Scottish Writers' Centre Blog

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


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!


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