After a bit of a challenging year (no need for details)I'm glad to report back in with projects in the planning

and ideas in motion.


We are gathering material for 'Southlight 35' - especially looking for illustrations - mainly b&w but colour for the centre-spread and cover. But take a look at the website for submission details


I'm in discussions about a couple of writing workshop/projects for later in the year - Details to follow. 




Along with Tom Murray and Carolyn Yates, have recently re-formed a Playwrights Group in collaboration with the Theatre Royal in Dumfries which will meet monthly to critique work in progress, aimed at readings or performances. Contact Tom by

e-mail if you're interested :


Southlight 31 gathering material now for launch in April 2022





Southlight 30 will be launched at The Wigtown Book Festival on Wednesday 29th September at 7.00 pm in The Print Room - come and join us and pick up your copy, fresh from the printer. Or you can order online at the Wigtown Book Festival website




Southlight 29 now available from 

Wigtown Book Festival website -


Southlight 28 now online here



Good News !!


I have a poem chosen as one of the best Scottish Poems (in English) of 2021 by the Scottish Poetry Library (thread curator Hugh McMillan) - details and the other chosen poems here.


Really pleased !!




2022 and we're back ! 


So pleased to be preparing music and taxt for public performance again, and in such a lovely venue.  and the kiosk is here:


If you can't make this event you can catch it in The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival on June 19th in Moffat Town Hall.

26 Habitats


This is the latest project from the Writing Group, 26 - it follows on from 26 Wild, which featured my Glaswegian water vole - this time focussed on endangered habitats (very timely for the COP26 gathering in Glasgow) Participating writers were given a particular habitat to focus on - mine was coasts and rivers -since I live one minute's walk from the Solway Firth, that's where I centred my effort. My haiku and poem will appear on Monday 25th October but you can already see new creative work every day this month if you visit the 26 Habitats website - URL: http://


I wrote about the unpolluted sea around Ross Bay on the Solway - imagining myself as a wave as it moved north with the tides. 



Life and work, almost back to normal

July 2021


We have just completed two live performances of my play 'Lot 52' for the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival - a great creative team of actors, director, producer and musicians produced a moving and effective drama based on historical records of a ship of hope, Lovely Nelly',who carried emigrants from the Solway (Scotland) to Nova Scotia in 1775.




The inaugaral Annan History Festival happens this year - I am organising two events - see below - and Richard and I are playing for a music day on August 24th. 





In the absence of our printing service  and ability to hold launch events Southlight 27 was posted online at


current intention is to print in hard copy once it's possible again.We'll keep you in touch




We are gathering material for Southlight 28 which may also have to be published online along with 

the 2020 Wigtown Book Festival





26 gathering submissions

- guidelines on website _






Southlight 25 now available



The launch was at The Big Lit Festival in Gatehouse of Fleet on Sunday May 5th at 10.00 am at The Mill

Now Gathering for Southlight 25


Writers and illustrators are invited to send work for inclusion in the September edition - which will be launched at the Big Lit  Festival in 2019. illustrations should be black and white and with strong contrast - we do use colour images for the centre-spread and the cover. See the magazine website - www.southlight.ukwriters,net  for submission details.







Interesting new development - having a play script published so that drama/theatre groups can get hold of contemporary drama to work with. There's a lot of interesting material on the website at very low cost. If you know of drama/theatre groups who might be interested feel free to share.
'A Different Kind of Revolution' is a play for four characters, a dark political comedy that runs at around 45 minutes.
" A Metter of Principle' is a domestic drama for three characters,
 - three generations of one family all trying to be true to self, find themselves in difficulties

26 Wildlife

online here


I'm delighted to say that I'm a contributing writer to another 26 project in which I have been allocated a creature to write about - precise subject embargoed at the moment - but I have to write centena (100 word poem) and a narrative piece about it and the environmental challenges it faces. 

Details of a possible exhibition and publication to follow.

You can read the posts all through September here

Mine will appear on September 27th


'Lovely Nelly' online


We were just ready to go to print with this lovely project when lockdown was announced - but Wigtown Book Festival liked it enough to post it online. It's the story of 150 families who left the Solway for Prince Edward Island (Nova Scotia) as economic emigrants on the brig, 'Lovely Nelly' in 1775.

It was an exercise in writing creative non-fiction, working from historic documents, with a group of fourteen writers.


I'm also writing a play with some of the characters which is funded for performance, but of course we have no idea when or where that might be.

New Summer 2019 Project


I'm taking part in

 26 Trees, with The Woodland Trust


26 writers choose an individual tree to respond to - mine is a c 16th century Sessile Oak in a plantation at Lochwood, near Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire. I have to write a sestude (a 62 word poem) and an Explore piece (in 400 words) All these new works will be exhibited and published at the end of the project in the autumn.

Details to follow.



Gracefield Art Gallery :: Dumfries

from June 30th to August 24th


'Ladies First'



‘….The picture in the UK is equally dispiriting: female artists account for just 4% of the National Gallery of Scotland's collection; 20% of the Whitworth Manchester's and 35% of Tate Modern's collections……'


It is a truth universally acknowledged ; art galleries never have enough wall space to display all their treasures. In racks, in stores, in the dark, hang artworks that waits their turn to be displayed when a particular theme arises, or an artist’s centenary occurs, or, occasionally, when a gallery makes a deliberate decision to foreground a group of pieces that have another unifying thread. 


Thus, we have ‘Ladies First’, work chosen by Dawn Henderby,  made by women artists over the last fifty years, which usually sits in the dark of the Gracefield store. 


To be invited to gather a group of writers to examine and respond to the chosen work was excitng, literally bringing them into the light, then allowing our combined creative response to illuminate what we felt for each piece. 


We were thirteen and we met twice. Once to look at the work and choose those that touched us in some way, taking away reference books and internet links and the content of our discussions as further stimulation. Choosing was difficult; there were so many striking pieces.


Then a second time to look at our first responses and,in the light of our peer critique, to make them the ‘best words in the best order’ *which is as neat a summary of what good writing is as I know. The writers were generous and truthful with each other, asking questions where something was unclear, suggesting small adjustments, applauding one another’s efforts. 


It is mark of the writers’ deep engagement with the project that no-one dropped out so here you see the work of thirteen writers who have looked and looked again at the work on show, them made their response.

It has been a singular pleasure to work with them.


Vivien Jones : Summer 2019

*Henry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge spoke those words on the night of July 12, 1827 during a wide-ranging conversation about a number of famous writers, including Sir Walter Scott, John Dryden, Algernon Sydney and Edmund Burke. He was talking about poetry

but to me the same applies to prose.






New Text Area


This is a text area. You can change this text by double clicking on it which will bring up the editing controls. When you have finished editing the text, click some empty space on the page to return.

Items can be moved around by dragging and resized using the resize handles on their left and right sides while they are selected. These appear as draggable translucent white squares.

DG Arts Live Tour 2019



'The Music of The Spheres'


Saturday 13th July

 Loch Arthur Cresset Hall, Beeswing.

Dumfries  DG2 8JQ

Saturday 20th July

United Reform Church, Annan

DG12 6AT

both performances 7.30 pm


renaissance music and text in celebration of the great astronomers (and astrologers) of the 16th/17th centuries in Europe, told by the women in their lives.



Each year I write a new performance piece for  The Galloway Consort - the early music group that I play with - the text is spoken by an actor and delivered in a conversational tone so that it avoids being a dry piece of history, though it is carefully researched. 



Tickets : £10.00/£6.00

online :

in person : The Midsteeple. Dumfries. DG1 2BH Tel : 01387 253383

or e-mail to book and pay on the door



DGArts Live brings an unusual and fascinating music and story-telling event to Annan in one of the town’s lovely churches. The concert is    performed by The Galloway Consort, directed by Richard Jones to a text written by Vivien Jones, who live in Powfoot. 


Richard is an internationally renowned maker of renaissance viols (featured in the concert) and Vivien is an award winning writer of poetry, short stories and plays - together they pool their skills to create events that celebrate their love of renaissance culture. They are joined for this event by soprano, Barbara Gibson (who also plays recorder) and by 

actor, Sarah Dhesi who narrates the text. 


‘The Music of the Spheres’


Astronomy or Astrology -  in the 16th and 17th centuries these disciplines were much closer than they are in our world of minute categorisation. These most respected of astronomers, the stargazers, also spent time and earned reputation and income from casting horoscopes for the aristocracy of their



Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei,

John Dee. The chances are you will have heard of some of these characters

in history or science lessons at school. In this newly written text Vivien Jones imagines the lives of these most revered astronomers through the voices of the women in their lives - sisters, wives, mistresses and housekeepers - and The Galloway Consort illustrate their stories by playing renaissance music from the countries where they lived and worked. This includes a musical tribute to the earlier Islamic scholars of Andalucia whose work provided the mathematical and observational base for many European discoveries.


The Galloway Consort is well known for interweaving renaissance music

within a story-telling framework - the soft sound of viols and recorders, the plaintive chanson and madrigal, the perkiness of the dance - all combine to evoke a sound that illuminates the text. In their concerts they always leave time for members of the audience to ask questions and examine instruments, a feature that is much appreciated.



Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival 2019









 Richard and Vivien Jones bring this event to The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival fresh from providing renaissance music for the Leonardo da Vinci  exhibition - A Life in Drawing - at the Kelvingrove  Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, part of a nationwide commemoration of the 500th anniversary of his death. The programme features an arrangement of a rebus - a musical  puzzle found in the margins of one of Leonardo’s notebooks, and goes on to explore other historical fragments of music and the characters who listen to them. The programme is created as a conversation between players and audience, illuminated with music. Actor, Sarah Dhesi, voices the characters and soprano, Barbara Gibson, adds empathy to the madrigals and chansons in the performance.








DG Arts Live Tour 2019



'The Music of The Spheres'

Sunday 28th April :: 2.30 pm

Ellisland Farm Heritage Centre,

Auldgirth DG2 0RP


renaissance music and text in celebration of the great astronomers (and astrologers) of the 16th/17th centuries in Europe, told by the women in their lives.



Each year I write a new performance piece for  The Galloway Consort - the early music group that I play with - the text is spoken by an actor and delivered in a conversational tone so that it avoids being a dry piece of history, though it is carefully researched. This performance is the first of three on this tour - the other two are in July at the Loch Arthur Community in Beeswing and at the United Reform Church in Annan.

Details to follow.





Two short plays, take a sideways look at what happens when people ignore what’s expected of them to find their own solutions to life’s problems. Dinner at Home is about an unexpected response to a wealthy woman’s generosity. A Different Kind of Revolution shows us how a couple of frustrated activists take on a jaundiced politician and play him at his own game.


Thursday 1st November : Theatre Royal, Dumfries : 7.30 pm

Friday 2nd November : The Print Room, Wigtown : 7.30 pm


Booking details on poster


Southlight 15

 May 2014

The Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival

Wigtown Book Festival 2018


 These are the four events I have some involvement with this year




poetry, prose, literary interview and illustration


I am one of three editors - with Angus Macmillan and John Burns - of this magazine which has been building a reputation since its very humble origins in 2006 as a photocopied A5 chapbook. By edition 6 it had attracted financial support from the local arts organisation - dgArts -which allowed us to go to A4, a professional designer and colour cover for number 7. Since then the arts organisation has folded but the financial support has been administered through the Wigtown Book Company. We are currently worling on number 16 and would welcome submissions of poetry(6 max), prose (2500 w max) and B&W illustrations -or

something special in colour for the cover. We have a website too - - , please e-mail work to me in MS Word and/or jpegs at


Writing Workshops

Summer 2018

both these workshops made possible with financial support from the

Wigtown Book Company




'Undiscovered Treasures' at Stranraer Museum - working from a display case of objects in the musuem collection, a gathering of writers who will make a creative response to a single object for a booklet which will be launched at an event in the Wigtown Book Festival in September.  There are twenty objects, among them a candle mould, some printing plates, a top hat.....







"Bread' - for Castle Douglas Civic Week - based at the Earth Crust Bakery in the town - a gathering of writers to celebrate the joy of baking bread, its diverse ingredients, its place in memory and folk-lore and to produce work for display in the bakery and the town's shops during Civic Week (July 21st-29th) 

Big Lit 2018

in Gatehouse of Fleet


Thursday 19th April


Compass Points


launch reading

at The Scone Kitchen, High Street

3.30 pm -4.30 pm


new poetry and prose by Leonie Ewing, Jackie Galley, Vivien Jones and Gillian Mellor




The Yarrow, Ettrick & Selkirk (YES) Arts Festival 2017


I won the judges Prize with this little poem

- and publication and a cheque -


In Praise of Small Streams


No signposts, no litter bins,

no board with wildlife pictured,

no invitation to heritage angels.


But climb over the barbed wire,

snake through a cow-patted field,

with fiercely nettled edges,

keep an eye on the rampant heifers


Slither down a mudslide bank,

smear your clothes with unseen slime.


Sit by the stream.


Sit as a stone, cold and still, invisible

to the life in and out of the water.

Insects resume their cruising,

fish seize the insects, dippers

seemingly drown themselves,

a kingfisher makes a turquoise dart

through the air, frogs slowly blink.

Grass separates into species,

some razor-edged, some striped,

some purple, some bent to the water.

Sun flares through willow leaves,

moving silver abstracts on the surface, 

a bold insect bites you, your prize 

for being still, the air shimmers.

This is just for you.



a dragonfly in iridescent nuptial glory

flies and mates and dies unseen.


when you are elsewhere,

the small streams will tumble on,

without you.


       Latest appearances in print and online....


Dove Tales anthology "A Kind of Stupidity' - a fine collection of resistance and anti-war writing

in which my poem 'Swords into Ploughshares' appears.


The Blue Nib - five poems in this fresh new online magazine. 


The Honest Ulsterman my short story ' Mentor'

appeared here.


Keep-poems-alive this is Sally Evan's considered online project to re-print poems that may have slipped from memory - poems have to be at least three years old, and have appeared in print. She has chosen a number of mine over time. 


 and more in The Poet's Republic, The Curlew, Reach magazine, Ofi Press, Algebra for Owls, Glasgow to Saturn, Pushing Out The Boat....

Issues 1 - 6 were produced on a university phot-copier - contents were high quality, appearance was not. An approach was made to DGAA (now defunct) to fund a high quality publication which was successful - which then was taken up by Wigtown Book Festival Company, who pay the print bill and the admin costs to this day.

Wigtown Book Festival 2017


I had three events in this year's Festival - all very different - the launch of Southlight 22 - see left hand column - and a rehearsed reading of four new short plays, from a first look at the script in the morning to a reading at 5.00 pm - see below - and the third and final instalment of the renaissance lovers' tale set in the time and afterwards of Mary, Queen of Scots - with 16th century music to illustrate

'The Last Pavane' - see above

Details :

Here's a thoughtful review of one of the stories in my collection 'White Poppies'

by Brindley Hallam Dennis


The small press - Pewter Rose Press -

that published it has closed down

but I have a few spare copies if you would like

to buy one - e-mail me :

Playwrights Scratch

in the

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival 2017


www.dumfries and galloway arts festival 2017

see page 34 in the online brochure


I have one of three plays selected for an intensive day's workshopping with writers, actors and director in preparation for a rehearsed reading (open to the public)  at The Thetare Royal in Dumfries on Sunday June 4th


This has been an exciting year for playwrights

in this part of Scotland.

This will be a third such event, this time drawing from writers across Scotland.





Short Plays Scotland Award 2017

Cumbernauld Theatre


There were 5 performances 

between 19th and 25th May


Very pleased to announce that I am one of five writers with a short play chosen for this award.

Each play was rehearsed and fully staged, with opportunity for the writers to give feedback.




Into 2017

starting as I mean to go on....


short stories in Pushing Out The Boat

(April) and Three Drops from a Cauldron - Beltane anthology

(also April)




a Flash Fiction in The Casket of Fictional Delight



 A couple of poems on Angela Topping's delightful Blog which focusses on the concept of hygge - good living, slow consumption, reflection, nurture and comfort in all things



also in Book Week Scotland

encounter some

dangerous women....!


Book Week Scotland 2016


Thursday 24th November,

6.00 - 7.00 pm


Southlight 20 at the Ewart Library, Dumfries


Come and meet the writers and editors, if you're a contributor to Southlights current or past, come and read.

It's a FREE event.



! Livewires 2016 is Live !


For the month of October there will be daily posts of new writing, artwork and photography on the Southlight Blog with daily prompts on the Southlight Facebook page


Come and join us....



Undiscovered Treasures

update and invitation


Booklaunch - free entry


6.30 pm on Thursday 13th October,

Annan Museum


 Come and meet the writers, examine the exhibits and buy the book.



26 Lies Exhibition

Free Word Centre,


now open


Don't believe a word of it...... 


Undiscovered Treasures
for Autumn 2016
A writing project inspired by the Annan Museum collection
Writer Vivien Jones will lead two workshops for all levels of writers from beginners to professionals. Working in small peer groups participants will support each other to produce creative writing inspired by unusual, and sometimes overlooked, objects in the museum collection. The finished work will be published in a booklet.
Saturday 3 Sept, 11.30am - 1.30pm
In workshop one, participants will be paired with a museum object and guided towards available research within the museum and beyond.
Saturday 17 Sept, 11.30am - 1.30pm
In workshop two, participants will bring work in draft form and work in small peer groups to share and refine their work towards publication.
For further details and to book a place on the workshops you can contact Vivien Jones, telephone 01461 700396 or email
There will be a small publication at the end of the project which will be given to the writers and sold to the public at a public launch date tbc after consultation with the group. These workshops are supported by Live Literature Scotland. The publication is funded by Wigtown Book Festival

June 2016


I have a piece in the 2016 National Flash Fiction Anthology ( edited by Calum Kerr, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Santino Prinzi) - titled and contents embargoed at the moment while contributors proof read their work




Also preparing my Cottingley Fairies piece (26 Lies Project) for exhibition in the Free Word Centre in London in September - has to be blown up to A1 size. Details to follow.

May 2016


First performance of my new text and early music event went very well in the 2016 Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival - 'The Darkest Hour' - is a correspondence between lovers at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, illustrated with 16th century music on appropraite instruments.


Next performance is at 7.30 pm on Saturday 25th June at Traquair House, Innerleithen - a most atmospheric historic property.

Time and Place at the Theatre Royal in Dumfries


a grand gathering of writers from Dumfries & Galloway and beyond,

I'm reading among many friends.

World Book Night 2016


Always good fun - this year we have two

murder mysteries to give away -


Come and join us - it's free !




for Spring 2016

latest project for 26

26 writers and 26 artists were given the task of responding in words and pictures to 26 Great Lies in history and literature - mine was The Cottingley Fairies, the photographic hoax (or was it?) that persuaded Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that he did believe in fairies. My friend and fellow writer, Hazel Lowther, created a contemporary image for my contemporary take on it. Comments welcome on the project website.


July 2015

26 Pairs of Eyes update

The project blog with all the creation stories is online.

Short of Breath: Vivien Jones,

in the Summer edition of The Eildon Tree

By Vivien Jones
Cultured Llama 2014
84 Pages
ISBN 978-0-9926485-5-8 90000

Cultured Llama

review of 'Short of Breath'

Here's a couple of reviews too...


Vivien Jones lives on the north Solway shore in Scotland, and this is her second collection of poetry. Short of Breath has no overarching theme, and encompasses some subjects that are perhaps predictable, such as family snapshots, or a visit to a stately home.  But here are others that take you by surprise: a child watching her father making a mysterious box; a raincoat of “shimmering emerald green” cut up and turned into a Robin Hood outfit; a sense of wonder at wood and trees.

The title poem is about an asthmatic child: “After the tearful waking, / we spoon, my little asthmatic and me, / he tracks my breathing, and follows / my rhythm with perfect trust.”

Jones has a wide-eyed interest in astronomy, and “the pounding music of the galaxies”. She is fascinated by Pluto, and its relegation to the status of a minor planet: “I am dark, / too far for light to lift / my rocky heart, / what warmth I know / is just less cold” (Pluto’s Lament’).

The collection includes ‘Patna to Sauchiehall Street’, reflections on a meandering bus ride through hills where “the coal’s long gone”, leaving “thin men with starved spirits” leaning against the wall of a “boarded up-institute”, and ending in a racist confrontation in Glasgow that leaves its perpetrators “secretly shamed”.

Three poems early on set the tone for Short of Breath – a strange little triptych of meditations on Pluto, “the ninth planet, since dwarfed”. The poems are linked thematically not merely by the subject of the dwarf planet but also by their celebration of the diminished, the marginalised, the easily overlooked. Given voice by Vivien Jones, Pluto’s relative insignificance, its relegation to stature of a dubious kind; these things actually become virtues. Unlike the “fat and gassy” Jupiter,
Pluto exists outside definition and categories, in the galaxy of
potential, things yet to fully be. As its title suggests, Short of Breath is very much concerned with those moments of becoming, the brief interstitials between absence and
presence. Time, too, the tick of a clock from one second to the next, or the long gap between the taking of a photo
and the viewing of it. Mostly we are living in the spaces between things, Jones seems to say. In Detritus, where she invites us to consider the distance between the end of a life and the extinction of its impact, which she poignantly compares to the decay of a plucked lute string.

Another poem explores the characters and stories revealed by graffiti in a rural bus shelter – Murphy and Shanks, Bella, queen of the Jelly Fish Prozzies, and the Spoons Boys. Jones revels in the Rabelaisian accounts she finds in the shelter, and imagines that “Murphy is deep in Bella’s cleavage / … when Shanks heads for the bog, / he is followed by a smirking Spoons Boy.”  (‘Graffiti Tales’)

Jones faces up to the years to come. A poem about anticipation and dread of losing a partner is titled ‘After Kerouac’s Visions of Cody’:  “The black side of love is fear of loss, / and one of you is going to get it.”

Or in Summer is Late this Year, in which an idealised summer is
awaited so expectantly that the real summer, wet and cold, passes by unappreciated. Or in Maryhill Shops, where the shop-fronts of Glasgow are still adorned with the names of long-dead proprietors. Big Time, the poem which most directly addresses this theme, is ushered in by an Albert Einstein quote, which could stand just as well as preface to the entire collection:

The distinction between past,
present and future is only a
stubbornly persistent illusion.

Her style generally contains few fireworks, and is often chatty, rather than lyrical. But for all that there are moments when the poet is swept up by a different kind of language, almost despite herself: “Deep sucking on pebbles, / sorting them from fine to coarse, / a long rhythm, slither and suck.” (‘Gunwalloe’)

In a collection that is generous in length, and breadth of vision, Jones takes us beyond Dumfries and Galloway and rural bus rides, to Cornwall and Malta, and to the far reaches of the solar system. I enjoyed Short of Breath for its scope, humour and humanity.

And this is strong poetry, incidentally, spare and
unsentimental in its handling of the passage of time. Clarity is very often the first casualty of modern poetry, but these are poems which pass straight through the eye and into the mind. Not simple, I should say, but works which honour to the utmost what should surely always be the writer’s primary duty – to
take the reader with them as they go. Vivien Jones takes us along with her everywhere she travels, and the places we go with her are well worth the visiting. Short of Breath is available
through Cultured Llama Publishing.

Greg Freeman 

Thomas Clark


May 2015

in which I have a single poem....

just arrived from USA,


'Short of Breath' chosen as Book of the Month in Dumfries & Galloway Life,

January 2015

and Poem of the Day in The Herald,

one of Scotland's two national broadsheets

another 26 Project

26 Pairs of Eyes

a writing project for 26 chosen writers, based at The Foundling Musuem in London, in which each writer will be paired with an 'overlooked' object in the collecton, write a sestitude (62 words) and a writing diary, for display at the museum




26 Ghosts Goes Live


26 writers were paired up to create new ghost stories,one to tell, the other to write, each tale illustrated by their own choice of artist.


Another innovative project 

Mine goes live on Thursday 23rd October but there will be one a day from now until Hallowe'en.

My story is called I Will Wait... and tells of a strange event in a condemned house. It's beautifully illustrated by Hazel Lowther, one of the Powfoot Writers.

Please do feel welcome to comment on

the 26 Ghosts website - link above

September 9th


This project - leading 14 local writers in making a creative response to aerial photographs of Annan

(taken between 1929 and 1948 by Aerofilms)

If you would like to see what your own town, city or countryside looked like from the air between 1919 and 1953 visit

Launched with much jollity at the Market Hall in Annan.







'Borders' Writing project with

If you are one of those people who have always wanted to write but never quite got round to it, here is an

ideal opportunity to try your talents, and be published.


The ‘Borders’ project is looking to create new writing for a book inspired by aerial photographs of Annan. This material may appear in print, online or at an exhibition to celebrate the book launch in September 2014.

Do come along to make your contribution.

Powfoot Golf Hotel. Tuesdays 12th August and 26th August. 7.00 - 9.00 pm

e-mail : for more information


as of July 2014

I am a Literature Animateur

which means I have a role in encouraging literary activity of all and every kind in the east of Dumfries and Galloway - this is a creative initiative with the Wigtown Book Company

World Book Night 2014

(afternoon in this case)


I read and gave books away with The Ewart Library this year





 I have three poems in

on Unesco World Poetry Day




... lovely evening at the Ewart Library, with friends and strangers and a very helpful library staff.

Never seen so many e-readers in one room !

Thanks to those who came -

the library provided equipment and expertise to introduce

the e-book.




this is my page (with calligrapher, Rachel Yallop) from the exhibition catalogue. Our letter was N - our word was naviculoid which means boat-shaped.


This is my double dancing tanka


Double Dancing Tanka


 time enough this day

 to pause and taste the breeze,

 the outdoor café calls.

 my naviculoid croissant

 melting in buttered silk flakes


in my throat, pleasure,

in my heart, recollections

of childhood’s sweet treats.

my boat shaped pastry reminds

me of simpler appetites







Going live on Dec 1st

another great 26 project


Writers were asked to write a sestude on a verse in The Twelve Days of Christmas for a charity calendar

- mine is the 5 gold rings verse -





I've been interviewed on my writing process on this website. Some quotes from it were tweeted and gathered a lot of responses - not exactly gone viral but

interesting to follow the threads.







Two autumn 2013 publications from two Dumfries & Galloway writing groups.

'Skylines' from Powfoot Writers

'CW10' anniversary anthology from Crichton Writers.


available from me £5.00 each plus £1.00 p&p

cheques made out to either writing group - send to

5,Lakeview, Powfoot, Annan, DG12 5PG




Calligrapher Rachel Yallop & I have completed our collaboration for 26 Words

we were given the letter



and our word was




(which refers to boat-shaped organisms)

you can follow the process of the project with the Creation Stories every day for 26 weekdays from Thursday 17th October when 'A' goes up. Ours is scheduled for display on Nov 5th on their website




There will be a series of exhibitions of the whole alphabet from the end of November this year to November 2014 - in London, Reading, Sunderland,

Brugges, Suffolk and Hereford -


this is the cover of our book

(drawn on her iPad by Elizabeth Waugh)

- successfully launched amid

great celebration on Monday 9th Septermber


in case you're wondering, the structure in the foreground is an Edwardian high water swimming pool.


Envronmental Art Festival 2013


Monday September 9th - 7.30pm

Powfoot Golf Hotel

Launch reading and celebration

- come and join us, hear some of the new work,

talk to the writers, buy the book and discover the shore for yourself.

 This is a FREE event


Development Workshop

process of engagement

....this time we gathered in the hotel, split into groups of three and shared our first ideas and work in draft - in between three 'bite-size' lectures on writing the broader landscape, on the ways of water and on short form poetry. There is already some fine new work in the making. Next comes the reading and sale of printed books at the

Powfoot Golf Hotel at

7.00 pm on Monday 9th September

- this is a free public event -

do come and help us celebrate.


....this project got off to a great start with 21

writers gathered here.

After a morning of torrential rain, the skies cleared and we had a beautiful evening to roam the shore and settle to pool our impressions.

One of our number delivered a fascinating 5 minute talk on the geology of the shore and we went away to start this space !




Looking forward to leading this project - two writing workshops, a publication and a public reading focussed on the shore in the village of Powfoot.


Walking and gathering impressions : July 29th 7.00 pm

Developing work : August 12th 7.00 pm

Public reading and book sales : September 9th 7.00 pm


Another 26 Project

Poetry and Calligraphy this time.


I am charged with the letter 'N' and the work

'naviculoid' (means a boat-shaped organism)

and am working with calligrapher, Rachel Yallop,

to produce a single artwork for exhibition in London and in Europe in the autumn.

All 26 letters of the alphabet have been allocated to pairs of writers and artists. I have written a double tanka for the occasion... more to follow.


Galloway Shorts

Friday/Saturday 21st & 22nd June

 The Swallow Theatre, by Whithon 

new short plays by writers in Dumfries & Galloway


including one of mine

'A Matter of Principle'

adapted from a story in 'White Poppies' 

produced and directed by Jacquie Crago 


following a series of workshops with the writers and actors,

Both performances were sold out and very well received.



'Red Rose- White Rose'


new dates :



Saturday September 7th - Abbotsford, Melrose 

more to follow

 and just gone by


Saturday May 25th/26th Traquair Medieval Fayre

Sunday May 5th - Paxton House, near Berwick-on-Tweed

Monday May 6th - Wigtown Spring Weekend - Catholic Church




Indigo Dreams Publishing has just released ' Heart Shoots'

- its poetry anthology to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care - work by the great and good, the known and unknown, and includes the poem I wrote when our dear friend and

fellow-musician, Laurence, died in 2011.


in the atrium at Nottingham Trent University

for the Nottingham Festival of Words

with Pewter Rose Press

- a great meeting of minds -

Saturday 16th February

round table discussion all day with Pewter Rose Press authors, including my story 'Three Minds' from

'White Poppies' at midday.


more performances to follow in the Borders

- watch this space -

in January 2013

Sell-Out !

and very warmly received.


next performance is part of the Big Burns Supper weekend in Dumfries on Saturday 26th January 2013 at 4.00 pm in the Hopkin Room, Theatre Royal.

Booking : tel 0800 689 9405



in December 2012

adapted from 'Three Minds', a text from 'White Poppies',

my collection of short stories.



- the women's tale, interwoven with 16th century music



The story - the wife and sometime mistress of James IV share the experience of loving a powerful man - Margaret's currency is her fertility, Janet's her undemanding demeanour - both stand to lose much as men all over Scotland go to battle on the bare moor of Flodden with their king. In the meantime the women are comforted by music that expresses their fleeting joys and sorrows.


The background - this performance marks a new collaborative performance between early musicians, writer and readers resident in Dumfries & Galloway. From a text based on a story in her book of short stories -White Poppies (Pewter Rose Press 2012) - Vivien Jones has created a dramatic reading of an imagined exchange between two striking renaissance women on the night before the battle of Flodden in 1513. Published writers in their own right, Mary Smith and JoAnne McKay, join musicians, Richard and Vivien Jones, playing 16th century music, to tell the women's tale.


The performances are on Sunday afternoons.

3.00 pm 2nd December, CatStrand, New Galloway

Booking : CatStrand : Box office: 01644 420374    Email: 

3.00pm 16th December, Elshieshields Tower, Lochmaben DG11 1LY

Booking : e-mail

There will also be a performance during the Big Burns Supper in the Hopkin Room, Theatre Royal, Dumfries at 4.00 pm on Saturday 26th January 2013.



October 2012

Tuesday 30th October

Nona Lous Tearoom, Dumfries

6.30 pm

Old St Andrews Primary School,Brooke Street, Dumfries,DG 1 2JL

(well worth seeking out)

you are warmly invited to

the launch of

'White Poppies'

short fiction on woman amongst warriors

brief readings, cake and conversation

introduced my Tom Pow


Wigtown Book Festival Fringe

Jackanory style

'White Poppies' launch

August 2012


Blackwells Bookshop, Edinburgh

delighted to say that my new collection of short stories 

-White Poppies has been published.

by Pewter Rose Press, in time for my Writers on the Fringe reading on Thursday 30th August (6.00 pm) at Blackwells Bookshop, Edinburgh. Hazel Lowther,

one of the Powfoot Writers, has drawn this beautiful cover image. Launch readings also planned for The Wigtown Book Festival Fringe on Friday 5th October 1.30 pm in The Gallery, County Buildings, and at Nona Lou's Teashop (Brooke Street) in Dumfries

on Tuesday 30th October 6.30 pm. Do come if you can - it's always good to see friendly faces in the crowd. 



June 2012

I have moved all my publications to a new page

click here

April 2012 updates


May 16th was National Flash Fiction Day

Lots of us sent our stories here

mine - After Aesop -  was posted around 7.00 am that day


World Book Night 2012


Powfoot Writers ready to read

We had a wonderful night in the Powfoot Golf Hotel with both of the writing groups I'm involved with - Crichton Writers and Powfoot Writers -reading their own work beside the two giveaway titles that Carolyn Yates and I had chosen -

'I Capture the Castle' (Dodie Smith) and 'Rebecca'

(Daphne du Maurier) There were over 40 in the audience and they nearly all stayed to chat long after the last book had been given away.



Crichton Writers readers at WBN 2012





Latest publications - a piece chosen for in response to their 'ars poetica' prompt - a great website this for providing monthly prompts to poets, then displaying the responses.  Also two pieces in - a bright, lively e-zine from the Borders (Scotland) and another two in which is the website for Glasgow University's Creative Writing students and alumni (that's me)


I have a very small advert poem in Split Screen -poems inspired by film and television - from Red Squirrel Press which had its launch event at StAnza this year - a very witty and intelligent collection...

and a story in the Seven Stops project for Clockworks in Glasgow - Having a Nice Day - which will be part of an anthology of stories graded by the number of stops on the Underground your journey will take - mine is a six-stop story. 

New work in 'Abridged' from Ireland. New work soon to be published in 'Pushing Out the Boat' and 'The Eildon Tree' and 'The Waterhouse Review'

Various readings and performances under discussion including at the Edinburgh Fringe. Details to follow...

December 2011 and January update

We didn't win but had the warmest letter of congratulation for our new project.


I learn today that 'Shorelines' - the book that grew out of a writing project I led here in Powfoot this summer, is one of six projects in Scotland short-listed for an Epic Award for community arts projects. Final decision in January 2012 but in the meantime, I'm so pleased for this recognition of a fine effort that was a pleasure to be part of.






My poem ' Naiad' (from 'Writing Ground') has been chosen as the September Poem of the Month in the Scotsman by staff at the Scottish Poetry Library. It will be published on the 24th September.



Unbound Press Flash Fiction Prize


Good news this August - my flash fiction piece

'Sorting Office' has won this award.

......................... The son of my Pewter Rose publisher, Matthew McDonnell, has made a film of one of my stories from 'Perfect 10' -it's the internet romance called 'Net Babe'. He and I would love to know what you think - you can comment on this You Tube link. 


Summer 2011


Come to fruition - a six month community writing project in the village where I live. 'Shorelines' was published in early August and contains writing, drawings & photographs reflecting life here,

created by people who live in Powfoot.

One week after the launch all the first 100 books were sold and we had to re-print to meet demand.



cover design by Ian Burdett of Powfoot

 October 2010 News    



Creative Scotland (formerly The Scottish Arts Council) has awarded me a Writer's Bursary for my next major writing project - a collection of monologues and short fiction on the theme of women amongst warriors - to be completed within the coming year. This work will be drawn from anecdotal material from my parents (both in the Royal Navy) my own history in various protest movements and material from various war diaries written by women.             



  August 2010 



I have won the 2010 Poetry London Prize. I read the winning poem - 'My Mother's Literature' at the launch of the magazine on October 13th at Foyles,Charing Cross Road, where I will also receiveed the cheque for £1000 from the judge, Michael Longley. Very encouraging to see piles of my poetry collection 'About Time, Too' on sale in this top book shop.








I have lived and worked in Scotland for forty five years, working in alternative education until the closure of a school put a temporary stop on my career as a teacher. I was a mature student at the Crichton Campus of the University of Glasgow in Dumfries where I took a Creative Writing course (part of my MA Hons degree) under the direction of Tom Pow. In the last ten years I have been writing in all the genres that I once taught to others. I am also a founding member of the renaissance music group, The Galloway Consort. 




I am a writer of prose, drama and poetry, which I also perform in readings and collaborative events with musicians. I have a particular interest in renaissance themes which have formed the basis of several performance events including site-specific dramas in historic locations. My prose work is in the form of short stories which explore the small rebellions in everyday life that sustain a sense of individuality, particularly in the lives of women. The themes of my poetry are domestic; rituals of family life, the association of food and nurture, the experience of making and hearing music, and latterly, work on environmental themes.




Richard and I played music for

 'Not A Muse' launch reading in Newcastle,


 November 2009




Events and projects



I have a strong interest in presenting the written word to live audiences and have created collaborative events with musicians that have seen successful public performances including a performance event in 2007,‘Making Waves’, with all the texts printed into a chapbook, which featured new writing on watery themes with music inspired by texts written by Jackie Galley and me. The same group, friends as well as writers and musicians, has developed a new programme,’Tree’, which has had performances at the Wigtown and Sedbergh Books Festivals in 2009.  In 2008 I worked with three other writers and two artists to create Soundscapes, an exhibition and reading sequence that was staged twice in the GaelForce Festival of the Arts and which also produced an illustrated chapbook. In 2009 the same group have produced a similar event in association with The Great Wild Goose Chase, also with a chapbook. I am always willing to discuss new collaborative projects with other writers and artists.I am available to do readings and creative writing workshops, especially for those new to the writing process.





Comments from organisations or audiences



‘ Her humorous, almost misleadingly gentle performance was obviously appreciated by the audience, who were then provoked to laughter by unexpected mischievousness –“gorse is a feast, a binge/ a prick of a shrub' Jean Atkin. DGAA reviewing 2007 Poetry Double performance.




I have been extremely fortunate in the last six years to have the support and companionship of the writing group we started at the Crichton Campus of the University of Glasgow - Crichton Writers - which is an energetic,creative and completely unpretentious group, extremely diverse with many talents. We have produced five anthologies of new work and performed several readings with artists in other disciplines in our regional Arts Festival.






In 2008 I was part of a writing group working on memoirs - not the dusty old colonel kind or the misery kind - one of the group had a chest full of family papers that she was working through. We were talking one day and she said perhaps some of the material might make a drama or a story - would I like to try ? The piece I wrote - 'Marion Terry, who might have been a singer...' is included, with her permission, in this book - all proceeds to 'Medecins Sans Frontieres'.



Contact me if you'd like a copy.




I'm very keen to support small publishers and bookshops so if you should want to buy any of my books, please do so through this website or the publishers' webpage. 












spectacular black cat


                     Axa, our Moorish beauty




Otherwise .... I live with my husand, Richard, and spectacular black cat, Axa (above) in Powfoot, a village on the north Solway shore in Scotland. When I'm not writing I'm a keen wholefood cook - I love bread making - and I'm an early musician with our performing group The Galloway Consort which plays renaissance music in historic locations all over Scotland and the north of England.  Richard makes renaissance viols for which he has a healthy waiting list - his workshop is at the bottom of our garden and he hangs his viols on our washing line to absorb ultra violet light from the sun (see Gallery) Sometimes my writing co-incides with our music-making - I have written site-specific historic plays which have been performed with appropriate music in some wonderful locations - Whithorn Priory and Comlongan Castle and we have played often in Alnwick Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Falkland Palace, Stirling Castle and many others.