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Online experience for Huntly author to promote "Radical Rising" book

By Pat Scott

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LOCAL author, Maggie Craig joined a virtual festival to promote her latest book.

"One week in April: Scotland's Radical Rising Resurrected" marks the bicentenary of strikes, protests, and armed uprisings in the struggle for representation during the first week of the month in 1820.

At the end of last month, from her home near Huntly, Ms Craig joined in a conversation with Susan Morrison, BBC Radio Scotland, Director of Previously...Scotland's History Festival.

The interview, which was part of the Birlinn Virtual Book Festival held in association with Paisley Book Festival,

can be viewed at https://youtube/BgjZO_g7NJM

Ms Craig's book details events when Central Scotland and Ayrshire erupted into political protest.

Over the course of one week in April 1820, thousands of weavers, spinners, colliers, artisans and labourers went on strike to demand political representation and better pay and working conditions. .

Hundreds armed themselves with makeshift weapons and mustered and drilled in their home villages.

People marched out from their homes under arms, an act of treason, in the hope of bringing about political change. Some of them died or were wounded in violent clashes with troops from the regular army and local militias.

Three men were beheaded, nineteen were transported to Australia, but their cause was ultimately successful.

Ms Craig said: "The Scottish Radical War of 1820 was a sensational event, reported across the British Isles, but is generally little known in Scotland today. I have wanted to tell the story for over 30 years, after research in Paisley and a family connection to weaver-poet Robert Tannahill sparked my curiosity.

"When I realized a couple of years ago that the bicentenary of the Radical Rising was coming up, I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

"I’ve spent almost two years researching the facts, visiting the relevant sites and writing the book. It’s been an emotional experience.

"I’m full of admiration for the bravery shown by so many of the radicals and hope my book will help make their stories more widely known.

"Scots and democrats of all nations can be very proud of these men and women, who risked their lives and livelihoods to pave the way that eventually led to universal suffrage and democracy for all."

Ms Craig amassed evidence from archives, diaries, court records, autobiographies and newspapers which she has woven into a vivid narrative of how the rising ignited in different communities around Glasgow, Paisley and in Ayrshire.

Ms Craig has four previous historical books: Damn’ Rebel Bitches: The Women of the ’45;Bare-arsed Banditti: The Men of the ’45 and When the Clyde Ran Red: A Social History of Red Clydeside.

She has also written six family-saga novels set in her native Glasgow and Clydebank, and three historical novels set in Edinburgh.

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