Explain: Kirstin Innes dives into what ‘Scabby Queen’ means to her
Author Kirstin Innes is joining the Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and their other talented, for their seventieth Winter Words festival.
Kirstin is sharing her most recent, and well acclaimed book, ‘Scabby Queen’, with the festival theatre’s audience, she might be giving a performance too.
She said: “So Scabby Queen is the story of the last five decades of Britain, and Europe a little bit more, as one woman lived it.
“So, my main character is Clio Campbell, and she was a one-hit-wonder with an anti-poll tax song in nineteen ninety, she kind of goes on to be a very, very, minor celebrity and political activist for the rest of her life.
“And the stories told from about twenty-five different people, you never hear from Clio directly, it’s just kind of like piecing the story of her life together from ex-lovers and her godfather and a woman she lived with in a squat, for a while, in the nineties.
“But the political thing, I started small, I’m always just interested in the little interactions between people and from there it grew into a politically slanted novel without me realising it.”
The story explores a continuum spanning the Genoa G8 protests, the poll tax riots and Top of the Pops, naming it a New Statesman Book of the Year.
Nicola Sturgeons own verdict of the books says: ‘[Innes] is brilliant. A mix of Scottish politics (poll tax to indyref), music industry, feminism & challenges women face. Exquisite writing and an authentic central character you really care about. Gripping and moving. A literary triumph.”
Part of the inspiration for Scabby Queen came from the series of celebrity deaths in 2016, most notably for Kirstin was Carrie Fisher.
It’s no spoiler that the story starts with the death of the main character and the story takes a tour of all these themes from each perspective of Chiloe’s life.
Kirstin explained: “I was very influenced by Carrie Fisher; the new Star Wars film had come out and people were criticising her for not being a nineteen-year-old in a metal bikini anymore.
“So was on Twitter, and she was being very, very, critical of Donald Trump and she was having arguments late into the night with people who voted for him.
“And she was being mocked in the media for having this voice, for being an older woman with this voice.
“And then she died right at the end of that year and it was almost as though she had been sainted, you could never find a person who could say a bad thing about her.
“That really struck me, I thought ‘wow, we really like our female celebrities, we kind of prefer them dead, or at least put in a box’.
“Which is a little bit grim, but that became the foundation of the book.”
With a possible performance on offer, Kirstin is joining Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s artistic director Elizabeth Newman to talk about everything to do with the book.
People interested in joining in on the interactive online session can go to: https://booking.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/events/2801AQDNLVMHMKCPBDVJNRVPGGRHGRKHB