A Scent of Water

(Children's Stories)

Nowadays there is a belief that the folk tale is more than an ingenious story displaying simple emotions.

Its apparent naivety, and the often illogical nature of events, can work together to produce a world sharply relevant to our own yet rooted within the created logic of the story itself. The eighteen tales in this book have been written from a variety of sources. Some have grown from an idea or theme in a traditional tale; others are concerned with using conventional elements of the folk tale to create an entirely original piece of writing. Illustrated by Alasdair Gray.

Elvis is Dead

(Short Stories)

Elvis is Dead is a book of nineteen short stories written over a period of eight years.

The themes may be serious but there is humour at every turn, musical references abound and throughout there is a lack of sentimentality. "I have always been a great admirer of Carl MacDougall's stories. Stylistically they are very clipped and thematically they are moving and poignant. He is particularly good at dealing with the emotions of people who are trapped, either by marriage or by their own natures, as is shown by "The Lady on Horseback" and "A Soldier's Tale". The stories are set down without any attempt to point to a moral - "this is the way life is" - and the endings are always true to their psychological development. I think he is a real short story writer, a rare breed. He deserves to be very widely known. He is simply a very good writer." IAIN CRICHTON SMITH .

Into A Room: Selected Poems of William Soutar


Edited by Carl MacDougall and Douglas Gifford. During his short life, William Soutar (1898-1943) produced poetry in Scots and English of astonishing range and beauty.

Embodying layers of tradition spanning more than five hundred years, his remarkable poetic voice is intimate, affecting, modern and European. This new selection is a bold development of W.R. Aitken's pioneering work, and points to an entirely new way of reading Soutar's poetry. The editors remove the poems from the poet's own restricting categories, and refrain from imposing an arbitrary alternative. the result is a ground-breaking selection which reveals the true scope and vitality of Soutar's poetry. Into a room illustrates the depth and achievement of one of Scotland's greatest poets, and makes his work available afresh to a wider readership.

Behind the Lines


An Anthology of New Scottish Poetry and Prose.

Illustrated by Willie Rodger.

Scots: The Language of the People


Accompanies the four-part television series screened by BBC2 in early 2006. Written and presented by Carl MacDougall, the series tells the story of the Scots language from its common roots with English to the present day.

Carl has compiled an anthology which features the work of 50 writers covering more than 800 years, from the anonymous 13th-century makars to Edwin Morgan, Tom Leonard, Adam McNaughtan and Kathleen Jamie. Our greatest writers, William Dunbar, Robert Burns, James Hogg, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Hugh MacDiarmid, are featured. Extracts from the great epic poems on Bruce and Wallace, the works of Gavin Douglas, Robert Henryson and Sir David Lyndsay, sit alongside anonymous ballad singers and unknown writers whose work appeared in 19th-century newspapers and magazines. The great prose pieces are included, from the 16th-century curiosities to stories by John Galt, Lewis Grassic Gibbon and Robert McLellan. Our finest poets and songwriters such as Allan Ramsay, Hamish Henderson, Marion Angus and Robert Fergusson rub shoulders with Robert Tannahill, Neil Munro, Robert Garioch and William Soutar. Each piece carries a separate introduction and the contents are arranged to make the anthology as readable as possible, showing, through living, practical examples, how the language developed and survived and how its present is healthier than ever.

A Cuckoo's Nest

(Children's Stories)

This is a book of folk tales from all over Scotland. There have been many such collections before, but a mass of stories tends to destroy the force and flavour which each individual tale had at its first telling.

Here you will find tales of witches and giants, lairds and princesses, wee folk and magicians, as well as some that take a wry look at today's world. They have been selected from the less well-known stories and ballads in a rich oral tradition that was once the main medium of instruction and entertainment. In A Cuckoo's Nest Carl MacDougall, who for many years studies the arts of folk music and the folk tale, has presented twenty-three stories in a style that brings out the infectious appeal of the spoken word. To read them is to discover why the folk tale is still a living art. Illustrated by Barbara Robertson.

The Lights Below


"A young man, Andy Paterson, has just been released from prison on a drugs charge of which he is innocent; he wants to know why he was framed and by whom."

"Glasgow has changed a lot since he was put away; he has to attune himself to the new rhythms, a painful business. He isn't a tough guy - in fact he is an intelligent young man with a love of books and music... The novel is as much a celebratory portrait of modern Glasgow as of Andy Paterson." "It is a beautifully constructed story throughout. Glasgow has a major new novelist in Carl MacDougall, no doubt about it." GEORGE MACKAY BROWN, 1993. "The Lights Below is a model of stealth. MacDougall builds his story, layer upon layer, surreptitiously towards a deft and utterly plausible resolution. It's focus is Andy; its locus Glasgow. The city's presence is alive; MacDougall deploys it as more than the setting for Andy's search. It lives in the memory of his book. It serves as a symbol of continuity and change, presenting persuasively both the comforts and disaffections human beings serve on each other. " SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY, 1993. "A masterpiece ... one of the great Scottish novels of this century." SPECTATOR.

Stone Over Water


"Carl MacDougall's real subject is Scotland and what it means to be Scots... "

"Angus MacPhail is the child of failure ... While his adoptive brother tries to save Scotland for socialism by robbing banks, Angus, representing the bastard majority, is happier working for number one. Not that he is happy. Having alienated a succession of women by his dour self absorption, he finally ends up in a cosily incestuous relationship with his adoptive sister ... Despite its lightness of touch, this is a novel of complexity and ambition, hilarious, moving and thought provoking". "This novel ... sets Carl MacDougall firmly among the pantheon of Kelman and Gray ... sparkling and exhilarating ... wise and, above all, entertaining". SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY.

The Devil and the Giro


Two Centuries of Scottish Stories collected and Edited by Carl MacDougall. "The Scottish short story has its roots in an oral tradition where stories were told to entertain.

It is a tradition that has not diminished over the years and indeed there is today a body of young writers in the forefront of contemporary literature whose narrative voice is as compelling as that of their illustrious predecessors. The Devil and the Giro includes stories from all the major Scottish writers both famous and unsung. Hogg, Stevenson, George MacDonald, Conan Doyle, Hugh MacDiarmid, Muriel Spark, James Kelman and Alasdair Gray are but a few of the fifty contributors".

The Casanova Papers


From a converted church overlooking Glasgow, a former political correspondent watches the planes come and go, staring towards the countryside beyond the city while taking stock.

Beginning with the death of his wife, he gradually moves across their life together, between locations, snatching common memories, filling the past with details his children could never have known. At the same time, he is forced to concentrate on his own, immediate concerns; his loss of job, lack of friends, loneliness and crumbling attempts to fill his time. In Paris, on an unimportant newspaper assignment, he finds what he thinks is another beginning. The Casanova Papers are contemporary accounts, from a variety of sources, sightings, memories and opinions, of Giacomo Casanova de Signault, courtier, gambler, spy and writer - the man who gave his reputation to posterity, who struggled with his past and reconstructed his life into the way he wanted it to be remembered. As the narrative moves across time and location, what is the significance of these papers and what echoes do they contain? The Casanova Papers was shortlisted for both the McVitie and the Saltire awards.

Writing Scotland

(Scottish Literature)

"For centuries a series of distinctive voices have kept the idea of Scotland alive and given the world a literature which is the birthright of every Scot."

"In Robert Burns we have the only poet enjoying worldwide celebrity. Sir Walter Scott invented the historical and romantic novels, Conan Doyle gave us the world's most famous detective and Robert Louis Stevenson invented the psychological novel." To accompany the eight part television series "Writing Scotland", produced by Hopscotch films for the BBC, Carl MacDougall takes a fresh and passionate look at Scottish literature from Burns to the present day, with comments from contemporary authors expanding on the main themes of the television series - the first ever about Scottish literature - landscape, superstition, tartan myths, religion, lost voices, travel and much more.

Painting the Forth Bridge

(Scottish Literature)

With the new parliament established, Scotland stands poised on the brink of the most momentous changes in its political, social, economic and cultural life.

Carl MacDougall here explores the nature of the Scottish identity, examining its roots and evaluating the possibilities of a new flowering in the years ahead. His investigation takes the form of a journey through the country, past and present, following loosely in the footsteps of Edwin Muir, who, in his classic Scottish Journey of 1935, described a similar quest. Unlike Muir, who was frequently depressed by what he observed, MacDougall finds a country buoyed up by optimism, an economy that is flourishing and old national traditions being revived. Applying his pointed critical analysis to Scottish art, architecture, dance, music and literature, the author strips away the layers of romantic mythology associated with Scottishness - from Bonnie Prince Charlie to Braveheart - and assesses how the desperate need for a hero has led the Scots first to deify and then denigrate individuals from Robert Burns and Walter Scott to Sean Connery and Billy Connolly. Throughout this subtle and, at times, searing critique, MacDougall argues for a newly self-confident national identity based on the contemporary realities of Scottish life and culture. It is indispensable reading, not only for Scots, but also for all those concerned with the issue of nationhood in the Europe of the third millennium.

Beloit Fictional Journal

(Short Stories)

A rare collection of short stories from a selection of contemporary Scottish authors:

Alasdair Gray, A.L. Kennedy, George Mackay Brown, James Kelman, Susan Campbell, Iain Chrichton Smith, Alan Spence, Elspeth Davie, Naiomi Mitchison, Rosa Macpherson, Carl MacDougall, John Herdman, Janice Galloway, Duncan Williamson.

The Keekin-Gless


An anthology from Perth and Kinross edited by Robert Alan Jamieson and Carl MacDougall (successive William Soutar fellows) featuring stories and poems by over 75 Perthshire writers.

Some are well known, others not so, what binds them is a sense of place. It is a celebration of place by folk who live and work there, by folk who have moved away yet have maintained their love for it; but mostly the anthology is a celebration of the folk themselves - the range of their experience, their emotional life and the ways in which they have created and maintained the culture of the area.

The One Legged Tap Dancer

(Short Stories)

A short story of a working class man, trying to earn a living.

"We got twentyfive pence an hour washing dishes; and anything we fancied left on the plates. Mary had four kids and no husband. She was always there before me, working away. Her eldest daughter looked after the kids. Mary was very particular about her work, didn't like the idea of people eating from badly washed plates. She chattered and sang while we worked and I felt I'd got to know her family very well. One Friday she wasn't there. She didn't appear on the Saturday and I worked her Sunday shift, flat rate. On Monday night she looked pale and drawn. I asked what happened. Couldn't get anybody to watch the weans, she said. What about Ellen? Ellen got run over by a motor Friday night. Is she okay? She was buried this afternoon. Lambhill. She put the plate on the rack, wiped her hands on her apron and faced me. The polis have still got her clothes, she said. Do you think if I asked them they'd give me the shoes? They might fit wee Mary."


(Short Stories)

A booklet published in 1979 by Pavement Press in Fife featuring six short stories:

Mrs Bernstein, Through the Sylvan Gloom I Wander Day and Night, A Goitre At Her Neck, Honeysuckle, A Sunny Day in Glasgow Long Ago, and Wednesday, 2.30am.


(Short Stories)

This is the first of a series of booklets planned with Perjink Press. This booklet features six short stories:

Angels, 14, Parvis Componere Magna: The Bunnet, Abracadabra, Mozzarella Shavings, and Gaberlunzie.

Glasgow's Glasgow: The Words and the Stones


A fascinating, colourful book written to accompany the exhibition of the same name.

Illustrated by Willie Rodger.

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