Blog
What is in my head today?

Watch this: The Fox and the Child

I have loved foxes since the age of six and still do to this day.  I’m not sure whether this grew from catching sight of one during one of my Dad’s famous Sunday country runs in the car or through an appearance by Basil Brush on Crackerjack, but I very quickly grew to love them. Around …

It’s all over for Bolt…or is it?

The world was shocked last night as the fairy tale ending we all predicted for Usain Bolt was rewritten as he finished third in the 100m at the World Championships in London.  Perhaps that shock was exacerbated as it was the practically-forgotten pantomime villain of 2015, Justin Gatlin, who won the race gaining a chorus …

Two works collide

I rarely mention the day job and of course there IS a day job: poetry and short stories don’t pay much and mine exemplify that spectacularly. My day job involves developing web content for Wood Group in Aberdeen and that content is usually industry-specific and dry.  However, now and then a story drifts into one …

Do you want to hear a story?

Do you want to hear a story? Try the Aberdeen Storytelling Festival this weekend. Yesterday I popped along to the launch of the Aberdeen Storytelling Festival, a unique event taking place in one of the shop units in Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Centre. We were welcomed with a short speech by the Deputy Lord Provost and …

The Writers’ Room

The Writers’ Room is a nine-week programme run by Creative Learning (Aberdeen City Council) for emerging writers to develop their professional practice and, since the beginning of May, I’ve been a part of it. We’ve had sessions looking at our creative “journey” so far; how we publicise ourselves (this shiny new website you’re looking at …

Under New Ownership

There has been a regular poetry night at Books and Beans since 2003 when it became the venue for evenings run by the Dead Good Poets group.  For as long as I have been going, however, the night has been run by poet Olivia McMahon and, after putting on a long list of poets from …

National Poetry Day Challenge 2016

It’s National Poetry Day once again and time for my annual challenge on Twitter for themes to write short poems on during the day. First this year is a request for a poem about Elgin – which happens to be my home town – from Shelagh Toonen.   Elgin When you hear the Elgin local …

Coming to Montrose

This Saturday (3rd September) I will be reading my poetry at 2.30pm in the William Lamb Memorial Studio in Montrose. Joining me will be two of the finest poets in Aberdeenshire: Haworth Hodgkinson and Catriona Yule, both members of the Blue Salt Collective. I haven’t finalised my set as yet but I hope to include …

God Bless Us, Everyone

One hundred and fifty years after Charles Dickens visited Aberdeen, the international Dickens Fellowship came to the Granite City for their annual conference. Having been a member of judging panel of the short story competition that ran immediately before the conference, I was invited to two events that made up this exciting celebration of one …

Aberdeenshire Pupils Poetry Competition

The fabulous Better Read Books shop in Ellon ran a competition open to Aberdeenshire school pupils throughout November and, last Friday, I gathered with fellow poets Haworth Hodgkinson, Catriona Yule and Fred and Francis Crawford to discuss the entries over cuppas and sandwiches on the shop floor. The pupils were offered two themes – ‘winter’ …

Scottish Children’s Book Awards

Yesterday, in my capacity as a local Reading Champion, I was invited to an event at the Beach Ballroom for Aberdeen schoolchildren to hear from the three writers nominated in the 8-11 category for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Nine hundred children packed into the venue to hear writers Elizabeth Laird, Ross MacKenzie and Gillian …

National Poetry Day Challenge 2015

As I have done on most National Poetry Days in recent years, I issued an open challenge on Twitter to my followers for poem requests. Happily, I received three responses which allowed me to get my poetry hat back on for the first time in a while. I should note that these were mainly concocted …

Down and Out in Aberdeen

Bedtime stories World Book Night on Wednesday coincided with a wonderful display of charity by a group of RGU students who took part in an overnight sleepover on the roof of the St Nicholas Centre in aid of Aberdeen Cyrenians. I was delighted to join Catriona Yule in delivering a few bedtime stories to the …