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Catch-up on recent events

Posted on 3rd May, 2014

Catch-up on major events....from 2011 to date.


August 2013 - Created a writing project for the Environmental Arts Festival in Dumfries and Galloway - six weeks to create an illustrated, printed publication. Designed for 8-10 writers, it attracted 21, all of whom had work in the publication 'Tidelines' which sold its first 100 copies within a month.



September 2013 - collaborative project 26 Letters - working with professional calligrapher, Rachel Yallop, for an illustrated alphabet

with a new poem for each letter. On international exhibition through 2014.



August 2012 - 'White Poppies' -short story collection on women amongst warriors. Written with a Creative Scotland Writer's Bursary. Pewter Rose Press.




N0vember 20111

Posted on 2nd November, 2011

A busy summer - bringing a six month community writing project to its conclusion - lovely printed, illustrated book of creative writing - Shorelines - which sold its first hundred copies in the first week. Then there were my five events at the 2011 Wigtown Book Festival for which I had to have another edition of Southight literary magazine ready and my own new collection, KIN, in print.

Then there was my involvement in the 26 Treasures project at the National Museum of Scotland and

my ongoing work on a new fiction collection...





I'm not always this grumpy looking ! for the movies !

Posted on 28th July, 2011

July 2011 - The son of my publishers at Pewter Rose Press, Matthew McDonnell, has made a short film of one of the stories in Perfect 10' - the internet romance called 'Net Babe'. See it on You Tube at

May 2011

Posted on 7th May, 2011

Powfoot Writers - over the last couple of months I've been working with new writers from my village community who are exploring their experience of living here. I have been so delighted with the range and quality of the writing and with the positive atmosphere at our meetings.  We are working towards a publication - illustrated - for later in the summer.




architectural detail; Powfoot

April 2011 Happenings

Posted on 14th April, 2011

April 2011 happenings - 7.00 pm on the 15th at The Mid-Steeple, Dumfries with my friends and fellow writers - Jean Atkin, Jackie Galley and Fiona Russell -a launch reading for our new poetry chapbook 'Writing Ground' in which we explore a sense of place. Free entry, wine and cake and good company. This event is part of Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival and is is supported by the Crichton Campus of the University of Glasgow. On Sunday May 8th - a repeat performance at the new arts centre in Sanquhar - 'A' The Airts' - at 3.00 pm - come beforehand for their excellent coffee and a bun !







I've two poems in the 2011 ASLS New Writing Scotland out some time in the summer.





More for 2011....

Posted on 17th March, 2011


March 23rd - launch reading of Southlight 8 at the Gracefield Arts Cafe with guests from our sister publication, The Eildon Tree, published in The Borders - a great gathering of creative people to read, talk and drink wine and nibbles. You can get a copy from The Mid Steeple, Dumfries or




March 5th 2011 - playing catch-up with events - an unbelievable World Book Night at the Ewart Library in Dumfries - reading with Rab Wilson and Giancarlo Rinaldi - over 200 people gathered to perch among the bookshelves and share our love of books and libraries.


March 8th  reading at the Wigtown launch of 'Singing Over the Bones II' a celebration of the Women of Wigtown - with Liz Niven and many other contributors reading - March 16th repeat performance at the Mid-Steeple, Dumfries.



March 16th - second launch reading of 'Singing Over the Bones II' in Dumfries at the Mid-Steeple.




in the planning :




April 15th : another collaboration with The Goose Girls - Jean Atkin, Jackie Galley and Fiona Russell - for The Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival/ Glagow University - new writing with a sense of place

called 'Writing Ground'. First performance in The Mid-Steeple. 7.00 -9.00 pm

Next projects....

Posted on 14th November, 2010

October brings news that I've been awarded a £5000 Writer's Bursary by Creative Scotland for my next writing project - women amongst warriors.  I'm also planning a community project within the village where we live - to make a book about living in the village written by the people who live here - this is part of the Time & Tide project organised by DGArts. We have another poetry/music idea under development for 2011 and the writers who worked on Soundscapes and Goosechase have a new programme in preparation for the 2011 Dumfries and Galloway Wildlife Festival.

Poetry London presentation

Posted on 20th October, 2010

October 2010 - a wonderful evening in the company of Colette Bryce, Michael Longley, my son Louis, and his lady, Jeanie, my sister, Frances and her husband, Brian, several early music friends and a goodly number of poetry lovers at the launch of the Poetry London magazine at Foyles magical bookshop in Charing Cross Road, London. It was also the presentation and readings of this year's competition - so a great privilege to be reading in that company. Michael Longley made a funny and incisive speech about his judging process and thoughts - I loved the idea of him leaving the short-listed poems around his house for his family to comment on as part of it - and some pretty insightful comments on the winning poems. I was very aware that I was first amongst equals in the competition - there really is no way to grade the poems other than a personal feeling of the moment. Still I was pleased with the pleasure of my family in my success, and later with the warmth of the congratulations from my friends and fellow writers here.

Wigtown Book Festival 2010

Posted on 29th September, 2010



        Ann Shukman and I waiting to start our talk                              The extraordinary Wigtown Ink Yurt


                                                                                             (all photos on this post by Fiona Russell)


Ann Shukman is an historian, I'm a creative writer - we met at a Memoir Group where Ann gave me a folder about one of her family members who lived in the late 1900s - Marion Terry, who might have been a singer. I was really moved by the extracts of letters and papers describing this good and memorable woman. The story I made out of her notes was published in an international anthology -'Voice From the Planet' published by Harvard Square Editions in New York - which is being sold to benefit Medicins Sans Frontieres. Ann and I conducted a conversation before an audience, who then joined in, on the question of whether it was a good idea or not !




JoAnne McKay and I grab a sandwich



Later that day, JoAnne and I read from our new collections. I love working with her. She's funny and warm, full of energy and she writes very fine poetry. Our work goes well together and this was the third time we've shared a stage.





August was a crazy month for me - my first poetry collection,About Time, Too, was published by

Indigo Dreams Publishing, my Edinburgh poem 'Mellis' was the focus of a weaving installation by Rocio Judenfeld in the Fringe, I won the 2010 Poetry London Prize (1000 pounds and a presentation at Foyles in London by Michael Longley) and I was part of a threesome of writers - JoAnne McKay and Hugh McMillan - who read at The Salon, at Thomas Tosh in Thornhill to a packed house of amiable punters - great cake, coffee, company and poetry. September sees quite a full involvement in The Wigtown Book Festival - more on that later.