Bookmarked: Treasures and Inspiration

Denise Mina
Category: Reading

It’s that time again: Bookmarked is back! The latest episode is all about inspiration as host Ryan Van Winkle talks Treasures with Denise Mina, discusses Margaret Thatcher and memoir writing with Damian Barr, and learns a bit about bears from Mandy Haggith.

Few people would consider a battered old tea tin a treasure, but Denise Mina thought otherwise. She deliberately set out to write about a fairly banal object and settled on the tin not only because it rather marvellously illustrates the relationship between herself and her fairly distant grandmother, but also because it reminded her of the history of both her family and her community.

Reflecting on family and history is now a familiar exercise for Damian Barr, whose memoir, Maggie and Me, is all about his childhood and the impact Margaret Thatcher’s policies had on him, his relatives and others in their area. The former Prime Minister’s controversial Section 28 portion of the Local Government Act 1988 hit Barr particularly hard at a time when he was just starting to understand his homosexuality but could find no adults able to legally help him.

‘That was an evil bit of Thatcherite legislation,’ he says.

But the passage of time has made him somewhat more philosophical about the late Iron Lady.

‘Thatcher also had an ideology of individualism—you could be different, you, as an individual, are special, and that, I guess, is the silver lining of that time.’

Nature and the ancient myth of Callisto provided the inspiration for Mandy Haggith’s latest novel, Bear Witness, which imagines a future Scotland that re-introduces bears to the Highlands. You can learn more about her love of these popular members of the family Ursidae, as well as the many ways they could benefit Scotland in the podcast.

To hear the full podcast, head on over to the Scottish Book Trust podcast pagelisten on Podomatic or subscribe to our podcasts via RSS to stay up to date with all the latest podcasts! 

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