Laura Waddell writes the latest article in our Spine series, a new regular book club feature for TYCI.

Hello, readers.

Recently I’ve been re-reading ‘Out’ by Natsuo Kirino (translated by Stephen Snyder), about four women who work in a bento lunch factory in Japan, to a social backdrop of cramped housing, gambling, and off-kilter shift hours at odds with the routine of other people in their lives. They’re dissatisfied with the routine of their lives; family responsibilities, money worries, and gruelling, difficult work where they must hurry to get the best jobs on the line – repetitively ladling rice into trays for hours is one of the worst, causing painful hands. The women are all quite different from each other, and come together after a murder occurs – but like any group of people thrown together, there are tensions, and it’s really the relationships between the four that I find so interesting. I’ve been reading a lot of thick non-fiction tomes recently, slowly for review, and wanted something I could just eat up like air, which is my memory of when I first read it a few years ago. I recently asked around on twitter how people felt about re-reading, and there’s a sense the types of books people choose to re-read are mostly comforting reads, which is not to say they’re not thick or difficult, but that they’re immersive and encompassing. I don’t do it a lot – endlessly, there are so many new books I want to get round to – but I’ve probably re-read ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte the most. Goth for life.


Why I Heart: Cheryl Strayed


Every single day in March, a different contributor will be talking about a woman they admire, all in honour of International Women’s Day. Today, author Kirsty Logan writes about columnist Cheryl Strayed and somebody a little closer to home…


I thought for a long time about who to do this feature on. I thought about women throughout history, who continue to inspire me on a daily basis. When I came down to it though, I actually picked two… I picked one woman that I don’t know and one woman that I do.

Interview: Kirsty Logan


TYCI speaks to Scottish author Kirsty Logan ahead of her appearance at Edinburgh Book Festival later this month.

KirstyLogan_CreditToMonkeytwizzle [Photo: Monkey Twizzle]

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my third book, a collection of linked stories called A Portable Shelter. It’s inspired by Scottish and Scandinavian folk tales, and explores loss, truth, childhood, and the stories we tell about ourselves. When it’s finished there will be thirteen stories, including the ‘frame’ story, but at the moment I’ve only written three of them. I try to keep the stories straightforward, but already they’re getting so weird and dark and labyrinthine. I can’t help myself.
I’m loving the process of working on this book. Once a week I go to Glasgow Uni library and just lurk in the stacks, browsing spines and picking up any books that look interesting. I’ve been reading from a really wide range of topics: masculinity in film, bereavement rites, children’s horror stories, Scottish women in the mid-20th century, folktales, criminal psychology, women’s treatment in medicine… I could go on. I can’t imagine going to a big library and not finding dozens of interesting books. I’m so grateful for the fellowship because it’s given me such freedom to read and write and think. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been able to just write, and not worry about doing dozens of other jobs to keep myself afloat.
Part of my research is travel, and I did the first part of that trip this past week: my girlfriend Annie and I went up to the Applecross peninsula in the Highlands. We took our lurcher puppy Rosie, which was a great excuse to randomly stop the car and go for a proper tramp across the fields. The landscape there is glorious, whether it’s blue skies or torrential rain. I ate local squat lobster, went out on a fishing boat, explored lochans, and climbed seaweed-slippery rocks. And it was a particularly memorable trip because Annie and I got engaged! It was a busy few days, and I loved every moment.