Scottish Writers' Centre Blog

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

Archive for April, 2012

Gaelic Writing Group Tonight, 7-9pm

Our Gaelic Writing Group will meet tonight in the SWC 1st Floor Office at CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Hope you can come along!

Don’t forget the SWC Writers’ Hub this Thursday, 2-5pm. There will be a TED Talk by Amy Tan on ‘Creativity’ at 2.15pm and a repeat of Chris Abani’s ‘Stories of Africa’ at 4.15pm. There will be discussion, library browsing for all and book borrowing for members. Come and join us for a cuppa and literary chat!


SWC Great Debate, Thursday 26th April, 7pm

Clubroom, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Come and get your copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy at the SWC World Book Night Giveaway and stay to give your tuppenceworth in another SWC Great Debate – ‘All the Languages of Scotland’

Our fifth great Debate and Discussion event for 2012, ‘All the Languages of Scotland’ discusses all the languages and voices of Scotland. Scotland is multi-vocal but the majority of books are written and published in English. Is Gaelic a minority language? Does Scots dialect transfer to the page? What about voices from across the globe who have made Scotland their home – are they heard and read? Is literature in translation a poor relation of English literature? Are all writers considered equal by publishers and booksellers? Do they want to be—do you want to be?

Leela Soma will lead a panel of voices, including Catriona Lexy Campbell, Kusay Hussain, Alan Riach, and Sue Reid Sexton. Come along on Thursday and join in the debate. Tell us what the Scottish Writers’ Centre can do to ensure that all voices are heard.

First meeting of the SWC (Scots/English) Writing Group

Monday 23rd April 7-9pm

The group will meet in the SWC Office, 1st Floor, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Please bring a piece of prose (maximum 2000 words) or poetry (maximum 30 lines) with you.

Next Hub Session This Thursday 19th April, 2-5pm

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

2.15pm – Film of TED Talk (2) by Chris Abani on ‘Stories of Africa’ – CCA Clubroom

2.40pm – Discussion in the Clubroom

3pm – Visiting the SWC Library for browsing, borrowing, tea, coffee and chat, SWC Office, 1st Floor CCA

3.45pm – Replay of TED Talk (1) by Elizabeth Gilbert on ‘Nurturing Creativity’ – CCA Clubroom

5pm – 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

Gaelic Writing Group with Catriona Lexy-Campbell and Maureen McLeod

Our new Gaelic Writing Group will have its first meeting today Monday 16th April, 7 – 9pm in the SWC Office, 1st floor at the CCA. Hope you’ll be able to make it.

‘In Process’ Masterclass with Alan Bissett Thursday 12th April

Novelist to Playwright 7pm CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

This Thursday we’re delighted to have Alan Bissett running a Masterclass. Alan is a novelist, playwright and performer from Falkirk who now lives in Glasgow. In 2011 he was named Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writer of the Year. His play Turbo Folk was shortlisted for Best New Play at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2010. He wrote and performed his own ‘one-woman show’ The Moira Monologues which toured Scotland to great acclaim and is now in development with the BBC. His novels include Boyracers (2001) The Incredible Adam Spark (2005) and Death of a Ladies’ Man (2009), which was shortlisted for a Scottish Arts Council Fiction of the Year prize. His most recent book Pack Men (2011) was called a ‘landmark in Scottish fiction’ by Irvine Welsh. The short film which he wrote and narrated The Shutdown has won awards at several major international film festivals and was shortlisted for a Scottish BAFTA.

International Women’s Day Poetry Book Launch Update

The launch in March went very well and several people asked to see the poem ‘Signalling’ by Amy Anderson and A C Clarke posted on our blog, so here it is. The poem, conceived as a dialogue between a younger and an older woman, is a joint production by Amy Anderson (who poses the questions) and A C Clarke, who offers the answers.


Knowing when the clouds will greet their soft welcome

Knowing is for the young.  I know only

that rain, lashing rain, with an ice in its heart

storms out of the blue, that I cannot tell

where sunlight will strike.

How to make the sun a compass

Getting lost, an art I’ve never mastered,

goes beyond pointers:  sun, moon, stars.

Getting lost means having the nerve

to walk in circles, backwards,

over the edge. Trusting.

How to tell vision from illusion

Don’t try. Who knows

if the mad prophet’s beard

streams in the wind of his babble

or blown by the breath of the spirit?

Put out your hand to the dark.

How to read what is behind the mist

Behind-the-mist looms larger

than the patch of light we move in,

assumes the shape of dragon

or insurmountable cliff. There is no

looking ahead, only a path

you happen to take, finding later

the words to make it fit.

Knowing when to let the river carry away cherished things

Rinse your hands and watch the water

swirl your old skin away.

You do not step in the same hour twice

and all those things you carry at your heart

change with your blood.

Knowing when I should be still

I’d take lessons from a cat

which gives itself to sleep

with its whole being

lets itself fall

like a cushion,

at the last moment

brakes on its claws.

To know myself like childhood landscape

Childhood was orangejuice thick and sweet

as medicine, Vick’s vapour rub

stroked on in the light of a coalfire

coupons and everlasting

corned beef: a landscape

that doesn’t change.

I hope I never know my contours

so well I’m never taken by surprise.

To let my dark see the light

My dark sees the light

in the white ghost-shapes of words

poems which are

the other side of the self

slowly developing.

To let words fly away like egrets

would be a grace.

I strain too hard

to cage them.

When the fire in the grate will not flame

Strike matches until a stray spark kindles.

Go for a walk or a sleep and let the fire

light in its own time.

When I am an island on a cold continent

I remember every man (woman too)

is an island. We signal each other

like lighthouses

across acres of dark water,

guessing co-ordinates,  unaware

how close the pattern of our flashes.

When I am finally alone

The world will have ended.

While the world lives

no final,  no alone.

Even if I were barricaded

behind decades of waste

in a single room

part of me would be handed

to the future.