Podcasts

Links to listen to our Open Book Unbound podcasts are below, with a summary of what's included in each.

Our podcasts are published monthly, in line with our bumper newsletters, and include discussion of our Unbound Writing and lots more.

May 2024

We’re excited to host a world premiere of new writing in this month’s Open Book Unbound. Claire and Marjorie read an excerpt from Alycia Pirmohamed’s ‘Trigger Notebook: Fragments of Poetry Along the Coastline of My Memory’ and the stunning poem ‘Portobello in Spring’ written in response by Roshni Gallagher, exclusively for our podcast.

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April 2024

Spring has arrived, bringing chattering birds back to our gardens. Inspired by Scottish Book Trust’s 2024 Book Week Scotland theme of ‘Hope’, Claire and Marjorie read Britta Benson’s short story ‘My first Emily’ and Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘A bird came down the walk’.   Listen on Soundcloud

March 2024

Step into the wild with Open Book Unbound. Reading ‘Roots’ by Sarah Whiteside and ‘Camping at Bearna’ by Jane Clarke, Claire and Marjorie explore themes of overwhelm, escape, parenthood and returning home.   Listen on Soundcloud

February 2024

This month, we’re taking a moment to relax and explore the Night Sky. Reading ‘Lying Down to Look Up’ by Anna Levin and ‘I saw no Way–The Heavens were stitched’ by Emily Dickinson, Claire and Marjorie think about fond childhood memories of stargazing, the overwhelming vastness of space, and consider the world around us as an evolving mystery to be shared with family and friends.   Listen on Soundcloud

January 2024

Claire and Marjorie kick off 2024’s podcasts by exploring Open Book’s latest theme, Machines. Reading Ruth Gilchrist’s short story ‘Engine Oil’ and Walt Whitman’s poem ‘To a Locomotive in WInter’, they discuss the importance of holding silence, career paths, and the mechanical orchestra of trains.   Listen on Soundcloud

New Year 2024

In a special bonus podcast for New Year’s Day we discuss ‘True Tales from the Sea by a Fisherman’s Wife’ by LG Thomson and the poem ‘When the Whales Beached’ by Niall Campbell.

 

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December 2023

Claire and Marjorie usher in December with warm, poignant readings of Adrija Ghosh’s short story ‘Satsuma’ and Tim Tim Cheng’s poem ‘Sonnet with Skylines’. Inspired by Open Book’s latest theme, Postcards, join Claire and Marjorie in this final episode of 2023 as they discuss relationships, distance, loss, the sense of home, and the act of reaching out to loved ones.

 

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October 2023

Inspired by Glasgow Women’s Library’s 30th anniversary celebrations and their Open the Door Literary Festival, Open Book’s latest theme is Protest.

 

Reading Jackie Kay’s powerful ‘A Life in Protest’, written in response to Ingrid Pollard’s work and 2021 exhibition ‘No Cover Up’, and Eloise Greenfield’s thought-provoking ‘Jinny’s Freedom’, Claire and Marjorie question how far we’ve come, how far we’ve yet to go, and the intergenerational impact of ongoing protest.

 

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September 2023

This month, Claire and Marjorie dive into Open Book’s latest theme, Lost and Found.   Reading Lynn Gee’s short story ‘Tortoise’ and John Burnside’s poem ‘On the Vanishing of my Sister, aged 3, 1965’, they discuss the highs and lows of pet ownership, Edinburgh’s secret gardens, changes that come with loss and discovery, and taking on the role of observer. Listen on Soundcloud

August 2023

What is nostalgia, and what happens when our memories aren’t accompanied by the rose-tinted memories typically associated with the feeling? As Open Book welcomes the new theme of nostalgia for this month’s sessions, Claire and Marjorie read short story ‘Reverie’ by Kimberley White and ‘Nigh No Place’ by Jen Hadfield.   Listen on Soundcloud

July 2023

This month, Claire and Marjorie examine the letters of Henrietta Liston, a British botanist, world traveller and wife of diplomat Robert Liston. Liston documented her travels with meticulous detail in her journals, letters and personal documents which form part of the Liston archive held at the National Library of Scotland (NLS).

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June 2023

We discuss ‘The Race’ by Tom Murray and the poem ‘Us’ by Zaffar Kunial.

 

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May 2023

We discuss ‘The Allotment’ by Morgan Melhuish and ‘Catalogue of my grandmother’s sayings’ by Claire Askew.

 

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April 2023

We read ‘Blue’ by Liz Holliday and ‘Song of the Mainland’ by Miriam Nash.

 

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March 2023

We read the story ‘Practising’ by Priscilla Thomas and the poem ‘I Wanted Music’ by Sarah Ruhl.

 

 

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February 2023

We discuss the story ‘Dinnerplate Identities’ by Britta Benson and the poem ‘A Tray of Frozen Songbirds’ by Pascale Petit.



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January 2023

We discuss the story ‘Shipbuilding’ by LG Thomson and the poem ‘Not Unequal to Many’ by Jay Gao.

 

 

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December 2022

We discuss the story ‘Sunday Surprise’ by Sarah Tinsley and the poem ‘Twenty-two’ by Theresa Muñoz.

 

 

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November 2022

We read the story ‘Waiting’ by Alexa Kellow and the poem ‘a pint for the true shepherds’ by Helen Mort.

 

 

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October 2022

We feature Victoria Kennefick’s poem ‘A Young Girl Discovers Her Reflection’ and the short story ‘Carnival Night’ by Rebecca Savage.

 

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September 2022

We read the story  ‘How to Read the Lace’ by Alex Penland and the poem ‘Imitating Rousseau’ by Georgi Gill.

 

 

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August 2022

We discuss the story ‘New Beginnings’ by Helen Lyttle and the poem ‘Early Morning, West Hartlepool, 1963’ by Eddie Gibbons.

 

 

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July 2022

We discuss the short story ‘Guerrilla Tactics’ by Anne Hay and the poem ‘The Only Black Girl’ by Hannah Lowe.

 

 

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June 2022

On this episode we discuss ‘Elsewhere’ by Alycia Pirmohamed and the short story ‘How to Have the Perfect Picnic’ by Claire O’ Connor.

 

 

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May 2022

We discuss the story “Going somewhere? What happens when the story ends?” by Amy Moreno and the poem ‘Bladerunner’ by Rob A. Mackenzie.

 

 

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April 2022

We discuss ‘A Story in Nine Rooms’ by Dizz Tate and the poem ‘Wetheral’ by Claire Askew.

 

 

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March 2022

Featuring the story ‘Grass is Greener?’ by Tom Murray and Gerald Manley Hopkin’s poem ‘The Caged Skylark’.

 

 

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February 2022

On this episode we read the story ‘Herzoggies’ by Lynnda Wardle and the poem ‘Scotland You’re No Mine’ by Hannah Lavery.

Note: the poem in this episode features explicit language.

 

 

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January 2022

We welcome in the new year with the story ‘Hazy Shade of Blue’ by Lorraine Thomson and a poem by John Glenday, ‘Bird Sighs for the Air’

 

 

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December 2021

On this episode we read Heather Parry’s short story ‘To Table’ and the poems ‘Who goes to dine must take his Feast’ by Emily Dickinson and ‘Revelry’ by Open Book Creative Writing Group.

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November 2021

We discuss the short story ‘The Serpent’ by Rafael Torrubia and two group poem by members of the Oasis Group at Maryhill Integration Network, ‘What Every Woman Should Carry’ and ‘In The Wardrobe’.

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October 2021

This episode features the story ‘Histogram’ by Katharine Macfarlane and ‘Crossing The Loch’, a poem from our new Scottish Makar Kathleen Jamie.

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September 2021

We discuss the short story ‘The Forthcoming Me’ by Catherine Wilson and the poem ‘Piano’ by DH Lawrence.

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August 2021

On this episode we discuss the story ‘Preserving History’ by Angi Holden and the poem ‘The Matchsafe’ by John Glenday.

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July 2021

On this episode we discuss the short story ‘Horses for Courses’ by Judy Upton and the poems ‘I would not paint — a picture —’ (348) and ‘Success is counted sweetest’ (112) by Emily Dickinson.

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June 2021

In this episode we discuss the story ‘Inside Her Leg’ By Lorraine Thomson and the poem ‘Bird-House’ by Em Strong.

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May 2021

Claire and Marjorie discuss ‘Adelstrop’ by Edward Thomas and the story ‘There Were Always Roses’ by Cath Barton.

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April 2021

We discuss ‘The Change’ by Ruth Gilchrist and the poem ‘Selkie’ by Rachel Plummer on this episode of our monthly podcast series.

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March 2021

On this episode we read the Edwin Morgan poems ‘When you go’, ‘One cigarette’ and ‘The picnic’ and the Morgan inspired story ‘On The Ship’ by Alice Ash.

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February 2021

In this episode we discuss the short story “Someone Else’s House” by Jane Archer and the poem “The House” by Emily Dickinson.

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January 2021

On this episode Marjorie and Claire discuss “A Visit from Niven and Flynn” by Dorothy Lawrenson and “Flying Inside Your Own Body” by Margaret Atwood.

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December 2020

We return with the first of our new monthly podcasts and this one features a new story ‘The Christmas Box’ by Liz Treacher. We also read the poem ‘The Coming of Light’ 
Mark Strand.

 

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Podcast 23
7 September 2020

In this week’s podcast, Claire and Marjorie read and discuss Pauline Moore’s story ‘I took my troubles for a walk’ and Wendell Berry’s poem ‘Go Among Trees and Sit Still’..

 

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Podcast 22 31 August 2020

We discuss our commissioned story ‘Unbound’ by Iain Matheson and the poem ‘Daisy’ by Alice Oswald.

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Podcast 21
24 August 2020

We discuss our commissioned piece ‘The Bench’ by Beth Godfrey and the poem ‘Once Upon a Time’ by Gabriel Okara.



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Podcast 20 17 August 2020

In this episode we discuss our commissioned piece ‘Orange Peel’ by Sophie Law and the poems ‘A Birthday’ by Edwin Muir and ‘The Orange’ by Wendy Cope.

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Podcast 19
10 August 2020

We take a break from our commissioned pieces of writing on this episode to read an abridged version of the first chapter from The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar. We also look ahead to the event with the author which our very own Marjorie Lotfi Gill will be chairing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Wednesday 19 August at 11.30.



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Podcast 18 3 August 2020

In this episode we discuss our commissioned piece ‘The Happy House’ by Kathryn Koromilas and the poems ‘Little Sea House’ by Hamish MacLaren and ‘Home is so Sad’ by Philip Larkin.

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Podcast 17
27 July 2020

In this episode, we discuss our commissioned piece ‘Gathering Threads’ by Lisa Williams and ‘The Knitter’ by Jackie Kay.

 

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Podcast 16 20 July 2020

In this episode we feature our Unbound commissioned piece by Elspeth Wilson and two of the poems she chose to accompany it – ‘Early April Heatwave’ by April Thomas and ‘Summit of Corrie Etchachan’ by Nan Shepherd.

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Podcast 15
13 July 2020

In this episode Claire Urquhart and Marjorie Lotfi Gill discuss our commissioned piece ‘Confluence of Years’ by Linda Cracknell and the poem ‘Crossing the Bar’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson.



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Podcast 14
6 July 2020

In this episode we continue our discussion of our commissioned pieces with ‘Gazing’ by Russell Jones and the poem ‘Unwittingly’ by John Burnside.



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Podcast 13 29 June 2020

Continuing our commissioned pieces, we feature ‘Essential’ by Siân Bevan and one of her chosen poems, ‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop.

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Podcast 12
22 June 2020

We present the first of our commissioned pieces in this episode and feature a poem chosen by its author.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Claire Urquhart read and discuss the story ‘All at Sea’ by Kate Smith and the poem ‘Dolphins at Kochin’ by Tom Buchan.



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Podcast 11 15 June 2020

In this episode of Open Book Unbound Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Claire Urquhart discuss the poem ‘So Much Happiness’ by Naomi Shihab Nye and the essay by Peter Ross from Imagine a Country, edited by Jo Sharp and Val McDermid.

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Podcast 10 8 June 2020

In this episode we read ‘Child of the Moon’ by Heather Parry and ‘No.115 dreams’ by Jackie Kay.

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Podcast 9 1 June 2020

In this episode we discuss the poems ‘Temptation’ by Nina Cassian and ‘Lightness’ by Meg Bateman, as well as the short story ‘Hebridean Lovesong’ by James Robertson.

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Podcast 8 25 May 2020

Claire Urquhart and Marjorie Lotfi Gill discuss the story ‘Gunter’ by Helen Sedgwick and the poem ‘Otherwise’ by Jane Kenyon in this episode.

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Podcast 7
18 May 2020

Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Claire Urqhuart discuss Leila Aboulela’s short essay from the book Imagine A Country: Ideas for a Better Future (ed. Val McDermid & Jo Sharp) and the poems ‘Coffee Ceremony’ by Anne Hay and ‘What Work Is’ by Philip Levine in this episode of Open Book Unbound.



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Podcast 6 11 May 2020

We read ‘At Sea’ by Karen Lord, one of the Freedom Papers commissioned by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the poem ‘Dawn Revisited’ by Rita Dove.

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Podcast 5
4 May 2020

Inspired by the Scottish Book Trust’s theme this year, we explore two pieces that consider the future in very different ways – “Egg”, a short story by our Writer in Lockdown Jan Carson, and the poem “Curiosity” by poet and translator Alastair Reid.

 

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Podcast 4 27 April 2020

Claire and Marjorie read and discuss Edwin Morgan’s poems, and Liz Lochhead’s introduction to the ‘Scotland ‘ collection of Edwin Morgan Twenties.

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Podcast 3 20 April 2020

Claire Urquhart and Marjorie Lotfi Gill read and discuss ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Yiyun Li, ‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes and ‘Late Fragment’ by Raymond Carver.

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Podcast 2 12 April 2020

In this episode we explore poems and stories with a musical theme. Claire Urquhart and Marjorie Lotfi Gill read and discuss the poems ‘Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House’ by Billy Collins and ‘Everyone Sang’ by Siegfried Sassoon, and we read the short story ‘Self Control’ by James Robertson. We also discuss your feedback from our first episode and give an update on the latest news from our virtual groups.

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Podcast 1 2 April 2020

Our first episode features Marjorie Lotfi Gill and Claire Urquhart taking part in their very first Open Book discussion as a podcast. We discuss ‘An Anti-Social Ride’ by Lee Craigie, one of Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Freedom Papers, and the poem ‘Landscape with Flying Man’ by John Glenday.

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