Scottish Writers' Centre Blog

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

Archive for January, 2010


We are delighted to have received such positive feedback on the first in our series of events to be held at the CCA.

Comments in response to Donal’s readings both from his own short stories and his translations of Stella Rotenberg and Herta Mueller include the following:

a really good event.

a wonderful variety from the Stella Rotenberg to Donal’s own stories to the Herta Mueller. a great opening for the series of events


a great evening

– Donal spoke very well about translation


a really eye-opening and superb event


a fabulous reading

I look forward to the audio cd of the book


the readings were great and the discussion was fascinating


very well attended, great discussions

– a wonderful outward-looking and stimulating start to the new programme


We were also delighted to discover that Carol McKay has written about the event on her Blog:

Last week, I attended the first of the new monthly events staged by the Scottish Writers’ Centre, this one in the CCA in Glasgow. The spotlight for this inaugural session was on Donal McLaughlin, whose short story collection an allergic reaction to national anthems is published by Argyll. Donal may have lost his childhood’s Irish accent but his voice has lost none of that purring quality.  He draws on his Irish-Scottish childhood experiences for his stories but much else besides. Given what I’ve said, above, about my own reading, I found it interesting that he was able to differentiate clearly between the voices of multiple characters in his stories: that’s a true gift, as all the textbooks unite in warning writers away from using more than two or three characters in a short story (other than mentioning very minor characters, of course).

Particularly interesting in Donal’s session was the variety, given that he works as a literary translator as well as author. So, he read his translations of poems written by one of the Second World War’s many displaced people: Stella Rotenberg, a woman who has lived in England for over seventy years and is now in her nineties but who still writes in her native German. Moving poems, simply expressed and direct, and beautifully translated. We can express so much more truth when we write in our mother tongue, I believe – which is why I encourage my students to experiment with writing in their own dialect, whatever it may be. Writing in our own tongue opens up areas of our experience which we have overlaid and suppressed through adult life. A talented literary translator must enter into that other writer’s experience, adopt it as his own, then express it through the heart. As a displaced person himself, in a sense, Donal seems able to identify with the original writer’s quest for expression. He ended his session with a reading from a novel by the recent Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Herta Muller.


Thank you, Carol!

If you missed Donal’s event, be sure not to miss the next Writers’ Centre event at the CCA – at 7pm again, on 18 February – when Larry Butler will lead a celebration of the poetry of William Stafford. Full details can be found both here on the Blog and on our new Website!

Hope to see you there!



We are pleased to report that our new website has gone live. Same address as before!

Grateful thanks to Claire Quigley for all her hard work on this.

Thanks also to all who came along to the CCA on Thursday for Donal McLaughlin’s reading from his translations of Stella Rotenberg and Herta Mueller – as well as from his recent book, an allergic reaction to national anthems & other stories. It was good to see the place looking so busy – and we hope that the events planned for the months ahead will prove equally attractive and enjoyable.

Do keep an eye on our new website!

And remember: by subscribing to this Blog, you can be sure of always receiving any updated information from us.

SWC EVENTS: January-April 2010

We are pleased to announce details of our events between January and April 2010 – a programme which reflects our desire to be international in outlook. Initially, the events will be monthly – though two have been scheduled for April.  All events are FREE – and will be held at the CCA in Glasgow. Fuller details of the individual events will become available nearer the time.

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is grateful to the CCA and to Culture & Sport Glasgow for their generous support of its work.



Thursday 21 January at 7pm


Donal McLaughlin

Donal will read from his recent book – an allergic reaction to national anthems & other stories – as well as from his translations of German, Austrian and Swiss writers. For more details, see the previous Post immediately below.



Thursday 18 February at 7pm


William Stafford

Two Glasgow/Americans – Larry Butler & Donna Blackney – will lead this celebration of the work of William Stafford (1914-1993). Author of over 50 books, Stafford was a lifetime pacifist – and a conscientious objector in World War II when he began his habit of writing a poem before dawn everyday. The evening will include a short film, and anyone attending is invited to read a favourite Stafford poem. If you don’t know his work, have a look at



A Poetry Collage Workshop

Thursday 18 March at 7pm


Gerrie Fellows

This workshop, run by the poet GERRIE FELLOWS, will explore how the technique of collage can be used to incorporate a diversity of voices into a poem. Our lives are a confab of many different kinds of language: from the lists of everyday life to the jargons of technology; from the precision of medicine to the emotive word stock of place or plant names. The aim of this workshop is to find ways of playing with these sometimes conflicting languages, opening them up to the imagination.

Gerrie Fellows’ fourth collection, Window for a Small Blue Child (Carcanet), is a sequence of poems about fertility treatment in which the language and images of medical technology interact with those of the body in the natural world. Described as ‘an exciting and important book that extends the territory of poetry’, it was shortlisted for the Sundial Scottish Poetry Book of the Year. New Zealand born, but long resident in Scotland, her earlier collections The Duntroon Toponymy and The Powerlines, brought together the voices and geographies of those two countries. In 2008-9 she was the first mentor for Glasgow’s Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeships.



Thursday 8 April at 7pm


Peter Robertson

Peter Robertson, the Argentinian-based editor of international literary quarterly, will join the Scottish Writers’ Centre to celebrate the publication, in March, of his feature on ‘Glasgow Voices‘. Some of the contributors will be present to read from their poetry and fiction. Go to to access this very interesting e-magazine.



Thursday 29 April at 7pm


Carol Bracho

David Huerta

Victor Teran

2010 is the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. To mark the occasion, the Scottish Writers’ Centre will team up with St Mungo’s Mirrorball (Glasgow) and the Poetry Translation Centre (London) to present a trio of Mexican poets: Coral Bracho and David Huerta (who write in Spanish) and Victor Teran (who writes in Zapotec, an indigenous and endangered Mexican language). Coral is translated by Katherine Pierpoint & Tom Boll; David by Jamie McKendrick & Tom Boll; and Victor by David Shook. Expect an evening of readings and lively discussion!


The Scottish Writers’ Centre will be holding regular events at the CCA in Glasgow from Thursday, 21 January 2010.

Full details of events between now and the Spring should be available later this week.

First up, on 21 January, is writer and translator Donal McLaughlin.

Donal will read from his recent book – an allergic reaction to national anthems & other stories (argyll) – as well as from his translations, which include the poems of Stella Rotenberg and an extract from the latest novel by Nobel prize winner Herta Müller. Donal has also translated over fifty Swiss authors for inclusion in various anthologies. For further information about Donal and his work, visit

In the second part of this event, those present will have the opportunity to discuss issues relating to translation, including working with a translator / interpreter and doing events abroad.

Please join us.

VENUE: CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

TIME: 7pm on Thursday, 21 January


The event will finish by 8.30pm – but discussions can continue in the bar.

Copies of Donal’s book will be on sale.

Please note: The new website of the Scottish Writers’ Centre will go live soon.

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is grateful to the CCA and to Culture & Sport Glasgow for their generous support of its work.