Creative Conversations: The MacDiarmid Memorandum

the macdiarmid memorandum

Wednesday 20 September, 2023, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Alan Riach

Alan Riach’s The MacDiarmid Memorandum is a work of epic, category-defying scope; a work that blends biography and national history, poetry and prose; an intimate portrait of an old friend and mentor, and a political manifesto calling for revolution. Beginning with his childhood in Langholm, Riach shows us MacDiarmid’s first attempts to orient the Scottish landscape, a world in which so-called natural features are interwoven with and inseparable from the political. It is in orientating his surroundings that MacDiarmid takes his first steps on a journey towards a peculiarly Scottish kind of consciousness; a consciousness that both wills itself to be free, and bows under the weight of its own self-suppression. This is a work that charts a war on various fronts: in MacDiarmid’s personal life, he experienced periods of unemployment, destitution, alcoholism, divorce, trauma; and at the same time, the country entered two major world wars, in turn triggering a renaissance of Scottish artists and intellectuals, struggling (on their own front) for recognition and self-determination.Riach’s idea for The MacDiarmid Memorandum originated in an exhibition, Landmarks: Poets, Portraits and Landscapes of Modern Scotland, which showcased major 20th century Scottish poets alongside paintings by critically acclaimed artists, Alexander Moffat and Ruth Nichol, with a particular focus on Scottish landscapes and portraits of the relevant poets. Included in this book, alongside Riach’s poems, are reproductions of some of the original paintings that appeared in the exhibition, offering a vivid, feeling complement to Riach’s text.

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Funded by the Ferguson Bequest. Professor Thomas Ferguson (1900-1977), Henry Mechan Chair of Public Health (1944-64), bequeathed his estate to the University, with the instruction that the money should be used to foster the social side of University life.

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This section: Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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