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Dumyat, Rennie McOwan and Stirling Literary Society

Yesterday the air was gin-clear, visibility superb, so I abandoned the office email mountain in favour of taking Bramble up a local hill, Dumyat, which has a Pictish fort, dog-friendly access and a view of the entire carse (the flood plain of the Forth). The views yesterday were captivating: to the north and west the snow-capped mountains, to the south Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and the sites of seven battlefields in the foreground, with the Pentlands and Moorfoots behind.

To appreciate Dumyat fully, read Rennie McOwan's chapter in our anthology Call of the Wild, which we published for the Outdoor Writers Guild. Rennie grew up in Dumyat's shadow, it was his playground, and he immortalised it in his wonderful novel for children Light on Dumyat. A well-known author and broadcaster, now semi-retired, he still sometimes speaks in local schools. Years ago, my daughter Helen came home from school full of the excitement of hearing him talk. And there's nothing like hearing the author in person to breathe life into literature.

I was reminded of this on Monday, when crime writer Christopher Brookmyre spoke to Stirling Literary Society - a group that, like Friends of the Ochils, was founded by Rennie McOwan. He read a wonderful extract from A tale etched in blood and hard black pencil which is about to come out in paperback - lots of us bought signed advance copies on the night - quite a coup for SLS! Not merely a gripping and amusing crime novel, it's essential reading for anybody interested in children and schooling. It's a vivid, authentic evocation of the casual cruelty of the playground, and the licensed abuse by some teachers, in the west of Scotland in the 1970s. It rings true, but it's also very, very funny. Brookmyre's website is lively, but oddly it shows the wrong colour on the jacket image: etched in blood should be red, not blue, obviously. Not many people have this book yet!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 23, 2007 10:04 AM.

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