithris is òran, Mairead Fay Sheathach, a’ fuireach còmhla rithese.

Nuair a dh’fhalbh Mairead a Bharraigh a phòsadh Iain Latharna Chaimbeil, thug Màiri oirre an cat annasach seo a thoirt leatha. Agus dh’fhan Uilleam còmhla ri Mairead nuair a chaidh a’ chàraid a dh’fhuireach a Chanaigh. (Air a tharraing à From the Alleghenies to the Hebrides: An Autobiography le Margaret Fay Shaw)

Ri Luinneig mun Chrò:

Crodh ann am Beatha agus Dualchas nan Gàidheal (Scots Gaelic)

Thugadh tiotal an leabhar Ri Luinneig mun Chrò bho òran eilthirich a’ cuimhneachadh le cianalas air seallaidhean agus fuaimean an àite san togadh e, nam measg luinneagan nam ban òga ’s iad a’ bleoghan nam bò. Airson iomadh linn, tha crodh air pàirt gu math cudromach a chluich ann am beatha nan Gàidheal agus tha dualchas luachmhor de dh’òrain agus sgeulachdan againn fhathast air sàilleabh sin.

A bharrachd air òrain bleoghain, tha iomadh seòrsa òran eile co-cheangailte ri crodh ann an Alba san leabhar seo, a dh’innseas sgeulachd inntinneach air cùl faclan nan òran – òrain mu dhròbhairean agus buachaillean calma ag obair ann an side nan seachd sian; òrain a’ moladh a’ chruidh fhèin no na daoine a bhiodh a’ coimhead as an dèidh shuas aig an àirigh no aig a’ bhuaile; rannan a sheallas luach nam beathaichean mar ìomhaigh, mar tochradh, no mar airgead; òrain mu gainnead de fearainn, fuadachadh agus eilthireachd; òrain mu chreachadairean dàna a’ goid sprèidh bho an nàbaidhean no bho sgìrean fad air falbh; òrain agus orrachan airson sprèidh a dhìon bhon droch-shùil agus bho spioradan olc agus òrain èibhinn naidheachail mu thrioblaidean le tarbh a’ bhaile. Tha an caibideil mu dheireadh a’ coimhead air mar tha cuid de na tèamaichean seo air an glèidheadh chun an latha an-diugh ann an tàlaidhean socair, sèimh.

Tha faclan nan òran fhèin rim faotainn ann an eàrr-ràdh aig deireadh an leabhair, le fiosrachadh air càit’ an lorgar clàraidhean no dreachan sgrìobhte den fonn. Chaidh corra phort a chruthachadh cuideachd airson beatha ùr a thoirt do chuid de na h-òrain, nach eil fhathast gan gabhail is na fuinn aca air chall thar ùine.


The title of the book Ri Luinneig mun Chrò (‘Singing round the cattlefold’) is taken from a Gaelic song telling of the poet’s fond memories of his homeland, including the evocative sound of young women singing as they milked the cattle.

Taghadh de Sgeulachdan Inspeactair Rebus

(Scots Gaelic)

Thàinig an taghadh seo de sgeulachdan eucoir Ian Rankin às na cruinnichidhean aige A GOOD HANGING (1992) agus BEGGARS BANQUET (2002). Clàradh, Mallachd Dean, A’ faicinn Rudan, Auld Lang Syne agus Club nam Fear-uasal – agus Freagairt Ceàrr, Balla-ciùil, Uinneag a’ Chothruim, Bitheamaid Geanach agus Thadhail Cuideigin air Eddie. Ann an naoi de na sgeulachdan tha rannsachadh le Inspeactair John Rebus. An aon sgeulachd anns nach eil Rebus ’s e ‘Thadhail Cuideigin air Eddie’. A rèir Ian Rankin, tha an sgeulachd sin mu mhodh-obrach nam poileas: “Tha murtair innte, chaidh cuideigin a mhurt agus tha car san deireadh.”

English Summary

This selection from Ian Rankin’s crime stories is taken from the collections A GOOD HANGING (1992) and BEGGARS BANQUET (2002). Playback, The Dean Curse, Seeing Things, Auld Lang Syne and The Gentlemen’s Club - and Trip Trap, Facing the Music, Window of Opportunity, No Sanity Clause and Someone Got to Eddie. Nine stories feature investigations by Inspector John Rebus. The only story that does not feature Rebus is ‘Someone Got to Eddie’. That story, according to Ian Rankin, is essentially a police procedural: “It’s got a killer, it’s a got a murder victim and it’s got a twist at the end.”

Frisky Ducks & Other Poems

by Mario Relich

Mario Relich Poetry: ‘There is nothing provincial about the poems in Mario Relich collection. Local at times, yes, with evocations of the poet’s various home bases, but as the likes of William Carlos Williams and Patrick Kavanagh would remind us, the local is the universal. (…) This poet is of both the Old World and the New, intensely European in his range of cultural references, but also transatlantic, whether evoking family and university life in Montreal or verbally transcribing, as it were, a postcard depicting the Civil War memorial in Hartford, Connecticut, and linking this with that city’s poet Wallace Stevens, himself redolent of European imagination and American experience. (…) It’s chiefly in the poems about birds – one type, of course, is the source of the book’s title – that we witness, in Muriel Spark’s phrase, ’the transfiguration of the commonplace’.(from Tom Hubbard’s Introduction)

Review by Bashabi Fraser: ‘Mario Relich uses words as the artist uses colours to make the commonplace magical and the abstract meaningful. His poetry has the power and freedom of bird flight, refreshing and adventurous, lightened by his humour and emboldened by his erudition’

View from the Bench:

My Life in Poetry

View from the Bench celebrates the Life in Poetry of Lillias Scott Forbes, a nonagenarian poet, daughter of the composer Francis George Scott.

Her poems in Scots and English goes back to 1936 and her last poem date August 2011, representing a cross-section of her 75 years of poetry writing. 'As a result of her father's friendships, she mixed with acclaimed poets from an early age and was encouraged by them in her own writing - W.S. Graham, Hugh MacDiarmid, Dylan Thomas and, Willa and Edwin Muirs, to mention only a few.

Her poetry described her life in Britain, France, South Africa and specially her feelings for Scotland. It is clearly an autobiographical poetry book.

And as fellow poet Eleanor Livingstone, said " - the passing of years and of those earlier generations obviously hasn't dimmed Lillias Scott Forbes' passion for poetry and she expresses herself delighted that her muse hasn't fled entirely 'at her advanced age'.".


(Scots Gaelic) English translation by Bill Innes.

When Donald Macintyre won the Bardic Crown at the National Mod in Glasgow in 1938 with Aeolus agus am Balg, one adjudicator hailed it as 'the Gaelic poem of the century'. Macintyre saw a great storm of 1921 as a conspiracy of pagan gods to destroy Scotland.

Given the politics of the time, the poem is also an allegory of the conspiracy of Fascist leaders to take over the world. The gods' final retreat before a greater God was a message of hope for the world.

This new parallel translation gives readers the opportunity to form their own views on that adjudicator's verdict. Because sound was a vital ingredient of poetry made for recitation, no judgement can be made without listening to the enclosed CD, which reveals the rich river of rhythm and melody which hallmarked Macintyre's mastery of classic metres.

As an epic traditional ballad dealing with 20th century events in allegorical form, Aeolus can surely claim to be unique in the Gaelic corpus. This edition will delight the fluent speaker and prove invaluable to the student but it is not necessary to have any knowledge of the language to respond to the drama and melodic rhythm of the poetry.

Grace Note Publications

Grace Note Publicationspublishes books and audio in Gaelic and Scots. It aims to create resources to preserve the unique culture of Scotland.

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