Alumni Services

July 2015

Fact and fiction, past and present - all bases are covered by this month's bookshelf. From a new lighthearted look at Scotland, to a fictional ill-judged excursion into modern-day Benin.


Author Kim Chamberlain, nee Andanar
Degree MA Hons Linguistics 1981

Conversation Starters for Every Grandparent: Tips for Talking to (and with) Your Grandchildren, Your Children, and Other Grandparents

For the growing population of intergenerational family members, help is here in this very practical handbook for seniors who babysit, visit or holiday with, or otherwise spend time with youngsters. An easy-to-use book that helps facilitate conversations on a vast array of topics.

Includes 1,000 conversation starters for grandchildren to ask their grandparents; for grandparents to ask their grandchildren; for grandparents to ask their adult children; for grandparent couples to ask each other; and for general conversations with others on different aspects of life that grandparents face.

Also includes information on general communication techniques, plus techniques for conversing with children, along with keepsake memories pages.

Among the themes included are creating safe and friendly environments in which to initiate a chat, selecting age-appropriate conversation openers, avoiding sensitive issues, and developing listening as well as speaking skills. Subjects for conversations include family history, uncritical advice, hopes and dreams for the future, school, hobbies, friends, being rude, silly questions, and much more! Although aimed at grandparents, this latest volume in the Conversation Starters series is a helpful guide for parents and children as well.

Conversation Starters for Every Grandparent: Tips for Talking to (and with) Your Grandchildren, Your Children, and Other Grandparents



Kim Devereux

Degree MA History of Art and English Literature

Rembrandt’s Mirror

Hendrickje, a girl from a strict Calvinist family leaves her provincial home to find work as a housemaid. She enters Rembrandt’s flourishing workshop five years after the death of the great artist’s wife, an event that continues to haunt him. It is a house full of secrets and desires, and Hendrickje soon witnesses a sexual encounter between Rembrandt and Geertje, his implacable housekeeper. She is shocked to the core by their intense carnality and yet, slowly, she is drawn to Rembrandt by the freshness with which he perceives the world and the special freedom he seems to possess.

But Rembrandt is a man of dark corners, strange passions and a ruthlessness born from his need to put his art first. A life with Rembrandt represents danger as well as the possibility of true love.

Seen through the eyes of Hendrickje, Rembrandt’s Mirror explores the three women of Rembrandt’s life, and how to discover beauty in every wrinkle of humanity.

Rembrandt’s Mirror

Read Kim Devereux's alumni profile



Adrian Searle and Judith Hastie


MA History and History of Art (AS), BA Painting (JH)


So You Think You Know Scotland?

A lighthearted and genuinely fascinating, fully illustrated guide to remarkable facts about Scotland, the ‘best small country in the world’.

Did you know Morris dancing was just as popular in Scotland as it was in England from the 15th to the 17th century until it was banned by the Church of Scotland? Did you know 11 percent of all Nobel prizes have been awarded to Scotsmen? Did you know Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world?

Sometimes those places that seem most familiar to us are actually more alien that we think. Take a journey with us through the weird, wonderful and downright bizarre facts of Scottish life, culture and heritage. With stunning full colour illustrations by award-winning artist Judith Hastie, we guarantee that you will be surprised and maybe even a little shocked by what you learn about those neighbours you thought you knew.

So You Think You Know Scotland? (Published October 2015)


Author Innes. M. Keighren, Charles W. J. Withers and Bill Bell
Degree BSc Geography, MSc, PhD Historical Geography (IK), Ogilvie Professor of Geography (CW) and PhD (BB)

Travels into Print: Exploration, Writing, and Publishing with John Murray, 1773-1859

Drawing on detailed examination of the John Murray Archive of manuscripts, images, and the firm’s correspondence with its many authors—a list that included such illustrious explorers and scientists as Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell, and literary giants like Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott—Travels into Print considers how journeys of exploration became published accounts and how travelers sought to demonstrate the faithfulness of their written testimony and to secure their personal credibility.

This fascinating study in historical geography and book history takes modern readers on a journey into the nature of exploration, the production of authority in published travel narratives, and the creation of geographical authorship—a journey bound together by the unifying force of a world-leading publisher.

Travels into Print: Exploration, Writing, and Publishing with John Murray, 1773-1859


Author Hande Zapsu Watt
Degree MSc, PhD Creative Writing

The Importance of Manners

A slapstick, satirical novel taking a motley crew of hapless Westerners on a journey into their very own Heart of Darkness.

Burt Darwin is a collector of world religions. Lady Chanel Mallory, a former hand model, has married into the aristocracy and loves romance novels. Her husband Lord Percy, a pompous cynic, mistakenly thinks she’s French. Sister Mary dresses like Mother Teresa and believes flossing is blasphemous.

Four passengers on a cruise ship, thrown together by chance, take an ill-judged excursion into modern-day Benin. Amongst angry Kings, sarcastic pythons, fortune-tellers and Vodun gods, the hypocrisies and venality of the misfits are revealed with hilarious and unforgettable results.

Oh, and one of them saves the world.

The Importance of Manners

Please note

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