Perthshire Loves Tippermuir Books

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It'll come as no surprise to learn that Perthshire based Tippermuir Books is the favourite publisher at Small City, Big Personality.  Recently, I reviewed a book they put out called Hunters: Wee Stories From The Crescent and absolutely loved it. 

I've just picked up another of their publications, a collection of poetry from the career of Perth poet Jim Mackintosh and it's similarly impressive.  As is the hilarious children's book 'The Tale o the Wee Mowdie that wantit tae ken wha keeched on his heid' which promises helps teach kids (and this adult!) to speak Scots.

However, it is not just Tippermuir Books literary output that we so admire, they are also responsible for writing the content for, hosting and maintaining the 'Made In Perth' website.  It is available completely free at and is an incredibly rich and detailed resource.  You could describe it as a Wikipedia for local knowledge with A-Z's of people and places (both famous and infamous) and a section of articles on everything from publication to the suffragettes and everything in-between.

We caught up with one of Tippermuir Books directors, Paul S. Philippou.  Paul is a teacher, academic, editor and also a writer (he co-wrote The Early Photographers of Perthshire).

Can you tell me a little bit about how Tippermuir Books came into existence? 

In 2009 I had a book I'd written about the Spanish Civil War published by a company in Barcelona.  When they folded just 6 months after the publication they kindly agreed to give me the print pdf's of my book and removed all of my contractual obligations.  Around this time, I had also co-written a book called Battleground Perthshire with Rob Hands and had begun looking for a publisher.  I thought why not set up our own company to publish the two books. That is what we did. Since 2009, Tippermuir Books has grown and with success has become a highly professional small press that publishes local and Scottish history, poetry, novels, plays, and a

If you could publish a manuscript by any author, who would it be and why? 

I have a particular penchant for political anthropology especially the work of Pierre Clastres, David Graeber, and Pierre Bourdieu. Publishing a new book by Graeber or a yet to be discovered manuscript by Clastres or Bourdieu that would be the dream.

Tippermuir Books is also behind the local charity ‘Made in Perth’ could you tell me a little about that? 

Tippermuir Books and ‘Made in Perth’ are separate but overlapping entities; the intersection in their Venn Diagram being provided by myself. When I first moved to Perth in 2000, I was keen to find out about the place and especially its history. The culminating research developed into a website and a charitable organisation to promote history, culture and heritage in Perthshire. As well as maintaining the website, ‘Made in Perth’ has organised historic walks, battlefield tours, plays, readings, lectures, and many other free events.

The website includes some of the key individuals that have hailed from or visited Perth in some significant manner over time.  Every now and then when digging about the archives, or in a footnote of a book, I have come across some wonderful little titbits of information. The Edgar Allan Poe tale being one of them: Poe, writer, editor, literary critic and leader of the American Romantic movement – author of the spectacularly successful poem ’The Raven’ of 1845 - which is still immensely readable and enjoyable today – is believed to have resided in Perth for a short period.  Poe, whose influence on television and film has been, and continues to be, enormous had adoptive parents who owned a property at 7 Barossa Place. 

Your roster of books includes a wide range of material, everything from local interest to children’s books with a Scottish slant.  How do you source the material you publish? 

The whole process has been rather organic. Tippermuir started with local and Scottish history and consequently received approaches from authors working in this area, Later on this year, we have three titles of local and Scottish interest coming out: 'The Piper of Tobruk: Pipe Major Robert Roy, MBE, DCM' by Alice Soper; 'Afore the Highlands:The Jacobite Occupation of Perth 1715' by Kathleen Lyle; and, 'Dr Irvine and the Irvine Memorial Hospital' (Pitlochry) by Rita Isles. But we have also gone in other directions, some by chance, some by design.

We have been acutely aware of the growing popularity of books in Scots written for children and young adults. The charge in this area has been led by Itchy Coo Books which have opened up a new and expanding space. At the end of 2017, we published 'The Tale o the Wee Mowdie that wantit tae ken wha keeched on his heid'a book that has and continues to resonate with a broad audience. Drawing on the strength of the Wee Mowdie, we have three more books in Scots planned, all of whose authors have approached Tippermuir on the back of Wee Mowdie’s success. 

How did you end up with ‘Taking Detective Stories Seriously: The Collected Crime Reviews of Dorothy L. Sayers’ on Tippermuir Books?

Since an early age, I have loved Dante’s 'Divina Comedia', especially Dorothy L. Sayers’s Penguin translation (completed by Barbara Reynolds after Sayers’s death). A few years ago, chatting with a colleague, I found out we shared a common interest in Sayers: mine through Dante and he through her detective writing. Sayers, of course, is one of the greatest crime writers of the twentieth century – the doyen of the ‘Golden Age of Detective Novels’. Turned out that Brian was Treasurer of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society.

He explained how the Society sought to keep Sayers’s writing in print. A discussion with the Society and David Higham Associates Ltd, which runs the Sayers Estate, ensued and led to the first publication, 'Love All', one of Sayers’s few plays and one that had been out of print for several years. After that we brought out 'Taking Detective Stories Seriously', a collection of Sayers’s crime reviews from The Times newspaper, launching it at the Essex Crime Festival.  The book has been a great success especially in the US where Sayers still sells well and is a regular feature of the many crime-writing festivals that pepper that country. Our next Sayers title, 'God, Hitler and Lord Peter Wimsey' will be published in July.

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