Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

A discussion with Richard T Kelly: The Story of Scotland’s Oil

Event Date:

Reform Scotland was delighted to host a discussion about North Sea oil, the huge impact its discovery had on Scotland, and the current controversies surrounding the energy source.

As climate change intensifies and the world moves towards Net Zero, governments everywhere are adopting tougher policies and stricter regulation. The “Just Stop Oil” movement frequently sabotages high-profile public occasions.

This marks a stark change from the excitement that surrounded the discovery of North Sea oil in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In The Black Eden, a brilliant new novel published by Faber on July 6, the writer Richard T Kelly explores the origins of the industry and its impact on Scotland’s politics, wealth and communities.

The Black Eden is already being acclaimed as one of the best books of 2023, and is described by author William Boyd as “wonderfully evocative and atmospheric, written with great narrative assurance and remarkable, meticulous details – a tremendous achievement”. The Scotsman calls it “a timely novel… posing serious questions.”

Ahead of his appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival, Richard T Kelly discussed with Reform Scotland Director Chris Deerin what he learned about Scotland and its oil during his exhaustive research process, the real-life (if lightly disguised) characters that populate his book, and where it leaves the nation today.

This event was held online on Friday 7 July.