I knew this month was going to be busy, given that I was hosting Reading Independent Publishers month with Karen and that my literary travel itinerary was going to take me from Sweden to China. What I didn’t realise was that the online festival scene was going to explode. I lost count of the events I could have attended, but not before attending a host of events from 6 festivals in total.

The Bergen Literary Festival was outstanding with its contributions from 12 festivals from around the world in 12 hours. LITERATURE AROUND THE WORLD was a stunning concept, magnificently executed. The day started in the winter darkness of Norway and ended on a sun-drenched, if breezy, beach in Jamaica. Here’s the full itinerary.

Far too many highlights to mention but the Canadian spoken word poets were phenomenal. I was so proud of myself for only ordering up two books from the whole day. LLAW is still available to watch at the time of writing, but not for much longer. (Canadian Poets start at the 10 hour mark.)

I spent another weekend at Granite Noir (Aberdeen’s Crime Writing festival) enjoying something completely different, including my first ever Backlisted podcast !!! I took a look at the backcatalogue. Now there’s a rabbit hole, if ever I saw one. My wishlist grew exponentially.

This weekend – the final one of February 2021 – four festivals vying for my attention: Bradford Literary Festival, Paisley Book Festival, Georgia’s Cultural Tavern at the British Library and The Glasgow Film Festival. Priority is being given to the latter as films are only available for 48 hours. So I’m just dropping in and out of the others as my whims and time permits. Thank goodness for catchup.

At least there’s no need to be bored during lockdown, which is still total in South Lanarkshire with at least another two months before any hope of relaxation for non-working adults. At least some kids are back at school.

To return to the books and my #readindies travel itinerary with links to reviews. There’s not a bad one in the stack, and I will happily read all these authors again, so competition was fierce for Book of the Month. I finally decided to award it to the book that enlightened me most with an honourable mention for the one that I found most moving.

Books Read for #ReadIndies February 2021

The Last Snow – Stina Jackson (Sweden)

Hurdy Gurdy – Christopher Wilson (England)

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead – Barbara Comyns (England)

The Summer of her Life – Thomas Steinaecker and Barbara Yelin (Germany) *** Honourable mention ***

Irmina – Barbara Yelin (Germany)

My Grandmother’s Braid – Alina Bronsky (Germany)

The Unbeliever – Oggy Bottychev (Bulgaria)

The Pear Field – Nana Ekvtimishvili (Georgia)

Days in the Caucasus – Banine (Azerbaijan) *** Book of The Month ***

The Ten Thousand Things – John Spurling (China)

Two reviews outstanding as you can see. I’ll be making good use of the #readindies review extension announced earlier today!

Plans for March

March’s lockdown literary tour starts in Scotland. Then somehow I need to get to Australia for Kim’s Southern Cross Crime event via Ireland (Read Ireland Month), Holland (Dutch Book Week) and Mexico (#literarycities). As long as I don’t let myself get diverted by the new German literature releases (there are 4 that I know of next month – 3 of which featured in my Q1 2021 Great Anticipations), I should manage it.