The Golden Hours, a collaborative project between the Edinburgh Literary Salon and Edinburgh Napier Publishing students, brings together over thirty authors in a well-crafted bouquet of stories and poems. Tied together through the theme of ‘gathering’, the work shifts focus from people to objects, strangers to family, past to present, all against a backdrop of Scotland’s rich and complex past. Heritage comes to the fore as a powerful and supernatural tool, bolstered by the communities that celebrate its existence.
Charlie Roy comments on the power of language by envisioning a resurgence of Gaelic in Scotland, causing long-forgotten mythical creatures to reinstate their presence. Boundaries are constantly drawn and taken away, such as those between insiders and outsiders in Mark Lewis’s eerie portrayal of a town taken over by mimic plague doctors, and Anna Cheung’s sublime navigation between watching and being watched.
Combining solitude with solidarity, Kirsten MacQuarrie’s ‘Agnes’ acts as a piece of historical fiction that gives voice to the collective consciousness of all women tortured or killed for witchcraft. Many pieces emphasise coming together despite division, especially during times of conflict, such as in Allan Gaw’s ‘The Bus Stop at Armageddon’, which has become a fitting narrative in today’s climate.
Finally, it is crucial to note that the Literary Salon enact their own sorts of gatherings, with readings from the featured authors occurring every month.