John Herdman on the Scottish literary and political scene of the 1960s and 70s
The first issue of Scottish International went to press only a few weeks after the SNP’s breakthrough in the Hamilton by-election of 2 November 1967. But there was no easy correspondence between literary and political movements of the time, as the second wave of MacDiarmid’s Scottish Renaissance bristled against the ‘internationalism’ of 60s counterculture, and a young editor, Bob Tait, asked ‘What Kind of Scotland?’ the intelligentsia really wanted. John Herdman is the ideal guide to this terrain. Our conversation builds on his memoir Another Country: An Era in Scottish Politics and Letters, and traces these developments into the 1980s and beyond.
Interviewers: Rory Scothorne and Scott Hames. The introduction draws on Rory’s PhD research and on Eleanor Bell’s article ‘Rejecting the Knitted Claymore: the challenge to cultural nationalism in Scottish literary magazines of the 1960s and 1970s’, which you can access via the network’s informal bibliography. Edinburgh University library has an excellent resource on Scottish International, and Richard Crockatt has an evocative essay on Bob Tait and his world, published by Sceptical Scot.