Posted by: scottishwriters | October 3, 2017

‘Nessie’s Diary’ Competition Winners

Scotland’s mythical legends are famous worldwide. From fire-breathing dragons to shape-shifting water spirits, our legendary beasts have inspired countless tales of drama and mystery. This year, their side of the story will finally be heard!

Scottish Writers’ Centre was thrilled to recently announce the winners of our children’s creative writing competition Nessie’s Diary. The competition asked entrants to envisage the unknown world of Nessie – the famous Loch Ness monster who has captured local and international imagination for centuries.

Here you can find the wonderful winning entries. We hope you enjoy reading them!


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Posted by: scottishwriters | October 2, 2017

Winners of ‘Nessie’s Diary’ competition announced

Scotland’s mythical legends are famous worldwide. From fire-breathing dragons to shape-shifting water spirits, our legendary beasts have inspired countless tales of drama and mystery. This year, their side of the story will finally be heard!

Scottish Writers’ Centre is thrilled to announce the winners of our recent children’s creative writing competition Nessie’s Diary. The competition asked entrants to envisage the unknown world of Nessie – the famous Loch Ness monster who has captured local and international imagination for centuries.  We wanted to hear all about the day-to-day life of Scotland’s most notorious loch dweller, and the school-children of Scotland definitely delivered.


We would like to thank everyone who entered Nessie’s Diary – the submissions were absolutely fantastic and wonderfully inventive, and we very much enjoyed exploring the funny, frightening and always imaginative worlds of Nessie. But unfortunately we can only choose three winners, and the three entrants whose interpretations most stood out to us were…


Winner: Greta Lawson (Netherlee Primary School)

First Runner-Up: Sam Boulton-Jones (Netherlee Primary School)

Second Runner-Up: Kirsty Simpson (Kilmacolm Primary School)


All three winners will receive National Book Tokens to spend in any bookshop across Scotland, and will have their winning entries featured on the Scottish Writers’ Centre website.

Posted by: scottishwriters | September 28, 2017

Water as Poetry Inspiration

On 4th of July the SWC welcomed Morelle Smith and George Colketto to the CCA Clubroom for an event based on how water inspires poetry. These two writers shared stories about their creative processes, the locations and events that inspired them, and the place water holds in their work.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | September 20, 2017

The House that Heals the Soul

Sunday 3rd September marked the closure of one of the CCA in Glasgow’s most triumphant exhibitions: The House that Heals the Soul. When I visited this temporary library in August, I saw a space dedicated to a love of literature, community, and generative discussion. The House that Heals the Soul offered an interactive exploration of the public library, its contributions to independent publishing, to cultivating a love of books, and to its possibilities of connection.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | September 13, 2017

Douglas Thompson: ‘Dirty Poetry to Die For’


Douglas Thompson kick starts the evening by taking us on a whirlwind tour of the poetry and philosophy that has influenced his interpretation of what love is. We are catapulted through the ages of love poetry, from Anna Akhmatova’s ‘Everything’ which Douglas believes describes the heightened state of awareness that experiencing love is akin to. Then to the links between love and death that are explored by many authors such as Leonard Cohen and Rainer Maria Rilke who speak to the heightened awareness of death that love can bring us.

Douglas suggests that poetry can emulate or describe this heightened state of awareness through images that are so vivid they remain with the reader long after they have finished the poem. Images of colour are, he argues, one of the most effective ways of achieving this as he describes the way he was completely taken over by the colour red that is evoked upon reading Edwin Morgan’s ‘Strawberries’. Not only does this poem provoke truly vivid images but also the feelings and emotions that go along with the image of the colour red. Douglas feels this poem is “erotic but not pornographic”, with a sense of illicit love woven throughout. This reflects many of the traditional associations with the rich red colour that we associate with the strawberries mentioned in this poem, including sensuality, romance, and perhaps even danger.

In the second part of the evening Douglas moves onto his own poetry, alongside which he also shows some of his own photography, graphic images and artwork by his late brother. Douglas explains that whilst links between the poems and images do exist he has no set rules for how to link a poem and an image. In some cases he has written a poem about an image, in some he has created an image specifically for a poem, and in other cases he has simply found that a certain poem and image fit well together despite having no prior intentions to put them together himself.

One of the first poems that Douglas reads for us is ‘Poem for November’ which is Douglas Thompson8presented alongside the image that he created for the poem after the poem itself was completed. ‘Poem for November’ is itself an image of a cold autumnal day that is interrupted, for the speaker, by a memory of what seems like warmer, sunnier days, when his love had not yet left him in the same way that just a glimpse of blue sky can sometimes break through dark clouds. It is possible to apply Douglas’ own earlier reading of the way in which love is similar to some sort of heightened state of awareness to his own poem here. The “humdrum” life the speaker is experiencing in the first part of the poem might not seem as if it owns itself to heightened awareness. It seems to me that the speaker has accepted his new life without his love and is simply trying to get through the grey days that now lie ahead. However, the way the “carnival flags defy the grey” later on suggests that the speaker maintains some of his previous “brief dreams of sweet escape” and “reckless flight”.

Douglas ends the evening by reading from his poem ‘The Submerged Princess’, which he created the image for before writing the poem. Looking at this complex image it is easy to see how the poem, which embodies so much varied female spirit, came about. I am particularly inspired by how multifaceted both Douglas’ poems and images are, every time I look back I notice shapes that were not there before that add new nuances to the poetry they accompany.

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Words by Kate Jackson











Posted by: scottishwriters | September 5, 2017

How to Get Published? Twitter Pitch Contest

On the 24th of October 2017, the Scottish Writers’ Centre and Red Squirrel Press are giving you the chance to get published!

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Posted by: scottishwriters | August 29, 2017

The Natural World of Stories, Legends and Songs with Grace Banks

Grace DB (1)Grace Banks’ interactive workshop centres itself around the art of storytelling and how each individual has a unique story to tell.

At the beginning of the workshop, Banks asks each participant to visualise a tree and then describe it to her. The responses are deeply descriptive, conjuring up everything from images of majestic willow trees brimming with gold leaves to bare and barren ones. Curiously, a couple of participants struggle to visualise one at all which enables Banks to make a very important point about how each individual has a different way of imagining and perceiving the world. Some think visually, and to some words are more pivotal.

No matter which category you fall under however, the significance which Banks places on the sheer power of the imagination is clear. As she clearly demonstrates over the night, ‘stories can take you anywhere’.

After reading out four short phrases to the participants – who each use one as a piece of stimulus for a short story – the results only serve to prove Banks’ point more. Each story, even those which start from the same idea, takes a completely different direction and is infused with each person’s own character and personal experience.

Banks’ workshop reveals that within each of us we have an ability to conjure up unique and powerful stories, all of which are infused with traces of our own selves.


Words by Rebecca Gaff

Posted by: scottishwriters | August 3, 2017

Ten Writers Telling Lies

On Tuesday 9th May 2017, the SWC were joined by ten extraordinary writers who came together to produce their eponymous book Ten Writers Telling Lies. Stephen Watt started the night off by explaining the project to the audience, stating that the group is a collective of ten writers who have written either short stories or pieces of poetry to correlate to the songs produced by musician Jim Byrne and friends. In other words, their aim for the project was to interweave music and literature in a single text.

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Posted by: scottishwriters | July 31, 2017

‘The Burrell Story’: Interview with Poet Sally Evans

Historical fiction is something that we’re all familiar with; historical poetry maybe somewhat less. On 1st August the SWC are delighted to be welcoming poet Sally Evans to the CCA for ‘The Burrell Story: History as Poetry with Sally Evans’, a fascinating insight into Sally’s own poetry collection, which draws upon the lives of William Burrell (the namesake of Glasgow institution the Burrell Collection), and the idea of using real stories to inform the complexity of poetry. Ahead of tomorrow’s event, SWC’s Literary Editor Rachel Walker talked to Sally about her poetry, and how research can help enhance the poetic imagination.

What prompted your interest in the Burrell family?

I first became interested in the Burrell family through visiting the Burrell Collection and reading about William Burrell – I wondered how an industrialist with little education and presumably fairly narrow views managed to become a world-class art collector. I also read about industrial Glasgow and the various industries for which shipping was a vital service, and the way of life and aspirations of the well-off industrialists. For example, William Burrell wanted his daughter Marion to marry into the aristocracy – although initially there was little information to be had on Marion. The important information about her life surfaced later. Read More…

Nairn Morelle and george

For many of us, the idea of summer is synonymous with water: refreshing swims in the sea, poolside lounging, exploring Scotland’s many beautiful lochs and rivers. So what better time to revisit water as a source of poetic inspiration? Tonight’s event looks set to be a riveting exploration of the creative link between water and poetry, and we’d love to see as many of you there as possible! Wondering what it’s all about? SWC’s Literary Editor Rachel Walker talked to fantastic featured poets Morelle Smith and George Colkitto about the lure of the natural world.

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