James Robertson remembers Lockerbie in The Professor of Truth

This article is from 2013

James Robertson - The Professor of Truth

The author will attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013 to discuss his latest novel

It’s inevitable that Robertson’s latest novel, The Professor of Truth, about a man who loses his wife and child in a terrorist attack on a plane that crashes into the Scottish countryside, should make readers think about Lockerbie, and wonder if this is Robertson’s attempt to write the Scots equivalent of the 9/11 novel. Does he mind people making those connections with that horrific event?

Absolutely not, he says. ‘The novel was inspired by the Lockerbie bombing. I wanted to explore, through fiction, some of the ideas that a huge story like Lockerbie generates. If that makes people think about the real event and all its ramifications, that’s a good result.’

Does he see the confrontation between his Scottish professor, Alan Tealing, and Ted Nilsen, the American operative who visits him out of the blue, as a battle between good and evil? ‘Between right and wrong, perhaps, which is not quite the same thing. People caught up in such events make decisions which have consequences. Their motivations may not be wicked but the consequences may be very bad indeed.’

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 18 Aug, 8.30pm, £10 (£8).

James Robertson

The poet and novelist discusses his work. James Robertson is a poet, fiction writer, essayist and editor. He was former writer-in-residence at Brownsbank Cottage, home of Hugh MacDiarmid and founded ITCHYCOO, which publishes books in Scots for young readers.

James Robertson: The Professor of Truth

The Saltire prize-winning author discusses his latest novel, The Professor of Truth, which sees a man continue to be obsessed with the deaths of his wife and daughter in a plane bombing more than two decades after it happened.