Matthew Stewart's 'The Knives of Villalejo'

The Knives of Villalejo Matthew Stewart Eyewear Publishing, 2017 £10.99   Last year I briefly corresponded with the American poet Donald Hall in the course of my research for a book on the Scottish poet Sydney Goodsir Smith…

Spilling the beans on Hawthornden

  I’m sure writers will be taking to the internet in their droves to pen their reminiscences of fellowships at Hawthornden Castle, in Midlothian, Scotland, on hearing of the death on Friday of Drue Heinz, heiress of the Heinz (57…

Long Livre Tangier

We’re in Tangier primarily for Morocco’s National Film Festival, but this blog will focus on Tangier’s literary past instead. It’s Stef’s first time in Tangier, and my second – I was here with a friend a decade ago now, but my previous…

Northern Line

I am septentrional, a Novocastrian, a Northerner. I’ve never made much of a song and dance about it because I see scant virtue in banging the little tribal drum of where the stork happened to arbitrarily drop me all those years ago. That said,…

Walking the (On)Line

I think I’m becoming an irascible old man (and I’m only 31) because this blog is yet another kvetch-piece. I don’t mean ‘old’ in silly pop song jargon, where 25 year olds like Ed Sheeran sing about when they were ‘young’ and how…

The Second-hand English Bookshops of Berlin

Is it a sign of some sort of cultural imperiousness or jingoism on my part that I always hope, wherever I go, there might be a few old English language books to buy? Maybe it’s just my sunny optimism, or my insatiable bibliomania? There is…

Muriel Spark: Centenary

I’m well aware I haven’t been as diligent as I should have been in posting more new blogs to this site, but lots has been happening and a new blog has been consistently at the bottom of my list of things to do. Today I wanted to remark…

A 'Proper' Academic

I’m aware that I’ve been very dilatory about posting new blogs here at CopyCats but I’ve haven’t been completely idle – most recently I’ve spent a spell of time in Glasgow and Edinburgh researching a book I am editing. This book…

The Second-Hand Bookshops of Edinburgh

The second instalment of our exploration of Scottish cities' second-hand bookshops and charity shops looks at Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the city where I cut my teeth as a book collector and began seeking books in earnest – it’s the site of…

The Second-Hand Bookshops of Glasgow

The CopyCats have been spending lots of time in second-hand bookshops, and have come up with their own guide to the bookshops of the places we have visited. For the first instalment of this review / guide, I should perhaps explain why I’m…