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Robertson, James 1958-

Robertson, James 1958-


Born 1958.


Home—Angus, Scotland.


Writer, poet, and editor. Itchy Coo (publishing house), Edinburgh, Scotland, cofounder and general editor; established the imprint Kettillonia, 1999.


Saltire Book of the Year and Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year awards, 2003-04, for Joseph Knight.


Close and Other Stories, B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1991.

The Ragged Man's Complaint (short stories), B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1993.

(Editor) Hugh Miller, My Schools and Schoolmasters, or, The Story of My Education, B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1993.

(Editor) A Tongue in Yer Heid (anthology), B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1994.

(Editor) Hugh Miller, Scenes and Legends of the North of Scotland, or, The Traditional History of Cromarty, B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1994.

(Editor) Mistaken Identities, Biggar Museum Trust (Bigger, Scotland), 1995.

Sound Shadow (poetry), B & W Publishing (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1995.

Scottish Ghost Stories, Warner (London, England), 1996.

(With Angela Cran) Dictionary of Scottish Quotations, Mainstream (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.

I Dream of Alfred Hitchcock (poetry), Kettillonia, (Kingskettle, Scotland), 1999.

The Swatch: A Scots Sampler, Kettillonia (Kingskettle, Scotland), 2000.

(Editor) Robert Ferguson, Selected Poems of Robert Ferguson, Birlinn (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2000.

Stirling Sonnets (poetry), Kettillonia (Kingskettle, Scotland), 2001.

(Translator) Charles Baudelaire, Fae the Flouers o Evil: Baudelaire in Scots, Kettillonia (Kingskettle, Scotland), 2001.

The Fanatic (novel), Fourth Estate (London, England), 2001.

A Scots Parliament, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2002.

(With Ann Matheson) Eck the Bee: A Scots Activity Book, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2002.

(With Matthew Fitt) The Hoose o Haivers, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh Scotland), 2002.

(With Matthew Fitt) The Smoky Smirr o Rain: A Scots Anthology, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh Scotland), 2003.

(With Matthew Fitt) A Moose in the Hoose: A Scots Counting Book, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh Scotland), 2003.

(With Matthew Fitt) A Wee Book o Fairy Tales in Scots, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh Scotland), 2003.

(With Matthew Fitt) King o the Midden, Itchy Coo (Edinburgh Scotland), 2003.

Joseph Knight (novel), Fourth Estate (London, England), 2003.

Voyage of Intent: Sonnets and Essays from the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Book Trust/Luath Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2005.

The Testament of Gideon Mack (novel), Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 2006, Viking (New York, NY), 2007.


James Robertson is a Scottish writer and poet whose novel, The Testament of Gideon Mack has received widespread praise from critics both in Great Britain and the United States. For example, Irvine Welsh, writing in the London Guardian, called the novel an "overwhelmingly compassionate and thought-provoking book," while San Francisco Chronicle contributor Jesse Berrett wrote that the author "raises disquieting questions most modern fiction prefers to ignore." In his book, Robertson tells the story of a minister who secretly hides the fact that he is becoming an atheist, and who has eyes for his best friend's wife. When he falls into a ravine with a raging river and disappears, Gideon eventually returns, much to the town's astonishment. However, when he tells of being cared for by the devil in a cave during the time he was missing, he is shunned and goes off to once again disappear. When his body is later discovered, there is a manuscript that forms the basis of the story Robertson tells. Elizabeth Dickie, writing in Booklist, noted that the novel "will capture and hold the reader's attention long past the last page." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "a rich, rewarding character study in which spiritual speculation is grounded in an earthy and entertaining realism."

In an earlier novel, Joseph Knight, the author provides a fictionalized account of the historical figure who was the first black man to win his freedom in a Scottish civil case. Writing in the Guardian, Ali Smith marked the author "as a marvellous novelist and Joseph Knight as a work of cunning and great assurance, one which directly tackles its historic Scottish guilt and also, by implication, a wider, more contemporary guilt: the loss of freedom that imperialism means for both its victims and its winners."



Booklist, February 1, 2007, Elizabeth Dickie, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. 33.

Entertainment Weekly, March 30, 2007, Jennifer Reese, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. 78.

Guardian (London, England), June 7, 2003, Ali Smith, review of Joseph Knight; June 24, 2006, Irvine Welsh, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. 1241.

Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Henry L. Carrigan, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. 77.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 2007, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. 156.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, 2007, Jesse Berrett, "Gaining, Losing Faith with Devil's Help," review of the The Testament of Gideon Mack.

Washington Post Book World, April 8, 2007, Ron Charles, "The Unbeliever," review of the The Testament of Gideon Mack, p. BW07.

ONLINE, (August 28, 2007), "Interview with James Robertson: The Testament of Gideon Mack.

PopMatters, (August 28, 2007), Robert R. Calder, review of The Testament of Gideon Mack.

Scottish Poetry Library Web site, (August 28, 2007), biography of author.

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