By Natasha Cunningham

It’s no doubt that those who attended Ringwood’s webinar on 13/10/21 for Allan Nicol’s new book Liberation will still be mulling over the fascinating and challenging conversations which Nicol’s book raised. The event was chaired by Ringwood’s wonderful Eva McLean who compellingly led us through an exciting line-up of speakers. Donald Findlay initiated this line up, expanding on his reasons for writing the forward to Liberation and the novel’s personal significance to his journey relating to being an advocate. As an advocate, he is a fount of knowledge concerning Scotland’s legal system and is well acquainted with criminal cases. Although having a keen interest in criminal law, what attracted Findlay most to Liberation is what he described as Nicol’s ‘unique’ ability to tell a good story. Those at the webinar smiled at this reasoning – it could not be argued with. Nicol’s tale is one based on the local, set in Glasgow, which allows us to deliberate on worldly matters, demonstrated by two engaging readings from Liberation by Roberta and Nicol himself. Then followed a Q&A chaired by Natasha Cunningham. In this Q&A Nicol gave rich insights into his views on the writing process of dealing with fact and fiction, Capital Punishment, and the fascination behind murder cases involving a male killer and female victim. Isobel Freeman brought the event to a lively conclusion, leading a panel featuring ex- police officers Simon Mclean and Tom Wood who deliberated on the topical debates and questions which when discussing Liberation become ineluctable. They discussed the Sarah Everard case and possible structural and ideological changes that could be made to policing. Although Glasgow may have changed a lot since the 1950s in which Nicol’s novel is told, there are still many things which must be changed. Finally, this event could not have gone so swimmingly or been nearly as enjoyable without the work of Eilidh Harrower who acted as our tech wizard of the evening, bringing us all together into the world of zoom and miraculously thwarting any glitches.  

Thank you all who came to this event, and thank you to all our speakers and the Ringwood team for making it so thought-provoking. And of course, a great thank you goes out to Nicol for writing the novel. Nicol is dedicated to bringing quality written works which give us great insight to Scotland’s gruesome and murderous past. Make sure to check out his novels Manual : Scotland’s First Serial Killer and The Monster Butler: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer. You can catch Nicol and the Ringwood team in the upcoming event for Glasgow Noir: Fiction and Fact for Scottish Book Week on the 19th of November. For tickets, click here.