Social media fed me this today. From The Association for Scottish Literary Studies on FacebookI felt like sharing my thoughts. So I am.
Contemporary Scottish fiction is vigorous, vivid and diverse, eschewing the straitjackets of genre and resisting categorisation as either ‘mainstream’ or ‘literary’. Meanwhile, Scotland itself refuses to conform to external notions of what it is, and what it can become. The literature of this post-devolution nation comes in a multitude of voices.
[At this point I cheered. Yes, I thought. It’s all true. Our fiction is this way. Then I read on]
The Space of Fiction investigates how Scottish writers have responded to, and been affected by, the nation’s ongoing political discourse. Examining in detail the works of Des Dillon, Anne Donovan, Michel Faber, Laura Hird, Alison Miller, Ewan Morrison, James Robertson, Suhayl Saadi, Zoë Strachan and their contemporaries, The Space of Fiction traces their multifarious approaches to a post-national, cosmopolitan, multicultural and even globalised Scotland, and explores their notions of space, of place, and of the impact of fiction on the nature of identity.
[I should point out that the above represent the Big Voices in Scottish fiction today. And that the book is £12.99.
So all hail the Big Voices eh? But I was recently at the Bannockburn memorial and there’s a part there which clearly states ‘small folk, playing our part.’ And I felt compelled to note that there are the Big Voices and there are the McRenegades! You can pick up most of their books for under a fiver or under a quid as ebooks. They are also vigorous, vivid and diverse, eschewing the straitjackets of genre and resisting categorisation as either ‘mainstream’ or ‘literary’ and are the ‘multitude of voices’ who are not being marketed or promoted by the cultural elite but are a truly grassroots movement.]
‘The Space of Fiction’ is written by Marie-Odile Pittin-Hedon who is a professor of contemporary British literature at Aix-Marseille University, France, and specialises in Scottish literature. She has published Alasdair Gray: Marges et effets des miroirs, along with several articles and book chapters on Scottish literature from the 1980s to the present.
[I’ve not read it and I’m not in any way criticising its probity or content. However, I wonder when she will step out of her academy and find some Scottish Wee Voices to analyse! Perhaps there’s no money in that concept? I leave it to readers to have their own thoughts about what a professor of contemporary BRITISH literature at a French University can really tell us about our own culture?
Nor indeed am I making any critical (in any sense) comment about any of the writers - apart from pointing out that they represent Big Voices in the 'multitude.'
I’m just saying. And who am I to say? I’m Rab Christie. I’m a naebudy. A Wee Voice. There’s lots of us and some of us step above the parapet every so often as the McRenegades. We are among the ‘multitude of voices’ but we don’t get listened to quite as often. We’re here though, and we’re not going away. ]