John Burnside

  • 11 August 2006

This article is from 2006.

John Burnside fans are in for a treat as the poet and novelist will be reading from his two major publications of 2006. The Fife-born author unleashed his Collected Poems, which beautifully showcased his gift as a chronicler of the natural, human and mystical worlds, the work drawn from such collections as Swimming in the Flood and the Whitbread award winning The Asylum Dance. Having won plaudits for his poetry and compellingly disturbing novels such as The Locust Room, the author has said of his work: ‘I really like to try my hand at everything and I think it’s probably dangerous to be pigeon-holed, not necessarily by other people but in one’s own mind.’

Burnside has now turned to his own upbringing to explore abiding themes of masculinity and violence with his memoir A Lie About My Father. The book is based around a difficult childhood at the hands of his domineering dad, a fantasist, hard drinker and petty bully, whose gradual decline mirrored Burnside’s own downward spiral into addiction and mental illness. ‘This book is best treated as a work of fiction,’ he insists. More than a personal history, Burnside’s lyrical work also explores the ways in which the imagination and language can provide an escape route from the past. (Allan Radcliffe)

19 Aug (with Kirsty Gunn), 8.30pm, £8 (£6); 28 Aug (with Kathleen Jamie), 10.15am, £7 (£5).

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