Lindsey Davis double bill!

Fans of ancient Rome-based crime fiction are in for a treat as ‘Falco’ creator Lindsey Davis join us for a double bill of Mayday events.

Lindsey has won a legion of admirers on both side of the Atlantic with her series charting the adventures of Marcus Didius Falco, the laid-back Roman ‘informer’ who investigates crimes and acts as an often reluctant imperial agent.

More recently Falco’s adopted daughter, troubled teenager turned feisty widow Flavia Albia, has come to the fore, as the protagonist in last year’s The Ides of April and this year’s Enemies at home.

Book now for our free Edinburgh Reads event with Lindsey at Central Library on Thursday 1st May from 7.00pm.

Earlier on that day Lindsey will be at Leith Library to talk about A Cruel Fate, her ‘Quick Reads’ novel based on real events during the English Civil War.

‘Quick Reads’ are short, easy to read books which are great for adults who are less confident in their reading skills. Lindsey is the latest big name author to be asked to contribute to the series.

If you’d like to find out more about this event, which starts at 10.30am, call 0131 529 5517.

Reading Rainbows at Muirhouse Library

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Children from Forthview Primary school celebrate the start of Reading Rainbows 2014 with storyteller Mara Menzies.


The children visibly had a lot of fun looking at their new books but the cutting and sharing of the cake came a very close second!


This year, over 1000 4-year olds across the city will get a free book pack and hopefully, take part in Reading Rainbows events in libraries and Early Years’ Settings.

Scott vs Zombies at Stockbridge Library

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All photographs by Gareth Timms

Watch out! Scott Davidson  - inspiration for Alan Grant and Robin Smith’s Scott vs Zombies comic book – narrowly evades an unexpected guest at last night’s special Autism Awareness Day event at Stockbridge Library.

Thankfully our zombie was sufficiently pacified to help out with an auction of work by comic artist Robin Smith – raising lots of money to support people with autism.


A huge thanks to Scott, his mum Liz, Artlink, Councillor Ricky Henderson and everyone else who helped make this such a fun, informative and successful event.

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Artlink is an arts and disability organisation based in Edinburgh with over 25 years experience of providing developmental activity for people with experience of disability.

Scott vs Zombies was a collaboration between Artlink, Scott, his mum Liz, writer Alan Grant and artist Robin Smith. The comic book aims to raise awareness of autism and get the message across that ‘it is okay to just be yourself’.

The event was held as part of Autism Edinburgh‘s support for World Autism Awareness Day.

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Five remarkable stories for Autism Awareness Day

The reason I jump by Naoki Higishida

Written by Naoki Higishida when he was only 13, this incredible book explains the often baffling behaviour of autistic children and shows the way they think and feel – such as about the people around them, time and beauty, noise, and themselves. Naoki abundantly proves that autistic people do possess imagination, humour and empathy, but also makes clear, with great poignancy, how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.

Dear Miss Landau by James Christie

James Christie is a Scot with Apserger syndrome. Juliet Landau stars in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is the true story of their friendship.

Mary and Max

This claymation-animated movie starring the recently departed Phillip Seymour Hoffman charts the correspondence between an eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, with her alcoholic mother and inattentive father, and an obese 40-something Jewish New Yorker prone to panic attacks. The only thing the two have in common is their friendlessness and profound sense of alienation. Based on real events spanning continents and decades, this is a highly original, very funny and deeply moving piece of work.

A friend like Henry by Nuala Gardner

Determined that her autistic son, Dale, should live a fulfilling life, Nuala Gardner describes her despair after being repeatedly let down by the authorities. But their lives were transformed when they welcomed a golden retriever into the family and found that the bond between Dale and his dog helped him to produce the breakthrough they sought. There’s a sequel: All because of Henry

All cats have Asperger syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann

This book draws parallels between children with Asperger syndrome and the behaviour of cats, illustrating shared characteristics and evoking the difficulties and joys of raising a child who is different.

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Words and Deeds: Women, Warfare and Caregiving

Elsie Inglis

That’s the title of an exhibition and associated events taking place at Craigmillar Library over the next few weeks, in association with our friends at Surgeons’ Hall Museum.

Call Craigmillar Library on 0131 529 5597 or email for details about the following free talks:

The Remarkable Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals
Upon offering to set up women’s medical units on the Western Front, Elsie Inglis was told by officials ‘my good lady, go home and sit still’. However, the courageous Dr Inglis did not go home. Instead she formed one of the most successful medical initiatives of WWI.
With Mr Iain Macintyre, Monday 31st March at 6pm

Bandage the Tommy
With Yvonne McEwen of The Centre  for The Study of Modern Conflict, The University of Edinburgh. Saturday 12th April at 1pm

Mary Seacole, forgotten hero?
With Ms Chris Short of Surgeons’ Hall Museum. Monday 7th April at 6pm

Letters home
Journal making with Susie Wilson and Emma Black. Saturday 19th April at 1pm

Referendum reading and writing

Don’t worry if you weren’t one of the lucky people who managed to snap up a ticket for last night’s Independence Debate at Central Library.

We’ll be posting video of the event on our YouTube channel very soon.

You might also be interested in Write around our referendum, a free six week course exploring articles, poems, stories and media coverage relating to the referendum and independence debate.

Or if you can’t commit the time we’re hosting a half day session considering the background issues, hard facts and statistics surrounding the independence question.

Other useful links:

BBC Scottish Independence referendum library

Scotland’s Future (white paper)

What Scotland thinks

Referendum reading from the library

Lesley Glaister at Morningside Library

little egypt“a sparkling miniaturist, social comedian and dauntless urban poet” Julie Myerson

Chosen and Nina Todd has gone author Lesley Glaister will be reading from her new novel Little Egypt at Morningside Library this Thursday (20th March) at 6.30pm.

Looping between the 1920s and the present day, Little Egypt is a beautifully-observed novel about the loss of innocence, parental neglect and the eternal human quest to ‘belong’. By turns poignantly humorous, deeply moving and mysterious, it also evokes the wonder and majesty of Howard Carter’s Egypt on the cusp of Western discovery. This enormously accomplished novel took twenty years to come to fruition: it is well worth the wait.

Winner of the Somerset Maugham, Betty Trask and Yorkshire Post Author of the Year prizes, Glaister’s work has also been on numerous literary award short and longlists over the years, and several of her dramas have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

To book a free place at this event email or call 0131 529 5654.

Five uses for a dictionary you never knew about

You use a dictionary to look up meanings and spellings, and, well that’s about it, isn’t it?

Not with the Oxford English Dictionary it isn’t. Here are five ways to use the OED online you maybe didn’t know about. Log on with your library card and try them for yourself:

1. Find words the same age as you

Use the ‘date of entry’ field in the advanced search to see which word were first used in a given year. So, for example, if we look for 1985 we come up with a list including annus horribilis,snowboard and double click.

2. Finish that crossword

Use question marks instead of blanks in the search box and you’ll have the s?l??ion in no time!

3. Is there a word for…?

If you want to find out the proper word for a beer mat collector, or the term for believing yourself to be a werewolf, this is the quickest way to do it: select ‘definitions’ from the advanced search drop-down menu and type in the words (beer matswerewolf) you’d expect to find in the definition.

4. Who started “happy slapping”?

The ‘first cited work’ option in the drop down menu allows you to explore which publication or broadcast was the first to use a certain word or term.

5. For anoraks

The advanced search option allows you to search by language – so you can find out which everyday words have their origins in Japanese, German, or in the case of ‘anorak’ Greenland Eskimo.

Comics talk and auction to support people with autism

Stockbridge Library are joining forces with Artlink to host a very special event for comic book fans.

Alan Grant (2000AD, Batman) and Liz and Scott Davidson will be talking about their collaboration on Scott vs Zombies, which features an Edinburgh taken over by the undead.

And as a bonus we’ll be auctioning off some original signed artworks by artist Robin Smith (2000AD, The Bogeyman).

View more of the artworks and register your interest

The event takes place at Stockbridge Library from 6-7pm on Wednesday 2nd April – National Autism Awareness Day. All proceeds from the auction will go to work with people with autism.

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Book group for parents with young children launches at Oxgangs Library

babyOxgangsOxgangs Library have just launched a new book group aimed at parents with young babies.  If you’ve been held back from attending a book group because of childcare arrangements then this book group could be exactly what you are looking for.

Come along to Oxgangs Library and meet like minded parents have a chat about books and reading. These friendly fun sessions will include short stories, poetry and short readings. There also be time to share books and rhymes with baby too.

Forthcoming sessions will take place on March 17 and 31, April 28 and May 12.

For more information email Carol Marr at Oxgangs Library or phone 0131 529 5546.

Meet the author: Gordon Anthony

On March 18th McDonald Road Library hosts a visit from a remarkable author.

Registered blind, Gordon Anthony found himself with time on his hands after retiring.

With the aid of special computer software, he returned to his hobby of writing. This was a wise move.

Gordon’s debut novel, “In the Shadow of the Wall”, was published in 2010 to critical acclaim, including a four star review in The Scotsman.

Gordon then ventured into crime fiction, and has attained a worldwide following for his “Constantine Investigates” series of spoof murder mysteries.

Book online to hear Gordon talk about his latest work and his experiences as a blind author.

Creativity in the making

Local poet Lorna Irvine recently led the Green Pencil Award 2013 winners in a writing workshop at Dynamic Earth. 

Lorna Irvine with Green Pencil Winners

The theme of the 2013 competition, which attracted over 800 entries, was Scotland’s Wonderful Weather?! 

Twenty winners joined Lorna to create their own Rainforest Book, making a book painting their picture of a rainforest in wordsThe workshop was one of a number of Green Pencil Award prizes.

Look out for the title of this year’s competition which will be revealed before the summer holidays.

The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland

In our latest Edinburgh Reads video Annette Carruthers talks to Hil Williamson about her book The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland.

Annette discusses the history of the arts and crafts movement in Scotland from its early appearance in the 1860s to its heyday from 1890 to 1914, a time when Scotland’s art schools promoted new design and the Scottish Home Industries Association campaigned to revive rural crafts, shaping the look of domestic and ecclesiastical buildings, stained glass, furnishings, metalwork, and textiles.

In this interesting discussion Annette talks about her research and conception of the book, the social and political aspects of the movement in Scotland and the influence of art schools.

Read what The Scotsman had to say about the book and reserve a copy from the library.

Women of the Patrick Geddes Circle

learning lasses draft

On Friday 7th March Central Library hosts a book launch in association with our friends at Luath Press – and if you’d like to join us we have tickets available.

In Learning from the Lasses: Women of the Patrick Geddes Circle Walter Stephen and a bevy of Modern Geddesians investigate the women who had an influence on, or were influenced by, the Scottish thinker, Patrick Geddes.

Ranging from his mother to an Indian nun, his wife to a suffragette, this volume crosses the globe, highlighting the far-reaching influence of Geddes and the range of very different women who were linked to him in one way or another.

Starting out with his family in Scotland and giving a detailed insight into life in historic Edinburgh and the rest of the country, the text is of interest to anybody living in Scotland.

The ten ‘modern Geddesians’ who contribute to the book are Veronica Burbridge, Kate Henderson, Sofia Leonard, Kenneth MacLean, Robert Morris, Kenny Munro, Swami Narasimhananda, Sian Reynolds, Anne-Michelle Slater and Walter Stephen.

A short message from Glitzlit: #ReadWomen2014

readWomenGlitzlit spend a bit of time on twitter, interacting with our readers and following our favourite authors.  One hashtag we’ve seen a lot recently is #readwomen2014.

The brainchild of Joanna Walsh, #readwomen2014 started off as a bookmark to make up for not sending out Christmas cards but quickly grew to represent the bias of literary editors and reviewers towards male authors and the tendency of publishers to give female authors pink covers so they seem less threatening.

Here at Glitzlit, we have received criticism for our name and colour scheme but over 90% of the books we review and promote are by women authors.

We pride ourselves on being able to see beyond the pink cover and have unearthed brilliant writing hidden beneath the girly facades.

These books written for the YA market deal with issues relevant to our audience; and although not afraid to embrace the covers of a fuchsia variety we have also included some other brilliant books by women of the non-pink cover type.

We’ve grouped them together this list.

Happy reading!

Top authors head up “Edinburgh Reads” spring programme

cross and burnCrime fiction superstar Val McDermid, “Maggie and Me” author Damian Barr and a debate on the independence referendum are among the highlights of the Edinburgh Reads spring programme.

McDermid, who has sold over 10 million copies of her books, will be in town to discuss her latest, Cross and Burn.

Damian Barr’s Maggie and Me is a funny, tender and heartbreaking memoir of deprivation and survival in 1980s Lanarkshire. Damian will discuss his book, and the issues it raises, with Richard Holloway.

maggie and meKaren Campbell, author of “This is where I am” appears alongside Korean writers Kim Insuk and Han Kang for a special event in partnership with the British Council as part of the Korea Market Focus Cultural Programme at the London Book Fair 2014. Kim is rare among Korean writers in that her works often centre on Koreans who live outside Korea. Han Kang’s writing explores how individuals and relationships respond to Korea’s rapidly developing modern society.

Before that Craig Smith, author of The Mile, Andrew Ferguson (Scots who enlightened the world) former Labour MP Maria Fyfe and Scottish Poetry Library founder Tessa Ransford make up the panel for what should be a fascinating discussion on the question of Scottish independence. In the chair will be Alistair McCleery, Professor of Literature at Edinburgh Napier University.

As ever, all our events are free. See the calendar below for times, dates and booking information.

Shhhh teddy bears sleeping!!

If you had gone down to Corstorphine Library the other afternoon you’d have been in for a big surprise.

For 15 teddy bears were gathered there for the library’s teddy bear sleepover.

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Children aged 2-5 brought along one of their favourite teddies for the event. They made name badges for their bear before singing some songs and rhymes to lull them off to sleep.


After tucking the bears into bed the kids then tiptoed off home to leave the bears for their sleepover.

But the mischievous bears didn’t stay in their beds for very long. As soon as the library lights went out the fun began.


From photocopying their faces to raiding the staff fridge for a midnight feast, the bears got up to all kinds of devilment.


Luckily a sneaky member of staff was lurking behind the bookcases with a camera to capture all the action.


Little Ted is on library duty – complete with his official badge and specs!

“Hello, is that Pizza Express?”

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Iggle Piggle regrets his choice of bedtime reading.

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No such issues for Darth Bug!

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Meanwhile… just topping up the tan!

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Mr Lion chillin’ out with some tunes. Lionel Richie perhaps?

Picture 032Mr Turtle researches his family history.

IMG_1006Ted takes a trip to the toilet

Picture 024Mr Lion seems very interested in the book return bins

“Was it worth it?”

Essential reading for Rapunzel…

Rumour has it there’s another teddy bear’s sleepover in the works in Corstorphine Library for this summer so watch this space!

Look who’s coming to libraries

Graeme Simsion, author of “The Rosie Project” is among the authors we’re looking forward to a visit from this month.

Herald literary editor Rosemary Goring will also join us to discuss her historical novel “After Flodden” and winner of the Dundee International Book Prize Nicola White will be in town to talk about her crime thriller “In the Rosary Garden“.

Caro Ramsay, Bethany Ruth Anderson, Robert Glancy and Ryan Van Winkle are among the other writers you’ll have a chance to meet during a very busy February.

As ever, all these events are free but you’ll have to be quick to reserve your place – view the calendar below for locations, times and booking details.