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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


In photos: Dundee Literary Festival turns ten

October 26 2016

The Dundee Literary Festival has enjoyed another successful year as it celebrated its tenth anniversary this month. As the last of the events wrapped up on Sunday, organisers reminisced about the past decade, which saw the festival grow from a two-day gathering to a five day literary bonanza attracting talent from all over the world. This year’s events included a showcase of local writing, featuring Tina McDuff’s Seconds to Snap memoir about her battle with anorexia; Slugboy Saves the World, a children’s book by a Dundee teacher; The Fall of the Tay Bridge by historian David Swinfen; as well as a number of talks and creative workshops by international authors.  


Thousands turn out for Dundee Literary Festival

October 24 2016

The Dundee Literary Festival has enjoyed another successful year as it celebrated its tenth anniversary this month. As the last of the events wrapped up on Sunday, organisers reminisced about the past decade, which saw the festival grow from a two-day gathering to a five day literary bonanza attracting talent from all over the world. This year’s events included a showcase of local writing, featuring Tina McDuff’s Seconds to Snap memoir about her battle with anorexia; Slugboy Saves the World, a children’s book by a Dundee teacher; The Fall of the Tay Bridge by historian David Swinfen; as well as a number of talks and creative workshops by international authors. Peggy Hughes, manager of Literary Dundee, the group which organises the festival, said: “It has been a really varied and illuminating five days. “We’ve had lots of lovely comments from people telling us they’ve had a great time. “As well as literary events we had a tea dance, which was attended by around 150 people — that was really special, to see them all dancing and having fun. “We also tried to reflect the local flavour with some events to showcase comics, students’ work and local authors. “Altogether we’ve had several thousand visitors and there was a great buzz in Dundee. “It’s really important for the city to have its own literary festival. It’s great to look back to ten years ago, when it was just a two day event with a clutch of writers and compare it to now. “It shows that there’s a huge interest and enthusiasm for it in Dundee, and it has been great to see the festival grow.” The festival’s finale took place in the Unicorn on Sunday night with an event by writers Amy Liptrot and Malachy Tallack. Amy presented The Outrun, winner of the Wainwright Prize 2016, which charts her return from London to Orkney where she began to recover from alcoholism.


Best selling author to appear at Dundee Literary Festival

September 14 2017

Dundee Literary Festival will see special guest Jacqueline Wilson return to the city where her writing career began during her only Scottish date this year in November. The smash-hit children's author, who penned favourites including Tracey Beaker and The Illustrated Mum, will host a fan party in the DC Thomson Meadowside building on Saturday November 11. Ms Wilson has several connections with Dundee, having trained in the city as a journalist in the 1960s, as well as being awarded with an honorary degree from Dundee University. During the festival, the launch of the biography of Michael Marra will take place with a special meet and greet with the late Bard of Dundee's friend and author of the book James Roberston. The festival also coincides with the centenary of Dundee academic D'Arcy Thompson's seminal work On Growth and Form being released. A discussion on Thompson's study, which was written while he was based in the city, will be held by university academic Matthew Jarron. The Dundee International Book Prize winner will be announced during the festival week, which takes place between October 18 and 22. Peggy Hughes, programme manager of the Dundee Literary Festival, said: "The programme is jam packed with literary stars, terrific debut voices, and events for families and children, so there is something for everyone. "This year you can join a pop up choir, make a little book, or try your hand at writing for young adults. You can test your wits in our bookish quiz, or sit back and enjoy the beautiful music of The Bookshop Band. "On Growth and Form looks inside things and examines their structures and cells. It gives up nature’s secrets. "This year we decided to take a steer from D’Arcy Thompson. We’re looking inside literary works, at their structures and their forms and secrets too. "We hope you’ll join us this autumn to make, do, dance and listen. Bring the kids. Come and help us make this our best festival yet." Tickets for all of the festival events will be available to purchase from Thursday, with details available on literarydundee.co.uk.


Dundee International Book Prize 2016 shortlist announced

July 26 2016

Writers from three continents have made this year's shortlist for the Dundee International Book prize. Ten novels from as far south as New Zealand, to Scotland’s most northerly tip were selected from hundreds of entries and will battle it out for a publishing deal with Freight Books. The winner will also be awarded a £5,000 cash prize and a week’s protected writing time in Dundee. Peggy Hughes, Manager of Literary Dundee, said: “The Dundee International Book Prize is a vital part of our work, and a key way in which we celebrate and champion new voices. "This year’s shortlist is a stellar mix of international talent and genres, and we’re deeply excited to see which one will win.” The Dundee International Book Prize is now in its 12th year and continues to grow annually. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner during the annual Dundee Literary Festival in October. Previous winners include Amy Mason, with The Other Ida in 2014 and Martin Cathcart Froden, with Devil Take the Hindmost in 2015. Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said: “Each year the quantity and quality of entrants for the Book Prize goes from strength to strength. "I never envy the judges the difficult task they have of choosing just one winner from such a strong field but every time they manage to select a deserving book to take the title.” Extracts of the top ten will shortly be published on the Literary Dundee website to allow book lovers to sample the talent on show this year. The prize is a collaboration between the University of Dundee, Freight Books and Dundee City Council's 'One City, Many Discoveries' campaign. Adrian Searle from Freight Books said: “With the release of last year’s winner, Devil Take the Hindmost by Martin Cathcart Froden, and the hugely positive response it’s receiving, it’s gratifying but not unexpected that 2016 sees another very strong shortlist. The shortlist will be whittled down to a final three, and the 2016 winner crowned at this year’s Dundee Literary Festival, taking place from  October 19 to October 23. The full 2016 shortlist is: Not to be Reproduced by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry (US) The Margins by Jessica Thummel (US) In Borderlands by Richard Strachan (Scotland) London Clay by Amy Spencer (England) Reading Through Binoculars by James Cole (England) Shadow Jumping by Margaret Ries (Scotland) The Life of De’Ath by Majella Cullinane (New Zealand) The Shadow of Pure Light by Emile Cassen (England) Ghost of a Writer by Helen Dann (England) The Great Edge by George Gunn (Scotland)


Dundee Literary Festival ‘spreading its wings’ for 2014

October 22 2014

Dundee Literary Festival 2014 opens today. Scores of events have been organised across the city as the festival breaks out from its traditional setting in the Bonar Hall. Libraries, museums and even pubs will be playing host to dozens of literary figures over the next five days. Festival programme manager Peggy Hughes said: “We are delighted to see the festival spread its wings beyond the confines of the Bonar Hall and, in the months and years to come, we aim to increase the amount of events, increasing engagement with literature and storytelling across Dundee. “It would be rude not to take advantage of a pub called the George Orwell and Brian Taylor and Hannah Engelkamp will be speaking at some of the city’s finest public libraries. “Our walking tours will celebrate Dundee’s literary heritage while revealing facts about its heroes and villains.” For the full festival programme visit www.dundee.ac.uk/literarydundee.


Dundee set to launch another novelist’s career

October 18 2016

  This is the biggest week of the year for local lovers of literature as Dundee Literary Festival swings into action and the Dundee International Book Prize winner is announced.   Think of the leading literary hotspots and metropolitan London or trendy Edinburgh springs to mind. Perhaps the pastoral inspiration of the Lake District. Or the bleak and rugged landscape of the Highlands. Yet Dundee can lay claim to having inspired more new writers than anywhere else in the UK. The city hosts the biggest book prize in the UK for unpublished novelists. The Dundee International Book Prize includes a £5,000 cash award, publishing deal, and a week of protected writing time. Its backers are Dundee University, Freight Publishing and Dundee City Council. Peggy Hughes (32) is the head of Literary Dundee – the offshoot of Dundee University that organises Dundee Literary Festival and the Dundee International Book Prize. She spends most of the year sourcing and booking writers from all over the UK and beyond, arranging venues, cajoling people into being judges and readers, publicising the event and generally getting up to her oxters in Dundee’s artistic community. “Festival programmers are like magpies,” she says. “You’re always on the lookout for something shiny, picking up things here and there. “I spend a lot of time going to other book festivals – I chaired 15 events at the Wigtown Book Festival recently, so many that strangers were recognising me on the street.” This year’s book prize judges were Shereen Nanjiani, Ian McMillan, Hannah McGill and publisher Adrian Searle. There’s an all-female shortlist for this year’s prize. The Margins by Jessica Thummel, Shadow Jumping by Margaret Ries and London Clay by Amy Spencer are the final three in the running. The winner will be announced at a dinner in the Apex Hotel on Thursday night and their novel will be published early in the new year. Out of the 11 writers who have previously won the prize, Jacob Appel has arguably gone on to enjoy the greatest success. The New Yorker - a bioethicist, psychiatrist and lawyer with no less than seven masters degrees – won the 2012 prize for his debut novel The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up. He said: "The Dundee Prize was one of the major turning points in my literary life.  Up until that time, I'd written and published short fiction - literally over two hundred stories - but nobody was willing to publish a full-length collection. Nor did any editors appear interested in the various novel manuscripts that I had piled on my shelves, under my bed, and even in the trunk of my car.  In fact, my previous agent had sent the novel that ultimately won the prize, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, to numerous American publishers, and while a number enjoyed the book, all believed it was 'unmarketable' for various reasons. “So I was bogged down in my own slough of literary despond when the phone call came from Scotland.  I was so surprised at first - I'm still uncertain who actually entered my manuscript in the competition, as I have no memory or record of doing so myself - that I feared it might prove a practical joke. “Fortunately, it was not.  And on the heels of winning the prize, I've published another nine books over the past four years, with an additional five titles under contract.  But it was the Dundee Prize that made all the difference.  I cannot adequately express the joy I felt at holding the published book in my hands for the first time, or the look on my grandmother's face when she realized I wasn't frittering my life away. “In short, I am extremely grateful to the people of Dundee for both their generosity and extremely good literary taste.  I should also emphasize how much I enjoyed meeting Dundee's literary community when I visited; rarely if ever have I encountered such warm and welcoming souls." Even just coming close to winning the Dundee International Book Prize can be enough to launch a literary career. Neil Broadfoot was shortlisted for the award in 2013 for his novel Falling Fast. The 41-year old who lives in Dunfermline credits the exposure with securing a publishing deal. “There’s no doubt being shortlisted launched my career as a writer,” the former Scotsman journalist said. “It got the attention of my publisher and I’ve just released the third book in the series.” Falling Fast introduced investigative reporter Doug McGregor and his police contact and uneasy friend DS Susie Drummond as they hunted a convicted rapist. His work has been likened to Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. It went on to be shortlisted for the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award (now the William McIlvanney Prize) and spawned two sequels. Neil still works as a freelance communications consultant but says being able to earn part of his income from novels is a dream come true. “I have a wife, two children and four dogs so unfortunately I’m not yet able to throw it all in and write full time. Hopefully one day though.” www.dundeebookprize.com


The Write Stuff: Speakers spread the word about publishing at Dundee seminar

April 21 2016

A number of Scotland’s top publishers and literary figures descended on Dundee to help budding writers see their work in print. The Write Stuff event, held at Dundee University, gave participants an insight into the business side of writing, as well as advice on how to take their writing to a world stage. Guests included Scotland’s leading agent Jenny Brown, BBC Scotland’s inaugural 
poet-in-residence Rachel 
McCrum, former Man Booker Prize judge Stuart Kelly, editor at Canongate Books Jo Dingley, and Bob McDevitt, director of the Aye Write! book festival. The speakers offered advice on topics such as how to get an agent, how to get published, what literary festivals are looking for, how to apply for residencies and funding and how to network.   Literary agent Jenny Brown said: "The process can be daunting for new writers, so we tried to give as much information as we could about how to negotiate their way from finishing a manuscript to getting it published and promoting it. "It's not just about being published, but about getting the book into the readers' hands, whether that's through reviews, festivals or other events. "There is a lot of creative talent and energy in Dundee, what with the creative writing course at the university, the literary festival and the Dundee International Book Prize." The Write Stuff was a free event  organised by Literary Dundee, a university-led initiative that connects readers, writers, books and bright ideas. Peggy Hughes, manager of Literary Dundee, said: "The 'business' side of things is very important for writers. "It's all about getting your writing out to the world, reaching your readers and connecting with them. "That's the ideal outcome for any writer. The event was a 360 degree view of what is possible when it comes to getting writers' work out there."  


Giant cow pie is just dandy for promoting prized prose

October 7 2014

One of Dundee’s best loved characters warmed up for the city’s literary festival with a unique presentation. Desperate Dan is renowned for his love of cow pie, and festival director Anna Day and programme manager Peggy Hughes offered up a giant three-foot-wide version of the dish to the statue on High Street. The model, which was carved out of foam, moulded in silicon and then cast in acrylic fibreglass, is being used to promote the comic book section of the festival. Peggy Hughes praised the idea and hoped it would help people take notice of the festival, which starts on October 22. She said: “We hope the literary festival can celebrate some of the things that Dundee is known for, and the pie specifically helps bring attention to the journalism and comics industry. “Our comic book events are a big part of the festival so we’re hoping Dandy and Beano fans will come along.” The pie first appeared in the ‘Wha’s like us? A nation of dreams and ideas’ exhibition at the National Library of Scotland earlier this year before it was donated. She praised the donation given by the library, and also DC Thomson for their involvement so far. She said: “It’s been donated by the National Library, in collaboration with DC Thomson, and it’s a really fun idea that I hope will help people engage with the festival. “We really appreciate that they wanted to help, and people like DC Thomson collaborating with us is really important for the festival.” Jackie Cromarty, who manages exhibitions at the National Library, was happy to have contributed. She said: “Our Wha’s Like Us? exhibition celebrated great Scottish ideas and inventions and we were delighted to include Desperate Dan in this roll of honour. “We have been very pleased to donate this replica of his favourite dish to help back Dundee’s successful literary festival.” More than 60 workshops, talks, book signings, and other events will be held over the festival’s five-day run. Tickets for all events can be found online.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.