Posted by: scottishwriters | June 6, 2017

Bookmarked: Interview with Grace Banks

Ahead of tonight’s event with storyteller and author Grace Banks, SWC’s Literary Editor Rachel Walker chatted with her about her love of nature, the spellbinding world of the story and the importance of narratives in today’s modern world.
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You’re a storyteller, singer and author. Do you find that these three disciplines feed naturally into one another?  
Telling and creating stories are part of my fabric and something I have enjoyed since I was a wee toot. My love of song has naturally melded into this; they complement one another well. Recording the tales was a natural progression and, when given the opportunity, started with traditional tales and legends and am now beginning to record my nature tales and songs for the benefit of others.
Do you have a favourite Scottish legend or myth?
I have many I love, and some stories and songs that have been significant in my own journey, but in my experience, I’m finding more and more that the story appropriate for whatever listening circle I’m in will show itself, rather than me just telling a story.
You’ve mentioned previously that you find nature essential to artistic development. For you, is there any particular place that you feel most inspires your creativity?
I love the green and I love the sea, so sometimes my need is for wide open places, like Newburgh, which is just a few miles from my home, or sometimes out to a forest or woodland. It is the refreshment of laying aside the busyness and just being; resting in the life around me, without the demands of a strident lifestyle.
Have you always been fascinated by myth and legend?
All my life I have been interested in tales – traditional, legends and those around me – what story places have hidden. Are there dwellings or graves beneath that round hill? Did a community live around here? What were their lives like? I love the opportunity to speak with the older generation to hear their tales, especially their own.
Finally: why do you think storytelling and ancient myth are important today?
In an age where everything moves so fast and eyes are glued to screens which appear to be extensions of human hands, the need for the living, breathing word is vital.
The ability of story to allow the learner to step into a world of their imagination – expanding the senses with colour, sounds, smells, tastes – is increasingly becoming a rare first-hand experience in our digital world. Story is often about relationships with others, or the land or nature. It gives room for the listener to reflect, often subconsciously, on their own lives and their place in relation to who and what is around them. There is very little repetition in our modern day society – most things have to be new or changed to be acceptable. Stories are like aged stones;  weathering and changing shape gradually, but they remain constant, valuable reminders of what has been and will be again, for those who care to stop and listen.
The elders of old would be the ones to guide and impart wisdoms and truth, so the caretakers of tales need to cherish the rich tapestry of the past to provide individuals and communities with the opportunity to see beyond the ‘selfie’.
Thank you so much to Grace for her wonderful words of inspiration! Please come along to the CCA tonight for a chance to learn more about Grace’s process and thoughts – all are welcome! 
Posted by: scottishwriters | May 25, 2017

Fierce Poetry in Motion

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‘The heart that beats within me is not the one I was born with’ is the poignant opening line to Angela Hughes’ poetry film ‘The Heart That Beats (is Not Mine)’. Hughes’ poem about receiving a heart that is not your own is a perfect elucidation of the nature of poetry film as a medium, a genre which investigates the problems of a split self. What happens when we split the voice from the body? The writers featured in the Scottish Writers’ Centre’s most recent event, ‘Fierce Poetry in Motion’ see this challenge as an ideal chance for writers to explore new creative possibilities.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | April 27, 2017

Red Squirrel Press: What Do Short Stories Look Like?

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The independent Northumbrian publisher Red Squirrel Press is, according to one of SWC’s Directors Derek Parkes, ‘one of the finest publishers going’. Founded in 2006 by Sheila Wakefield and having published over 130 titles to date, Red Squirrel Press is a firm favourite at the Scottish Writers’ Centre, and have showcased many a talented writer at the SWC over the years. Their latest offering, ‘What Do Short Stories Look Like?’ proves to be another treat from one of our favourite independent publishers in Britain.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | April 13, 2017

Plain Speaking: Real People and Realistic Dialogue with Andi Denny

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Following on from last week’s event with theatre-maker Andi Denny, SWC’s Literary Content Officer Saskia McCracken discusses Denny’s new theatre company The Other Guys. Read on for a taste of what’s new on the Glasgow theatre scene.

Scottish Writers’ Centre recently welcomed Andi Denny, founder and creative director of The Other Guys Theatre Scotland. During the course of the evening, Andi treats us to insights into the current ‘amateur dramatics’ scene in Scotland, and the importance of realistic dialogue in contemporary scriptwriting. But first, that dirty word ‘amateur’.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | April 6, 2017

New Voices in Literature

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A shot of our fantastic crowd!

With a fresh spring breeze in the air, on the 14th March we gathered for another fabulous writers’ showcase! Our ‘New Voices in Literaure’ event was a chance for new writers to read out their work, and with it brought a wealth of talent from a diverse range of people. At the Scottish Writers’ Centre, our mission statement has always been to ‘promote Scotland’s vibrant literary culture’, and this event brought much in the way of vibrancy. From a dark trio of sonnets to a dryly comedic short story; from questions on the significance of fate and destiny to a humorous ballad on winter festivities, the night offered something for everyone.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | March 28, 2017

Bookmarked: Andi Denny’s Take on Scottish Theatre

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Ahead of today’s event with theatre-maker Andi Denny, SWC’s Literary Editor Rachel Walker spoke to him about his theatre company The Other Guys, his advice for budding professionals, and the importance of realism in contemporary theatre. 

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Posted by: scottishwriters | March 23, 2017

Transatlantic Creative Writing Showcase

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Ahead of our New Voices in Literature evening, we’re looking back at last week’s event, where we celebrated the work of emerging – and some very established – writers. Last Tuesday we welcomed the Transatlantic Literary Women Series to the Scottish Writers’ Centre for an evening of poetry and prose that engaged with the transatlantic theme.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | March 20, 2017

Bookmarked: Top 5 Independent Publishers

Here at the Scottish Writers’ Centre we’re always excited by new literary talent. Poetry or prose, zines or blogs – we love it all! But one of the most exciting recent developments in Scotland – at least in the world of literature – is the undeniable growth of the independent publishing world. So, in the spirit of celebrating all of Scotland’s literary achievements, we have (with difficulty) created a list showcasing five of our favourite independent publishers. Read on for lots of reading inspiration!

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Posted by: scottishwriters | March 16, 2017

SWC Speakeasy: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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On the 14th February, the Club Room of the CCA was filled with many talented writers performing their work on all things related to love. Whether in the form of a poem or a short story; whether centred on the joys of love or the heartbreak that surrounds it, our Valentine’s Day Speakeasy was undoubtedly  a successful night. A huge thank you to all of our performers and, of course, our audience for such a great event!

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Posted by: scottishwriters | March 9, 2017

Catherine Hokin: Historical Fiction Masterclass

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Back in January, the SWC was lucky enough to welcome along writer Catherine Hokin for a masterclass in writing historical fiction. Catherine’s first novel, Blood and Roses – which focuses on the life of medieval queen Margaret of Anjou – was published in 2016 and in addition to being a novelist, Catherine is also a member of author collective The History Girls and a book reviewer and contributor to the Historical Writers’ Association. We can’t think of anyone better placed to guide us through the joys and difficulties of penning historical fiction!

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