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THE DYNAMICS OF BALSA

New Writing Scotland 25

Edited by Liz Niven & Brian Whittingham

Published in: Paperback.
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, August 2007.
Price: £6.95
ISBN 978-0-948877-77-3

Cover image: Iain McIntosh



  • The Dynamics of Balsa is out of print.

New Writing Scotland has now reached its quarter-century milestone. This year’s intriguing title was conjured up from that unexpected dynamic discovered as we pored through one thousand manuscripts. In this case, one thousand from 440 authors. A bumper crop. Those large brown cardboard boxes lived with us for quite some time as we dipped and read, dipped and read until it was time to swap boxes and repeat the procedure.
     Poems, prose pieces, extracts from plays and novels, a juxtaposition emerged and with it that deceptive quality with the properties of balsa wood, a wonderful balance of apparent lightness with an inherent strength.
     There are striking and original voices, the central criteria for selection: judging anonymously, we had no idea if we were selecting weel-kent names or first-time writers. So even after reading hundreds of scripts, the final published book was as much a surprise to the editors as to the readers, which is just as it should be. It means there’s no bias, no nepotism, just the writing which appealed most to the editorial eye and ear of two individuals.
     Amongst the resulting 44 manuscripts – 16 prose pieces and 28 poems – there’s comedy: check out ‘An American Hitman in Glasgow’; there’s tragedy, in poems such as ‘The Doctor Smoked a Pipe’; and there’s the whole gamut of emotions represented in between.
     This year, we have remained in Scotland for most of the time, with an occasional venture out to China, Eastern Europe, the world of the future, or, more often, to the geography of the heart and the head.
     We’ve fair enjoyed reading, debating and ultimately selecting this year’s crop of new writing from Scotland. We hope you will find stories and poems which appeal to you whether urban, rural or in the landscape of the mind. Dynamics can happen anywhere, any way and in a variety of voices in contemporary Scotland. Enjoy!

Liz Niven
Brian Whittingham

Click here for information on submitting work to New Writing Scotland.

Contents

  • Keith Aitchison . . . . . A Close Shave
  • Kirsten Anderson . . . . . The Pigeon
  • Dorothy Baird . . . . . Dawn at Benares
  • David Betteridge . . . . . Fox and Stars
  • Norman Bissell . . . . . Reading Ryokan in the Rain
  • E.M. Buchanan . . . . . Last Rites
  • Maoilios Caimbeul . . . . . Tè gheal mo Rùin
  • Jim Carruth . . . . . Into the Blue
  • Alison L. Craig . . . . . The Dynamics of Balsa
  • John Cumming . . . . . Da Net
  • Lesley Dargie . . . . . The Doctor Smoked a Pipe
  • Derenz . . . . . Forbidden Strangers
  • Andrew Elliott . . . . . My Aunties
  • Raymond Friel . . . . . The Flask
  • Raymond Friel . . . . . An American Hitman in Glasgow
  • Graham Fulton . . . . . Dali Rage
  • Valerie Gillies . . . . . The Eye Well
  • Merryn Glover . . . . . Her Mother’s Songs
  • Paul Gorman . . . . . The Firewall
  • Kate Hendry . . . . . The Slashing of Wee Fraser
  • Vicki Husband . . . . . Maslow
  • Fiona Jack . . . . . The Rings
  • Andy Jackson . . . . . Air Band Radio
  • Mary Johnston . . . . . Kisted
  • Helen Lamb . . . . . Mid-Summer Night Riff
  • Louise Laurie . . . . . Gingerbread Men
  • Peter Maclaren . . . . . Return to Sutherland
  • Ciara MacLaverty . . . . . Past Love in the Museum of Transport
  • Andy Manders . . . . . Fallers
  • Lynsey May . . . . . Toy Money
  • Sandra McQueen . . . . . Misfit
  • Theresa Muñoz . . . . . Glasgow Snowfall
  • Donald S. Murray . . . . . Unlikely Relationships
  • Andrew Nicoll . . . . . The Complete Works
  • Tom Pow . . . . . Selkie
  • Heather Reid . . . . . Discombobulating
  • Alan Riach . . . . . The Mother Speaks to Her Son
  • Dilys Rose . . . . . Mad Hatter Syndrome
  • Hester Ross . . . . . Self-Portrait
  • Cherise Saywell . . . . . Ghost Train
  • Alexis Scott . . . . . Martin
  • Fiona Ritchie Walker . . . . . Jackfruit
  • Ian Nimmo White . . . . . At the Water’s Edge
  • Christopher Whyte . . . . . Ceum air Cheum

Last updated 12 August 2010.