Category Archives: Texts

Rolling…

Busy weeks and getting busier. 

Elsewhere to Be, a collection of creative writing – fiction and non-fiction – I’ve been editing for the WORD Centre at University of Aberdeen has (finally) gone to the printers.  The writing was inspired by the lives and experiences of landless families displaced by the effects of agricultural expansion in the early to mid-nineteenth century.  Together they reflect on experiences of displacement, loss and recovery, of living on the margins and striving for better things, using the personal experience and imagination of present-day writers to explore the lives of those who made Bennachie their home during this period.  Written in English, Polish and Scots and skillfully translated by Beata Tschirch, the project was a great experience.  More information on a launch and where to get your copy as soon as things firm up!

Privileged to have my three-poem sequence, Lament for the Children, published in NorthWords Now Issue 41 in such good company.  The poems were written as part of the Pibroch project and inspired by Padraig Mor MacCrimmon’s pìobaireachd – Cumha na Cloinne.  The pibroch, Lament for the Children, was, indeed, central to the development of the show and collection – both of which are structured around the four ‘movements’ of that piece – urlar, dithis, suibhal and taorluth.

Poetry @ Books and Beans: Thursday 27th May

In the meantime, I’m actively looking for venues for Pibroch starting from July this year – and hoping we’re not driven back into lock-down.  An abridged version will feature as part of The Gathering in Stonehaven 23rd-25th July and I’ll be sharing some of the poems online later this month at Poetry @ Books and Beans: Thursday 27th May at 6.30 pm UTC+01.  Free and online.  Check out the Poetry @ Books and Beans facebook page for more information and links.  Will be joined by Sheila Templeton reading from her new collection – Clyack – and the usual enthusiastic line-up for the Open Mic.

And in the meantime2 , there’s still time to register for the online launch of Pushing Out the Boat 16 on Sunday 16th. Writing from around the world though with a North East flavour and a fine line-up of readers.

Granite Noir 2020 – Locals in the Limelight

Space to read an excerpt of my novel-in-progress – Enchantment – as part of 2020 Granite Noir . The Locals in the Limelight strand in Granite Noir’s programming, steered by Lee Randall , provides an opportunity for emerging writers to share a stage (if only briefly) with writers like Anne Holt, Denise Mina, Sarah Paretsky & Ian Rankin. Book and poetry festivals everywhere should pick up on the tip…offering an encouraging platform for new writers and great experience. Thanks to all involved in developing and delivering the programme and to Alex Clark for hosting.

Photo Credit – Granite Noir 2020

5-4-3-2-1…

Launch day.

A beautiful morning here in St. Andrews. Cloudless sky and the wind that was promised seems to have taken itself elsewhere (for now at least).

Perfect conditions then.

Launch day. What am I…an astronaut?

And I notice the coincidence. My first publication…on the wall of Mrs. Thompson’s class in St. Paul’s Primary – a story about pyramids. I was 11. It was 1969. They hadn’t quite landed on the moon yet.

Launch day. I never wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to be a writer – a poet, a novelists, a fabulator : (yes…a clype).

Archaeologist, explorer, big-game hunter even…before the blush came off that peach. Astronaut…not so much. Who takes a golf club to another planet? A man…I suppose. (Yes…I know…satellite! Words and meanings matter.)

Yuri Gagarin had a better label. And all those earnest statues, plaques, memorials in Russia still there when I visited…up there with Vladmir Ilych…up there and beyond. Even Pixar knew Buzz was a made-up name.

Launch day. I have waited 50 years for this. There are other books…still born or waiting – books in limbo : but that’s a whole other (meta)physics. But this one…now…on the table in J & G Innes window on South St., St. Andrews.

Yes…you can always write. You can! I’ve been a writer since I was at least 11 years old & Maurice Lindsay (bless him) published me and paid (handsomely) when was just 18. I have always written, scrievit, flyted, fabulated, clyped.

But no matter how much math and simulator hours and pretending to be weightless while your jumbo jet plummets thousands of feet and rehearsals and sleepless nights and number one haircuts…are you really an astronaut till blast off?

Launch day. My thanks to everyone in Mission Control and all the vast hinterland of Fallen Stock – a circumfusa half a century deep. Now…

5-4-3-2-1…we have ignition…