Our globetrotting search for good people putting out good books continues! Last week we journeyed to Australia for a visit to the kindhearted and energetic Pantera Press. Up this week: the land of mountains high-cover’d with snow, straths and green vallies, forests and wild-hanging woods, torrents and loud-pouring floods…that’s right! We’re going to visit the Land of Rabbie Burns…
And this time I’m not so fearful of blundering into stereotypes, since Luath Press has taken its name from the old Ploughman Poet himself. But what’s a Luath? As their website explains:
Luath Press takes its name from Robert Burns, whose little collie Luath (Gael., swift or nimble) tripped up Jean Armour at a wedding and gave him the chance to speak to the woman who was to be his wife and the abiding love of his life.
Abiding love of his life! What a great story!
Their connection to Burns runs deeper than taking the name of the wee little collie:
Luath Press was established in 1981 in the heart of Burns country, and is now based a few steps up the road from Burns’ first lodgings on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Luath offers you distinctive writing with a hint of unexpected pleasures.
We’ll check out that distinctive writing in a minute, but first, take a look at the view from their offices:
Stunning. It would be hard not to be inspired by a view like that.
Edinburgh’s literary history needs little detailing, but let me just say that I myself have spent several good nights in Edinburgh, soaking up the charged intellectual atmosphere, and many, many other nights enjoying the works of Scottish authors from Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott and John Buchan all the way through to Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling, and Kate Atkinson (with plenty of room in my heart (and mind) for David Hume and Adam Smith). And as for the Greatest Biographer of All Time…well, let’s just say I nearly named my first-born son Boswell.
So back to Luath Press, with their gorgeous view of their gorgeous city. They’re a classic gap-filler small press, bringing out books that readers are looking for but other presses have missed. Their catalog sports an eclectic mix of subjects, from walking guides to poetry to crime thrillers. A huge Scottish flavor. Like Rabbie Burns. And the Old Course. And the little daughter of the owner of the Western Isles guesthouse, who asked me as I was checking in, “Have you got a weeboy?” I smiled and shook my head, with no idea what a weeboy was. Some kind of video game? Her mother explained that the last guests who stayed there had had a small (wee) boy, who had been a good playmate. “No,” I had to tell the disappointed little one. “I haven’t got a wee boy.”
Given my own literary tastes, I’d start with the Crime and Literary Fiction sections of their catalog. But if I were headed to Scotland soon (and how I wish I were!) I’d be loading up on their Scottish history, their Scottish storytelling, and their extensive Scottish travel sections.
Then I’d cap it all off with a little of my old friend Balvenie (the Doublewood, naturally):
And of course, a special onward and upward (no, not bagpipes):
(Okay, they’re from Glasgow, but let’s not be splitting a bristl’d hair!)
You can check out my own adventures in small pressing…eh, we’ve done that one enough. Amazon author page is here. Or how about reading about the Friday Night Failures of a woeful Wisconsin football coach desperate to stay relevant? Or the latest excerpt from the insane asylum known as the Greater Washington D.C. area? Or the genius who bet his car on the Rose Bowl in one of our recent Terrible Poems? Or just check out Little Pickle or Bobbledy Books or Pantera Press and get your smile on.
Who am I missing? What other small presses deserve some attention? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous Small Press Shout-Outs: