On realising she’s losing her Scottishness after 20 years away from home, an ex-pat Scot persuades perplexed Americans to help her become 100% Scottish again. She tries Scottish country dancing in Hawaii and bagpipe lessons in Louisiana, learns Scottish Gaelic on a ranch full of cats in Texas and plays golf for the first time, on a rattlesnake-infested desert course in Arizona—learning what it means to be Scottish, what it means to be Scottish-American and what it means to be at home so far from home.
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Want to buy the book and in the UK? Here’s a sneaky wee code to get you free postage when you buy it from my publisher P+H Books (works till October 31) – put in code FREEDOM at checkout and it will be posted to you the same day from Glasgow! Go to www.poniesandhorsespublishing.com/shop You can also pop in to The Hidden Lane Gallery in Finnieston and get a copy if you’re in Glasgow.
There’s a book trailer on YouTube, which features me rambling on about the book. It mentions motorized poultry and flower-decked llamas.
“Hilarious… Enjoy a great travelogue and human interest tale of small towns and big people enjoying their own tartan heavens all over America.” The Daily Record
“Very funny and entertaining… Too many books about Scotland as po-faced and serious as my own are craving attention. [The Scottish Ambassador] will amuse readers of every political stripe and will be popular with both Scots patriots and their critics.” – Alasdair Gray, author of Lanark
“Welcome to the USA – the United Scots of America – as chronicled by [Aefa Mulholland], a Glasgow-born author who has spent four years documenting the good, the bad and the crazy subcultures of our expats across the pond.” The Sunday Mail
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THE SCOTTISH AMBASSADOR
When she moved from Scotland to America aged 19, Aefa Mulholland had never gone to a Highland Games, spoken Scottish Gaelic or played golf. Or worn a kilt or feather bonnet. Or thought about swapping the grumpy old tabby for a Scottie dog, gone Nessie-spotting or played the bagpipes. Or done so many of the things so often expected of Scots overseas. She did plenty of entertaining things growing up in Glasgow, but those antics and outfits tended not to feature tartan or make it onto postcards. Aefa’s Scotland was grittier. It was down-to-earth. It threw pizzas into deep-fat fryers. And she never felt it lacking… until now, 20 years later, when she realises her Scottishness is fading.
She sets out to shore up her Scottishness and face her fear of bagpipes and dread of organized social dancing, travelling from Florida to Washington State and New York City to Honolulu, meeting the kind, compelling and kooky characters that inhabit Scottish-America.
She struggles through a Scottish Gaelic immersion weekend on a ranch full of cats in Texas, plays golf on a rattlesnake-infested sand course in a trailer park in Arizona and is perplexed by the proliferation of cloaks and dragon puppets at her first Highland Games in Oregon. She visits Chicago’s Scottish Retirement Home to learn the secrets of “The Scottish Way,” has tea with Hawaii’s freshly elected Scot of the Year and is as confused as the passing New Yorkers by the annual Tartan Day Parade. She catches caber tosses, Scotch tastings and sheepdog demonstrations from the Pacific to the Mississippi, tries to claim Elvis for the Scots and finds herself deep in backwoods Georgia with a hundred Scottie dogs.
In every corner of the country she is met with warmth and kindness—and by perplexed Americans, confused as to why a Scottish-born Scot can’t recognize her clan colours or muster even a “Good Morning” in Gaelic.
From the early days of the quest till its final steps, Aefa explores what it means to be Scottish, what it means to be Scottish-American and what it means to be at home so far away from home.
Aefa Mulholland is an award-winning travel and food writer. Born in Glasgow, she now divides her time between Toronto and Glasgow. Aefa has worked with national broadcasters in the UK, Ireland and Canada, and with a plethora of publications from The Miami Herald to The Irish Times. She has been published or broadcast on four continents, writing or presenting on subjects from mule racing in Montana to the hazards of bingo in Glasgow to partying with The Pixies in Dublin. Her work has won a Northern Lights Award for Excellence in Travel Writing and an Irish Film Board award. Other things that Aefa has won include a national poetry competition (aged 6) for a heartfelt poem about a dead deer, £3 betting on a mouse race in North Tipperary and $12 in the New York State Lottery.
She writes offbeat hotel reviews and destination guides for Angry Sea Turtles and is working on a documentary on career options for seahorses. Chicken & Hen, Aefa’s story of her family’s adoption of a tiny, talkative three-year-old from the other side of town, is part of P+H Books’ first memoir series/anthology. She is the author of full length travel memoir The Scottish Ambassador, Learning How To Be Scottish in America, out in August 2015. Her next short book, The Cat Palace, is out on P+H Books on December 1st, 2015.
She also edits and writes magazine articles, copywrites websites, editorial and advertorial, illustrates things for people, draws angry varmints and works on short film projects about seahorses and Shetland ponies from hell.
For more information: www.aefamulholland.com