Open Book Unbound

Open Book Unbound is our online programme, established during COVID-19 to help keep our community connected.

Our weekly newsletter details our public sessions open to all plus a monthly bumper newsletter which includes new work from our Writer in Residence, further new writing, podcasts and more. 

You can sign up to our mailing list to make sure you never miss an issue.

Claire & Marjorie
Open Book Unbound

Newsletters

Links to view our weekly Open Book Unbound newsletters are below, with a summary of what's included in each issue.

Open Book Unbound Issue 91

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 90

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 89

The first edition of Unbound in 2022. Our theme this month is Birds, and includes new fiction by Lorraine Thomson as well as the first story from our brand new Writer in Residence Jessica Widner.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 88

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 88

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 87

December’s bumper edition of Unbound. Our theme this month is Feast, and includes new fiction by Jeda Pearl Lewis as well as the final story from our fabulous Writer in Residence Heather Parry.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 86

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 85

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 84

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 83

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 82

November’s bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Maps, and includes new fiction by Dundee Lead Reader Rafael Torrubia and the latest story from our Writer in Residence Heather Parry.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 81

Mini-Unbound newsletter
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Open Book Unbound Issue 80

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Open Book Unbound Issue 79

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 78

October’s bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Water, and includes new fiction by Skye-based writer Katharine Macfarlane and the latest story from our Writer in Residence Heather Parry.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 77

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 76

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 75

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 74

September’s bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Inside/Outside, and includes new fiction by Catherine Wilson and the latest story from our Writer in Residence Heather Parry.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 73

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 72

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Open Book Unbound Issue 71

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 70

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 69

Our tweltfh bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Objects, and includes new fiction by Angi Holden and the latest story from our Writer in Residence Heather Parry.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 68

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 67

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 66

This year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival Bumper edition of Unbound. We’ve highlighted some of the events that we hope you’ll enjoy.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 65

Our eleventh bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Chance, and includes new fiction by Judy Upton and the second story from our new Writer in Residence Heather Parry
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Open Book Unbound Issue 64

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 63

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 62

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 61

Our tenth bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. Our theme this month is Crossroads, and includes new fiction by Lorraine Thomson (who is also Lead Reader for our Ullapool creative writing group) and the first story from our brand new Writer in Residence: Heather Parry
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 60

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 59

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Open Book Unbound Issue 58

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Open Book Unbound Issue 57

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Open Book Unbound Issue 56

Our ninth Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound.  In this issue, we’re delighted to bring you the final story from our brilliant writer in residence Alice Ash. We’ve also got a new story by Cath Barton this month, plus fiction by Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, Ray Bradbury and more. Read Now

Open Book Unbound Issue 55

Mini-Unbound newsletter
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Open Book Unbound Issue 54

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Open Book Unbound Issue 53

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Open Book Unbound Issue 52

Our eighth Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. This month we are teaming up with the Scottish Book Trust ahead of their new story campaign for this year’s Book Week Scotland. Read on for fantastic new work from our Writer in Residence Alice Ash, writer (and Open Book Lead Reader) Ruth Gilchrist, as well as work from Alice Walker, Isak Dineset and more!
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 51

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 50

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Open Book Unbound Issue 49

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Open Book Unbound Issue 48

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Open Book Unbound Issue 47

Our seventh Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. This month we are joining with the Edwin Morgan Trust as we wind up celebrations for the centenary of the great Scottish poet and writer Edwin Morgan. We’ve included some new creative pieces responding to Morgan’s work by our Writer in Residence Alice Ash and Linda Cracknell, as well as some further prose pieces by Morgan.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 46

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Open Book Unbound Issue 45

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Open Book Unbound Issue 44

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Open Book Unbound Issue 43

Our sixth Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound. This month our theme is Home – very topical we’re sure you’ll agree! Read on for plenty of stories and poems to enjoy in your groups, including the latest tale from our Writer in Residence Alice Ash and a brand new story by writer and editor Jane Archer.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 42

Mini-Unbound newsletter
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 41

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Open Book Unbound Issue 40

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Open Book Unbound Issue 39

Our fifth Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound – including the latest story from our digital Writer in Residence Alice Ash, and a story from our Unbound Writing programme by Dorothy Lawrenson. Plus the January 2021 Unbound podcast and lots more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 38

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 37

Our fourth Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound – the first to feature some brand new writing created especially for us, including from our new digital Writer in Residence Alice Ash, and a story from our New Writing programme by our own Lead Reader Liz Treacher. What’s more, the Unbound podcast is back and we’re chatting about Liz’s story and a poem by Mark Strand that Liz selected.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 36

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 35

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Open Book Unbound Issue 34

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 33

Our third Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound – the theme of this month’s edition is Future: Nature, to tie in with Book Week Scotland’s futuristic theme, but with an ecological twist. Read on for stories and poems about the power of the natural world to surprise, shock, delight, and even rebel against us.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 32

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 31

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Open Book Unbound Issue 30

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 29

Our second Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound – with a focus on the idea of ‘Wrapping Up’ as we head into the autumn. Read on for stories about dark nights and warm fires, cosy jumpers and the ever-surprising delights of autumn.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 28

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
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Open Book Unbound Issue 27

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 26

Our first Bumper issue of Open Book Unbound – highlighting a selection of fantastic events taking place as part of the Wigtown Book Festival.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 25

Mini-Unbound newsletter.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 24

‘I took my troubles for a walk (A grown-up fairy tale)’ by Pauline Moore, new creative writing sessions, Open Book Unbound podcast episode 23 and more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 23

‘Unbound’ by Ian Matheson, new creative writing sessions, Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 22 and more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 22

‘The Bench’ by Beth Godfrey, our picks from the second week of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 21 and more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 21

‘Orange Peel’ by Sophie Law, our picks from the first week of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 20 and more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 20

‘The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree’ by Shokoofeh Azar, our picks from the first week of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 19 and more.
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 19

‘The Happy House’ by Kathryn Koromilas, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Ghosts’, ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Monkey’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 18 and more..
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 18

‘Gathering Threads’ by Lisa Williams, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Caterpillar’, ‘Cherry Scones’ and ‘Tickets’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 17 and more..
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 17

‘Body in the Landscape’ by Elspeth Wilson, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Cat Party’, ‘Imaginary Friend’ and ‘Postcards’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 16 and more..
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 16

‘Confluence of Years’ by Linda Cracknell, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Underground Haircut’, ‘Not Cleaning’ and ‘Buns’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 15 and more..
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 15

‘Gazing’ by Russell Jones, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Frogspawn’, ‘Swings’ and ‘Chess’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 14 and more..
 

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Open Book Unbound Issue 14

‘Essential’ by Siân Bevan, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Cherry Scones’, ‘Dishes’ and ‘Cappuccino’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 13 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 13

‘All at Sea’ by Kate Smith, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Bookshop’, ‘Gladys’ and ‘The Sea’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 12 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 12

‘Imagine a Country’ extract by Peter Ross, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Ice Cream Man’, ‘Americano’ and ‘Agnes’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 11 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 11

‘Child of the Moon’ by Heather Parry, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Wardrobe Portal’, ‘Long Distance Hug’ and ‘Easyjet Worlds’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 10 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 10

‘Hebridean Lovesong’ and ‘The Fox in the Attic’ by James Robertson more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Zoo’, ‘Portable Sunset’ and ‘The Bad Thing’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 9 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 9

‘Gunther’ by Helen Sedgwick, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Groceries’, ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Before’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 8 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 8

‘Imagine a Country’ by Leila Aboulela, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Tesco’, ‘Hoovering’ and ‘Disguise’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 7 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 7

‘At Sea’ by Karen Lord, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Fox’, ‘Wardrobe’ and ‘Tsundoku’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 6 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 6

Scottish Book Trust Your Stories annual writing projet, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Seagull’, ‘Loch Ness Monster’ and ‘Neighbours’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 5 and more…

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Open Book Unbound Issue 5

Edwin Morgan Centenary, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Butterfly’, ‘Expedition’ and ‘Clock’), Open Book Unbound Podcast Episode 4 and more..

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Open Book Unbound Issue 4

‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Yiyun Li, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Statues’, ‘Chicken’, ‘Surprise’), National Theatre At Home, Unbound Podcast Episode 3 and more…

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Open Book Unbound Issue 3

‘Self Control’ by James Robertson, with composition by Aidan O’Rourke, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Mountain Goats’, ‘Compost’, ‘Binoculars’), At Home with the RSNO, Unbound Podcast Episode 2 and more…

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Open Book Unbound Issue 2

‘An Anti-Social Ride’ by Lee Craigie, more postcard stories from Jan Carson (‘Mugs’, ‘Birds’ and ‘Cocoon’), ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost,‘Landscape with Flying Man’ by John Glenday,  Unbound Podcast Episode 1 and more….

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Open Book Unbound Issue 1

‘Weather’ by Jenny Offill, ‘Stars’ Illustrated Postcard Story by Jan Carson, Miranda Sawyers’ True Life Stories podcasts, Explore the Science Museum, Maggie O’Farrell Virtual Book Launch party/

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Podcasts

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

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’

 

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.

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’.

October 2021

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

September 2021

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

 

September 2021

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

 

August 2021

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

 

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.

June 2021

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

May 2021

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

April 2021

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Listen on Soundcloud

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’.. Listen on Soundcloud

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. Listen on Soundcloud

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.

Listen on Soundcloud

Writers in Residence

As part of our Unbound programme, developed during the Covid pandemic, Open Book began a writer’s residency to help fill our newsletter with ideas, stories and thoughts to explore and enjoy - together in our on-line Zoom groups and on our own.

JESSICA WIDNER

About Jessica

Heather Parry

About Heather

Alice Ash

About Alice

Jan Carson - Writer in Lockdown

About Jan Carson

Unbound Writing

We’re delighted to share a second wonderful series of Unbound writing, supported by the Bank of Scotland Foundation. Each of the bumper newsletters between December 2020 and May 2021 will feature a story from this series as well as a podcast where Claire and Marjorie share their thoughts on it.

An earlier series of eleven pieces of commissioned writing was published in summer 2020. Each of these pieces of Unbound writing was the focus of our newsletter and also discussed in our podcast in the week in which each was published. Both are available in our archive on this page.

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