Tag Archives: James Boswell

Out of Books

Johnson and Boswell approach Raasay
Johnson and Boswell approach Raasay

Inspired by Boswell & Johnson’s ‘Tour to the Hebrides’, Out of Books is an illustrated guide to my & Alec Finlay’s modern-day interpretation. Reading the text in landscapes our predecessors described, we’ll invite people to join them at readings & guided walks. To date we’ve been to Edinburgh and Auchinleck, where Boswell & Johnson began and ended their journeys: over the summer we’ll visit Nairn, Inverness, Drumnadrochit (Loch Ness), the Isles of Skye and Coll, and Inveraray.

Books fare us onwards… (text & photo: AF)
Books fare us onwards… (text & photo: AF)

We’re especially interested in the books they read, quote from and refer to as they travel, from the Greek and Latin classics to the now obscure works of 18th century divines.

The Out of Books blog is here. You can select a location on the map to read our online journal – as places are visited, new links will be added. Once we’ve completed the journal, we’ll develop the blog by writing ten thematic posts, to be published late 2013.

Boswell at Auchinleck Churchyard
Boswell at Auchinleck Churchyard

Spring Shoots – Readings in April & May

After a long hibernation, the days are getting longer and several events in the diary are getting closer.

B&J approach Rasaay

First up is a launch event for Out of Books, with Alec Finlay, on Thursday 11 April at 6.30pm, at the Scottish Poetry Library, and a second event as part of the Boswell Book Festival at Auchinleck, Ayrshire, on Sunday 19 May. Out of Books is collaborative project inspired by Boswell and Johnson’s 1773 journey across the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Taking their texts as their guides, we’ll set out to revisit particular landscapes and recover particular views. Over the summer and along the route we will host a series of events inspired by their antecedents’ famous journey, with further events in and around Inverness, on the Isles of Skye, Coll and Mull, and in Inveraray.


Barrie ‘Caseroom’ Tullett is visiting Edinburgh for the Fruitmarket Gallery Book Fair on Saturday 20 April. I’ll do a stint on the table as well, and read something from Snapdragon about 12.30.

Arne Rautenberg

Arne Rautenberg is visiting Scotland later in the month, and we’re doing two readings together – at the Goethe Institut in Glasgow on Tuesday 23 April at 6.30pm, and at the Edinburgh Bookshop the following day at 7.30pm (this is the Facebook page about it).

cherry blossom 2

In May, I’m leading two poetry walks in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12, both at 2.00pm. Content still to be decided, but certainly some Chinese classics, haiku, maybe Burns in rural-floral mode, something from The Road North

Apollo shadows

And finally, a reading with Pierre Joris and Lila Matsumoto at Little Sparta on Sunday 26 May at 5.00pm, linked to the University of Glasgow’s Assembling Identities conference. Tickets are available here.

Perhaps the snow will have melted from the Pentlands by then.

Snowy Pentlands, April