Scottish Writers' Centre Blog

The Scottish Writers' Centre is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, number SC040823.


Please note that this blog has now been discontinued.

For up to date info on the Scottish Writers Centre please refer to our main website and blog:

With all best wishes for 2013,

the SWC team

Speakeasy – Members Only Fling!

Thursday 19th July at 7pm, Club Room, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

To say ‘Thank-you’ for those supporting us with paid memberships, to announce our 100th Member and announce further benefits. Hope to see you there! Please RSVP to



Gaelic Drama Daolag (Bug) Featuring: Beth Frieden – the woman, Rick Rennie – the man, Catriona Lexy Campbell- hotel owner.

Reading – DOUGLAS THOMPSON – 3 Poems – ‘dear grey place’, ‘Nuances of Dreich’, ‘Snow’.

Reading – J. DAVID SIMONS ‘PALESTINE 1919 – DECISIONS, DECISIONS’ (extract from novel The Land Agent (Forthcoming, Five Leaves, 2014).


Gaelic Writers’ Group – DAVID EYRE and ALISON LANG.

Reading – RAYMOND SOLTYSEK, ‘The Beauty that Brendan Sees’.

Reading – ANGELA BLACKLOCK-BROWN – 3 Poems – ‘The Knock’, ‘Road Rhythms’, ‘Crossing Point’.



Reading – JACQUELINE SMITH – ‘Dumbie & the Devil’.

Closing Remarks

The SWC Autumn Programme

Scottish Writers’ Centre Autumn Programme

August – October

Tuesday 21 August 2012, 7pm

International Event featuring Christoph Simon and Iosi Havilio, with Stefan Tobler (And Other Stories)

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is pleased to host an evening of exciting new voices from the international literary scene. And Other Stories publish contemporary writing that is mind-blowing, often ‘challenging’ (Maureen Freely) and ‘shamelessly literary’ (Stuart Evers). Join us for a memorable night of dazzling prose in the company of Christoph Simon (Zbinden’s Progress) and Iosi Havilio (Open Door), together with publisher Stefan Tobler.

Featuring Donal McLaughlin and Beth Fowler (trans.).

Readings, discussion, book signing

Christoph Simon was born in 1972 in Emmental, Switzerland. After travels through the Middle East, Poland, South America, London and New York, he has settled in Berne. His first novel, Franz, or Why Antelopes Run in Herds (2001) has sold over 10,000 copies, while Planet Obrist (2005) was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Zbinden’s Progress is his fourth and already highly acclaimed book- Winner of the Bern Literature Prize 2010.

Iosi Havilio was born in Buenos Aires in 1974. Open Door is his first novel. His second novel is Estocolmo (Stockholm, 2010) and he is currently working on a novel that follows on from Open Door. He has become a cult author in Argentina after Open Door was highly praised by the outspoken and influential writer Rodolfo Fogwill and by the most influential Argentine critic, Beatriz Sarlo.

Stefan Tobler is the founder of And Other Stories.

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is supported by Glasgow Life

Thursday 13th September 2012, 7pm – CCA Cinema

Bernard MacLaverty – In Process

Award-winning writer Bernard MacLaverty presents a Masterclass on adaptation. MacLaverty will discuss the process of adapting his fiction from the page to the screen with readings from his screenplays and novels and showing short excerpts of his films.

Readings, film excerpts, discussion – led by a master craftsman.

MacLaverty has published five collections of short stories, including, A Time to Dance and Other Stories and Matters of Life and Death, and is the author of four novels Cal, Lamb, Grace Notes and The Anatomy School. Grace Notes was short-listed for the Man-Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel, and won the 1997 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year.

MacLaverty writes for radio and television and adapts his fiction for other media, taking it to a diverse audience. His screenplays for Cal and Lamb were made into major films and starred Helen Mirren (Cal) and Liam Neeson (Lamb). In 2003, MacLaverty wrote and directed ‘Bye-Child’, a short film based on the Seamus Heaney poem of the same name. He was awarded a BAFTA in Scotland Award (Best First Director) and ‘Bye-Child’ was nominated for Best Short Film at the British Academy Film Awards.

Tickets £6 (£3) from CCA Box Office 0141 352 4900

In Process series is supported by the Scottish Book Trust and Glasgow Life


 Thursday, 27th September 2012, 7pm

Screenwriting for Writers Who Write Other Things

Are you a poet? An aspiring or published novelist? A journalist who wants to change career? Do you want to add the art and science of screenwriting to your box of tricks?

As with all writing forms, screenwriting is about ideas and it has its own rules and practices. There are reasons for these but they are not always easy to see or understand. Writers new to the field often resist the different demands of screenwriting because as a collaborative medium it seems to go against everything they’ve done before, and everything they’ve learned.

Writer and lecturer David Manderson leads a short introduction and follow-up workshop to introduce the working writer to some of the pressures on the screenwriter as opposed to the poet or novelist. It looks at the divergences between screenwriting and these other forms, particularly in terms of structure, and outlines some basic dramatic theory. It then covers the essentials of writing for the world of the screen.

Attendees will be introduced to the world of writing for the screen through watching, discussing and analysing short films. Ideas will be work-shopped in small groups and there will be an opportunity to take part in a follow-up workshop where attendees will complete a short screenplay.

David Manderson is the author of Lost Bodies. He lectures on creative writing, scriptwriting, and screenwriting and is course leader for the Creative Industries BA at the UWS.

Tickets £40 from CCA Box Office 0141 352 4900

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is supported by Glasgow Life

Thursday 11th October 2012, 7pm

Writing for the Ninth Art: Workshop and Debate on Comics and Graphic Novels
Are comics just for kids? Does graphic fiction, like Watchmen, deserve more respect? How do writers approach the art of adaptation? Gordon Robertson leads a panel debate and practical workshop on graphic fiction and comics.

The French recognise Bande Dessinée as a genuine art form but here in the UK it’s still seen mainly as something for geeks and children. The success and critical acclaim for graphic novels such as Maus and Persepolis, and the cross-over success of the seminal superhero collection Watchmen, is not reflected in how comics are perceived. Comics still don’t get the respect they deserve. Or do they?

Join the discussion. Learn how to write graphic fiction and adapt your writing into a different medium. Gordon Robertson is the founder of the Glasgow League of Writers and writer of the ArseCancer comic strip.

Tickets £6 (£3) from CCA Box Office 0141 352 4900

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is supported by Glasgow Life

Thursday, 25th October 2012, 7pm –In Process with Liz Lochhead

Liz Lochhead, Scots Makar and ‘Scotland’s greatest living dramatist’ leads a Masterclass on creative process and the craft of play writing. Come and be inspired by a writer of great warmth and power.

Readings, discussion and book signing.

Lochhead’s plays include Blood and Ice (1982), first performed at the Edinburgh Traverse in 1982; Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1989); Dracula (1989); Cuba (1997), Perfect Days (1998), a romantic comedy, first performed at the Edinburgh festival in 1998, and Good Things (2006).

Lochhead translated and adapted Molière’s Tartuffe (1985) into Scots, premiered at the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum in 1987, and the script of her adaptation of Euripides’ Medea (2000) for Theatre Babel in 2000 won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award. In her play Misery Guts (2002), based on Molière’s The Misanthrope, the action is updated to the modern-day Scottish Parliament.

Her work for television includes Latin for a Dark Room, a short film, screened as part of the BBC Tartan Shorts season at the 1994 EIFF, and The Story of Frankenstein for Yorkshire Television.

Liz Lochhead, writer, dramatist, poet, and broadcaster was appointed Scots Makar in 2011. Her latest book is A Choosing: The Selected Poetry of Liz Lochhead, published in 2011.

Tickets £6 (£3) from CCA Box Office 0141 352 4900

In Process series is supported by the Scottish Book Trust and Glasgow Life

Scottish Writers’ Centre Debate: Wild Writing, Thursday 21 June, CCA Cinema, Glasgow, 7:30pm

Wildness, nature, eco-criticism, cityscapes, landscape, poetry walks…

How does nature and wildness inspire your writing? How does place inspire creativity? How do you write about a place you’ve never visited? What’s your favourite Scottish place? Are landscape and place limiting to creativity?

Join writer Peter Mackay, best-selling novelist Sara Sheridan, and Reader Development Co-ordinator Claire Stewart from the Scottish Book Trust, poet Ken Cockburn and others, to debate and discuss wildness and writing.

Sara Sheridan is an Edinburgh-based historical novelist who writes two different kinds of books. One is a series of cosy crime noir mysteries set in Brighton in the 1950s – Brighton Belle – and the other is a set of novels based on the real-life stories of late Georgian and early Victorian explorers and adventurers set in exotic locations (1820 -1845) – The Secret Mandarin and Secret of the Sands. Tipped in Company and GQ, she has been nominated for a Young Achiever Award. She received a Scottish Library Award for Truth or Dare, her first novel, and was shortlisted for the Saltire Book Prize.

An occasional journalist and blogger, Sara appears on BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and blogs for the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She is a twitter evangelist and a self-confessed swot. Sara sits on the Committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland where she lives and also on the board of the UK-wide writers’ collective ’26’ and took part in the acclaimed 26 Treasures project in 2010 at the V&A, in 2011 at National Museum of Scotland and in 2012 at the Children’s Museum, Bethnal Green.

Sara is a member of the Historical Writers Association and the Crime Writers Association. Sara also mentors for the Scottish Book Trust.

twitter: @sarasheridan

Claire Stewart is Reader Development Co-ordinator at the Scottish Book Trust. Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to over 10 million people worldwide.

The Scottish Book Trust and BBC Scotland have launched an exciting new writing project to encourage people to write about the place in Scotland that they love the most.

My Favourite Place in Scotland runs from 19th March to 31st August 2012, and in that time Scottish Book Trust wants to involve everyone in Scotland in building a written picture of Scotland’s best-loved places.



Dr Peter Mackay/Pàdraig MacAoidh is Writer-in-Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye, and a freelance Writer and Journalist. He was Seamus Heaney Centre Research Fellow attached to the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies. Educated at the Nicolson Institute, Glasgow University and Trinity College, Dublin, his PhD was on ‘The Influence of William Wordsworth on Seamus Heaney’. He is currently working on an anthology of Gaelic transgressive verse.

Peter’s pamphlet of poems From Another Island was published by Clutag Press in 2010; he has also written a monograph, Sorley MacLean (RIISS, 2010) and co-edited Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2011). His poems have been widely published in Scotland, England and Ireland. He has also worked as a Broadcast Journalist for BBC Alba.

Ken Cockburn is a poet, editor, translator, and writing tutor. He was Fieldworker and Assistant Director of the Scottish Poetry Library (1996-2004), Project Co-ordinator of the Edwin Morgan Library there (2008-09) and held a residency in the John Murray Archive at the NLS. Awarded a Creative Scotland Vital Sparks award in 2010-2011, in collaboration with Alec Finlay and others, he undertook The Road North: a year-long journey through the Scottish landscape composing a contemporary word-map of Scotland in a journey that recalled the journey made by the seventeenth-century poet Basho, whose Oku-no- Hosomichi [Narrow Road to the Deep North] is considered one of the masterpieces of travel literature.

Ken has published two poetry collections, Souvenirs and Homelands (1998) and On the flyleaf (2007), as well as a collection of translations of German poets, Feathers & Lime (2007). With Alec Finlay he ran pocketbooks, an award-winning series of books of poetry and visual art (1999-2002) and has edited several anthologies, including, The Order of Things: an anthology of Scottish sound, pattern and concrete poems (2001) and Tweed Rivers (2005). Recent publications include a collaboration with artists ~in the fields, Ink, and Overheard Overlooked: Found Poems (both 2011).

An evening of Gaelic Readings, Music and Song, Saturday 9th June

The Scottish Writers’s Centre will hold this event in the CCA Club Room at 7:30pm. Hope you can come along and join us!

Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú presents Oíche na Scribhneoirí – Irish & Scottish Gaelic Writers’ Night – part of Féile na Gaeilge Glaschú 2012 (Glasgow’s Irish Language Festival)

Renowned writer’s group, Ciorcal Scribhneoireachta Gaoth Dobhair from the Donegal Gaeltacht visit Scotland together for the first time to present readings from their recently published book of poems and short stories go dtí an lá ban

Featuring Máirín Uí Fhearraigh, Síle Uí Ghallchóir, Máire Wren and Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride, alongside local Gaidhlig writers, including Catriona Lexy Campbell of the SWC Gaelic Writers’ Group and Alison Lang. Singer/musicians performing and accompanying readings, include, Doiminic Mac Giolla Bhride and Kayla Reed.

Stories and poems will be introduced in English as well as Gaeilge/Gaidhlig to help non-fluent speakers.

For further information and press – Contact Evin Downey, Development Officer Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú,, 0141 433 9495

Support for this event has been provided by Comhairle nan Leabhairchain and the Irish Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘Emigrant Support Programme’ and by Colmcille ( which promotes links between Irish and Scottish Gaelic communities.

CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

This week at the Scottish Writers’ Centre

Scots/English Writing Group, Monday 28th May, 7pm

with Liz Niven in the SWC 1st Floor Office at the CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Supported by the Scottish Book Trust.

Poetry Reading Group, Wednesday May 30th, 7.30pm

SWC 1st Floor Office

Hub Session – Thursday May 31st, 1 – 4pm

SWC Writers’ Hub-A drop-in facility for Writers Working in Scotland

1pm – Film of TED talk (5) – James Geary, Clubroom at the CCA

1.30pm – Discussion in the clubroom

2 – 4pm Workshop with Sarah MacDonald

The Gaelic Laboratory Project is happening as part of the collaborative ceilidh event with Ankur Productions on the 21st of June at the Garnethill Multicultural Centre. Sarah will introduce the theme of the event -‘gathering’ and explore what this means to everyone present at the workshop. From there and through an interactive exercise we will begin to build on some of our initial ideas helping to create short pieces of storytelling that we will share at the event.  These stories may just be fragments at this stage-poems, poetry, songs, dances, piece of drama, texts etc.  No need to speak/write in Gaelic!!

Scottish Writers’ Centre Great Debate Thursday 24th May

Scottish Writers’ Centre Great Debate

“Other Worlds- Other Dimensions: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, do they have a place in Literature?” CCA, Club Room Thursday, 24th May, 7pm. FREE All Welcome


We want to hear your opinions about the place of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and magic realism in comics, novels (graphic or text), poetry, and the short story. Come and join our panellists in our sixth Great Debate and Discussion event for 2012.


John Birch

John is a Curator at the National Library of Scotland. He has contributed to Discover Magazine on topics associated with exhibitions he’s curated, such as Local Heroes: The Art of the Graphic Novel (2008). He is the curator of the current exhibition, ‘It’s Life Jimmy, But Not As We Know It: Science Fiction in Scotland’, which displays the first Scottish fiction novel and shows connections between science fiction and Scottish writers.

Tweeting as @NLSLearn


Roy Gill

Roy holds a PhD in Media Fandom from Stirling University, and in 2007, gained an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow. He has taught and lectured on English and Film, and has written essays, articles and reviews for Critical Quarterly; Media, Culture and Society, and Creeping Flesh.  He was shortlisted for the Sceptre Prize in 2008, and in 2009 the Scottish Book Trust awarded Roy a New Writer’s Award. His short fiction has appeared in Fractured West and Algebra: Tramway’s literary magazine. His first novel, The Daemon Parallel, was shortlisted for the 2011 Kelpies Prize and has just been published by Floris.

Tweeting as @roy_gill

v Praise for Roy Gill: “Without doubting for a second [The Daemon Parallel’s] originality, it’s like a version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere for teenagers – and there’s not much higher praise than that…”, Krissie West (Kids Read Books); “I adored [The Daemon Parallel]. I really, really want it to be the first in a sequence. I want it to be a boxed set of novels that are just about falling apart with repeated rereadings. That’s how much I enjoyed this first one”, Paul Magrs


Kirsty Logan

Kirsty holds an MLitt (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Glasgow University. Her award-winning short stories, flash fiction, and poetry are regularly included in anthologies, such as Best British Short Stories 2011 and literary magazines and zines, like Pank, and have been adapted for BBCR4. She co-edits flash-fiction magazine Fractured West and reviews for We Love this Book. Kirsty’s creative non-fiction has appeared in The Boston Globe and The [Glasgow] Herald and she is a columnist for Ideas Tap. In 2009, Kirsty won the Gillian Purvis Award for New Writing and the same year the Scottish Book Trust awarded her a New Writers Award. Her short story ‘Tiger Palace’ is short-listed for the 2012 Glass Woman Prize. Kirsty is currently putting together a short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales and polishing her debut novel, Rust and Stardust.

Tweeting as @kirstylogan

v Praise for Kirsty Logan: [’Primogeniture’] is “original, very well written and genuinely disturbing”; [‘Underskirts’] is “a weird and enthralling tale of sexual transgression, told in a series of prose-poem monologues. Robert Browning meets Adrienne Rich: terrific”, Zoe Heller



Gordon Robertson

Gordon is a founding member of the Glasgow League of Writers. He is a co-creator of the award-winning arsecancer webcomic and the comic book editor of GEEKChocolate. Gordon is longlisted in the new writer category of the 2012 Eagle Awards.

Tweeting as @slackergordon

v Praise for ArseCancer: “…incredibly funny, jaw-droppingly honest, and, frankly, inspiring….it puts your daily woes into perspective “, Comic Heroes; “…It’s weirdly saddening and hilarious at the same time“, Comics Anonymous


Douglas Thompson

Douglas’s short stories have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including, Ambit and New Writing Scotland; most recently, his short story ‘Eleanor’ was included in The Inkermen’s collection titled, Book. He won the Grolsch/Herald Question of Style Award in 1989 and second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2007. Douglas is a prize-winning novelist of surreal and wondrous fiction: his first book, Ultrameta, by Eibonvale Press was nominated for the Edge Hill Prize and shortlisted for the BFS Best Newcomer Award, which he followed up with Sylvow and Apoidea (The Exaggerated Press). His fourth novel, Mechagnosis is coming out with Dog Horn this summer. He’s currently posting a series of ‘Postcards from the Future’ on the Elsewhen Press blog and later this year Elwewhen will publish his speculative fiction novel Entanglement.

Tweeting as @UrbanSurrealist

v Praise for Douglas Thompson: [Ultrameta] is a “strange . . . disturbing but certainly magical mystery tour of the extremities of human experience”, Joy Hendry, Chapman Magazine; “Thompson uses the tropes of the fantastic in unique and compelling ways while at the same time creating vivid and fully realized protagonists…”,   Mike O’Driscoll, Interzone


Neil Williamson

Neil’s first story was published in Territories in 1993 and since then his stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies. An enhanced edition of The Ephemera (Infinity Plus Books) was released in 2011. With Andrew Wilson, Neil co-edited Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction (Mercat Press) which was nominated for the 2006 World Fantasy Award and he’s also been nominated for the British Fantasy Award and the British Science Fiction Award. Neil is a member of the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle.

Tweeting as @neilwilliamson

v Praise for Neil Williamson: [The Ephemera] is “…an inventive, versatile and luminous debut. A cabinet of curiosities crammed with well-crafted, richly textured and utterly absorbing stories”, Andy Hedgecock, Interzone

Scots/English Writers’ Group Monday 14th May 7pm

Our Scots/English writers’ group, with Liz Niven, will meet at 7pm in the SWC 1st Floor Office at the CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Hope you can come along!

Don’t forget the SWC Writers’ Hub this Thursday 17th May, 2-5pm. There will be a film of TED Talk (4) by Chimamanda Adichie at 2.15pm in the clubroom and a repeat of TED Talk (3) by Amy Tan on ‘Creativity’ will be shown at 4.15pm. As always there will be time for discussions, library browsing for all and book borrowing for members. Come and join us for a cuppa and literary chat!

‘In Process’ Thursday 10th May, 7pm

Clubroom, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

‘Labour to Craft’ with Janet Paisley and Brian Whittingham

In the fifth of the SWC’s ‘In Process’ series, we offer a special event with two popular Scottish writers. Each will explore their process as writers, calling on their life experiences in the labour market, which have provided inspiration for their work. There will be opportunities for discussion and debate.

Next Writers’ Hub Session, Thursday 3rd May, 2-5pm

SWC Writer’s Hub – A drop-in facility for Writers Working in Scotland

2.15pm – Film of TED talk (3) Amy Tan on ‘Creativity’

2.40pm – Discussion in the Clubroom

3.00pm – Visiting the SWC Library for browsing, borrowing, tea, coffee and chat, SWC Office, 1st Floor CCA

3.45pm – Replay of TED Talk (2) by Chris Abani on ‘Stories of Africa’ – CCA Clubroom

4.15pm – Visiting the SWC Library for browsing, borrowing, tea, coffee and chat, SWC Office, 1st Floor CCA

If you would like to book a desk for 1, 2 or 3 hours please email