Kennedy and Boyd

Speak, Adam
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By Burgess, Moira. With an Introduction by Valentina Poggi.
ISBN 1904999638
SERIES Twentieth Century Scottish Womens Fiction
Paperback  180 pages
Subject [Fiction ]
Published 15 January 2009
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Originally published in 1987 as A Rumour of Strangers."In George Mackay Brown’s Hawkfall there also exists in the title story a similar final twist as the last sentence subverts the process of decline into dreary conformity and sterility and opts instead for life and freedom. Although Hawkfall was written and published some years before Speak, Adam, Mackay Brown was not insensible to the fact that other writers were capable of a similar effective mirroring of human communities. As I recall, it was this master in the art of truthfully depicting village and small town life who recommended, when I visited him in the Spring of 1988, that I read Moira Burgess’ novel. A recommendation carrying no mean distinction.- from the Introduction.

Moira Burgess is a novelist, short story writer and literary historian, born in Campbeltown, Argyll, and now living in Glasgow. Writing has been the most important part of her life since childhood and she has published two novels, The Day Before Tomorrow (1971, reprinted 2009) and Speak, Adam, originally published as A Rumour of Strangers (1987); the gap between them and the hiatus since are probably due as much to the fact that she can’t write fiction to order, as to other life events like marriage, two children (now adults) and single parenthood. She has also produced short stories, two or three plays and a few poems, and many articles on a variety of topics. For some years she worked mainly on non-fiction, publishing The Glasgow Novel: a bibliography (3rd edition 1999) and a book on the same topic, Imagine a City (1998).

Like most writers, she has spent a lot of time going round giving talks to writers’ groups and conferences, but more or less gave this up a few years ago because it was getting in the way of the actual writing. She returned to fiction, which she much prefers, and has completed two dark Glasgow novellas and a novel set in the Western Isles.

Author of Mitchison’s Ghosts, a study of the supernatural and mythical elements in the work of Naomi Mitchison, she is now working on an edition of Mitchison’s collected prose.

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