tuesday 27th march
dove tales hosts launch of
maria marchidanu's anthology,
you don't look british
You Don’t Look British is a collection of prose, poetry, and memoir that explores human identity in connection to place, belonging, estrangement, and language.
The stories of diversity, displacement and discovery are told in Scotland, a country that shapes itself much like the voices within its frame.
In a political context that uses clichés as reassurance while pointing to the multicultural as something to fear, You Don’t Look British reflects upon the unmeasurable value of freedom of expression, of travel, of kindness, and of compassion, highlighting the equality of all our identities and journeys.
Maria Marchidanu is a remarkable young woman who came to Scotland at the age of nineteen to study Scottish literature at the University of Glasgow.
She has contributed greatly to Scottish cultural life, taking part in literary and artistic projects such as Tip Tap Flat: A View of Glasgow, the Glad magazine and the Research Multilingually at the Borders short documentary.
She raised the money for this anthology through crowdfunding and approached the contributors herself. They include Gerda Stevenson, James Robertson, Ruby McCann and Tawona Sithole.
ON THe night
Images by Ray Evans
You Don't Look British is a special anthology and we certainly had a special night to launch it, with fantastic readings and a piper in full Highland dress. Brad McMillan, played brilliantly - just not long enough!
For an audience who didn't know the anthology, it was fascinating to hear such a different variety of styles and experience - Douglas Thompson's encounter with a Sikh shopkeeper on the eve of the referendum, Maria Marchidanu's grieving Romanian ice cream seller who emigrates to London, Christine Laennec's memoir about moving to Scotland from the Great Plains of America, Tawona Sithole's poetic fable about an adventurous bird having to live in a new forest.
Ruby McCann was supposed to read too but had a family emergency involving the collapse of an attic roof, a sister dangling out of it and a trip to A&E, so Jean Rafferty read her poem. Ruby was there in spirit.
The climax of the evening was Iyad Hayatleh's heartbreaking memoir about his late wife, Lamees Tayyem, buried in a cold Glasgow cemetery far from her Palestinian homeland.
It was a warm and wonderful night and people were so moved by the quality of the writing and music that a group of the more rock 'n' roll members of Dove Tales stayed on for the band, Highland Reign. A rock version of The Twa Corbies? Truly a night to remember.
Thanks to Hannah, Dyann, Cat and all the Scotia staff who, as always, made us so welcome.
Highland Reign are a band who descend every couple of years on the Scotia Bar from their home in Indianapolis, bringing bus loads of followers with them. They rock to Border ballads and traditional Scottish songs. They rock!