≈ September 12, 2019
Thanks to John Moody and everyone at the Glasgow Writing Group for a great dialogue workshop this evening, and thanks to the GOMA Library staff for letting us run on late (time flies when you’re enjoying yourself). Find out about the Glasgow Writing Group here.
≈ September 3, 2019
≈August 6, 2019
My next creative writing class will be starting on Thursday 26th September, at Glasgow Uni’s Open Studies Department. Ten weeks of exploring different kinds of creative writing: short stories, novels, poetry and drama. Suitable for writers of all levels, although nervous beginners are particularly welcome. Contact me for more details, or sign up here.
≈July 22 2019
Thanks to everyone at the Garnethill Writers’ Group for a great session this afternoon. Our next meeting is on Monday August 19th (1.00 – 4.00 pm). If you’d like to join us, you can find more details here.
≈July 5 2019
Revamping the Artwork page of my website, to show off Peter O’Rourke’s great images inspired by The Few and its upcoming sequel The Black Dog. Check them out here.
≈July 2 2019
Great creative writing workshop today with Hazlehead Academy’s Advanced Higher English students – a very bright and motivated group. I hope I’m asked back again next year.
≈June 20 2019
On behalf of the Clarkston Poetry Group, a sad goodbye to one of our founder members, Ian Caplan, who passed away two weeks ago. Ian was a true gentleman, who bore his last illness with great patience, and wore his immense learning very lightly. This was always his favorite.
≈April 4 2019
Thanks to the Glasgow Writing Group for a great workshop on creating characters tonight.
≈January 29 2019
Had a great time at the Falkirk Writers Circle tonight – it was a pleasure to adjudicate the Allan Brownlee Poetry Competition. Congratulations to winner Morven Mack, and to everyone who entered the contest.
≈January 11 2019
Looking forward to my new Introduction to Creative Writing class, which starts this Thursday (17th) at 1.00 in Glasgow University’s Open Studies department. Contact me for more details, or sign up here.
≈January 3 2019
Poetic Themes: an Introduction to Poetry
We’ll be looking at the major themes of poetry: love, nature, war, humor and mortality. No previous knowledge of poetry is required, although you’re welcome to nominate your favorite poems for class discussion. Contact me for further details, or book your place here.
≈December 13 2018
Congratulations to Anne Pettigrew, star of the Garnethill Writers’ Group, on the publication of her novel Not The Life Imagined by Ringwood. (And guess who gets a mention in the Acknowledgements…?) Buy the book from Amazon, or from Ringwood Publishing here.
≈November 11 2018
≈October 9 2018
Welcome back to everyone at the Clarkston Poetry Group this week. We kicked off with an old favorite – no matter how often we read it, we always find something new. If you’d like more details see here.
≈October 6 2018
Glad to hear I’ve been asked back to the Falkirk Writers’ Circle – I’ll be adjudicating the Alan Brownlee poetry competition in January.
≈October 2 2018
Thanks to everyone at the Falkirk Writers’ Circle for a great workshop on editing this evening. Hope to be invited back soon.
≈September 28 2018
Glad to hear the launch of thi wurd Issue 3 is happening next week, Weds 3rd October, at the Old Hairdressers in Renfield Lane. There’ll be readings by James Kelman and other writers. Only £2 – should be a great night. More details here.
≈September 27 2018
≈September 26 2018
Enjoyed hearing some wonderful new writing at the From Glasgow to Saturn launch at Dram! this evening. The highlight of the evening was hearing Mandy Watson, star of the Garnethill Writers’ Group, reading her story ‘Freedom’. Thanks to the organizers and participants for a great night.
≈September 24 2018
Looking forward to meeting the Falkirk Writers’ Circle on Tuesday 2nd October – we’re doing a workshop on editing fiction. By special request, my seasonal bear will also be attending, so I’ll have to look out his best suit for the occasion. Details here.
≈September 24 2018
Looking forward to the launch of the latest From Glasgow to Saturn this Wednesday, 26 September. One of the Gartnethill Writers Group, Mandy Watson, will be reading from the story she’s published in this issue; so I’ll be there to bask in her reflected glory. It’s free, and everyone’s welcome. Details here.
≈September 23 2018
Looking forward to next month’s meeting of the Garnethill Writers’ Group, in Garnethill Multicultural Centre. October’s session will be on the 22nd rather than the usual third Monday of the month (ie the 15th), but otherwise it’s business as usual. More details here.
≈September 17 2018
Looking forward to my next session of An Introduction to Creative Writing, which kicks off next week – Thursday 27th September, from 1.00 to 3.00, at Glasgow University Open Studies Department (for 10 weeks). We’ll be looking at writing short stories, novels, poetry and more. Suitable for anxious beginners, although more experienced writers are welcome too. More details here.
≈September 13 2018
Thanks to everyone at the Glasgow Writing Group for a great short story writing workshop today. The group’s based in the basement library in Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a supportive writing club in the city center. Hope to be invited back sometime soon. Check out their details on the SAW page here.
≈September 8 2018
Great session today at Aberdeen Central Library. Everyone very bright and engaged – we’ve got the makings of a wonderful collection of short stories. Looking forward to our next meeting on the 22nd.
≈September 3 2018
Looking forward to my visit to the Granite City this Saturday – the first of three writing workshops in Aberdeen Central Library. More details here .
≈September 2 2018
Looking forward to starting my new poetry reading class at the end of the month: Classic Poems, an Introduction to Poetry in English. We’ll be looking at outstanding verse in English and Scots, from Shakespeare to the present day: from Milton and Blake to Edwin Morgan and Carol Ann Duffy. No knowledge of poetry is required.
Starts Tuesday 25th September, from 7.00 – 9.00 pm, for 10 weeks. More information here.
≈July 29 2018
Looking forward to the Clarkston Poetry Group starting up again, this Tuesday afternoon in Duff Hall, Busby. We’re kicking off with some great poems about refugees and immigration. More details here.
≈July 25 2018
The next meeting of the Garnethill Writers’ Group will be going ahead on Monday 20th August (1.00-4.00 pm), in Garnethill Multicultural Centre on Rose St. (The Centre wasn’t too badly damaged in the fire, thank God, so it’s business as usual.) It’s open to everyone, so please contact me if you’d like more details.
≈July 19 2018
Thanks to my Intro to Creative Writing students for a great first session today. They’re a very bright and enthusiastic group – looking forward to working with them for the next ten weeks.
≈July 18 2018
I’m doing three Creative Writing workshops this autumn for Aberdeen Libraries – an introduction to writing poetry and prose, specially designed for nervous beginners. The workshops will take place every fortnight, so participants will have the chance to put their new skills into practice between sessions. Please email the Library service for more details, or contact me here.
≈July 11 2018
Looking forward to my new Introduction to Creative Writing course, which starts next week – Thursday 19th, from 1.00 to 3.00 – at Glasgow University. We’ll be looking at short stories, poetry, novels and non-fiction. Everyone’s welcome, experienced writers and nervous beginners alike.
Get in touch if you’d like more information, or check it out here.
≈April 19 2018
Looking forward to another six weeks of Community Learning writing workshops, starting this Wednesday at Westwood Hall in EK. Get in touch if you’d like to come along.
≈April 19 2018
Off to a great start with my Open Studies class at Glasgow Uni – Introduction to Creative Writing. A very bright and enthusiastic group of people, who rose to the workshop challenges brilliantly. Looking forward to the next nine weeks.
≈April 10 2018
Some of my Freight books, rescued from pulping and safely installed in the spare room. You can buy them signed from Amazon via HighRise Books, incidentally; and you’ll be able to purchase them from this website once I figure out how the card payments are supposed to work (this may take some time, so better stick to Amazon for now).
≈ March 29 2018
Normal service has been resumed! Both The Few and Cold City are now available on Kindle again. (Despite my technophobia I managed to upload the data files all by myself, and I’m feeling absurdly pleased about it.) Both ebooks are on special offer at the moment – only £1.99 each.
Check them out on my Amazon Author page here.
≈ March 28 2018
My new creative writing class starts next month:
***Creative Writing: Workshop***
10 weeks from Wednesday April 18, 1.00 – 3.00
Glasgow University Open Studies Department
This class introduces students to different approaches to writing fiction and poetry. We’ll look at narrative technique, voice and perspective, with sessions on writing dialogue, non-fiction and genre writing. Suitable for experienced writers and absolute beginners alike.
Contact me for more information, or sign up here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/study/short/book/course/ADED11452
≈ March 23 2018
The next meeting of the Writers’ Support Group will be Monday 23rd October, from 1.00 to 4.00 pm, at Garnethill Multicultural Centre in Glasgow (http://garnethillmc.co.uk/). Please contact me if you’d like to join us.
≈ March 23 2018
The Clarkston Poetry Group will be meeting again from Tuesday 24th April, 2.15 – 4.15 in Duff Hall in Busby. Looking forward to eight weeks of wonderful poetry by WB Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Jackie Kay and many more.
≈ March 2 2018
Please note that if anyone wants to buy my books on Kindle, they’re unavailable at the moment, while the ebook files are being transferred to me from Freight’s liquidators. I’ll have them back online as soon as I get the files from Booksource (which shouldn’t take long) and as soon as I figure out the technology for uploading them onto various websites (which given my level of techno-idiocy, may take quite a bit longer). Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible – in the meantime, there are still some paperback copies available on my Amazon page here.
≈ February 28 2018
Life imitating art: the cover of Cold City, and Paula Nugent‘s picture of Kelvingrove Park today. Winter is coming!
≈ February 16 2018
At the launch of My Learning Journey – an anthology of stories, poems and photos produced by CLHSP (South Lanarkshire’s Community Learning and Home School Partnership). The book will soon be appearing in libraries, community centers and other public venues, so keep your eyes peeled.
≈ January 26 2018
Off to a great start with my two Open Studies classes at Glasgow Uni – Introduction to Creative Writing and Creative Writing: Workshop. We’ve been looking at writing short stories in Intro to Creative Writing, and narrative perspectives in the Workshop. Everyone’s very enthusiastic and talented, so it should be a good session.
≈ January 26 2018
Got the dates for the next three meetings of the Writers Support Group: the third Monday of the month at Garnethill Multicultural Centre (http://garnethillmc.co.uk/)
All sessions start at 13.00. Send me a message if you’d like more details.
≈ January 15 2018
Great writing workshop this afternoon with Advanced Higher students here at Hazlehead Academy in Aberdeen. Not sure they actually needed my help – they’re already a very talented and hard-working group of people. https://hazleheadacy.aberdeen.sch.uk/
≈ January 4 2018
Looking forward to starting a new term with two new creative writing courses:
Creative Writing: Workshop. Wednesday 17th January, 1.00-3.00. An introduction to writing prose and poetry, which explores the use of different perspectives, styles and voices.
An Introduction to Creative Writing. Thursday 18th January, 1.00-3.00. This course looks at writing short stories, novels and poetry, with options to explore drama, genre fiction or writing for children.
Both courses are informal, friendly, and suitable for beginners and more experienced writers alike. Please contact me for more details, or check out the Open Studies website:
Happy New Year!
≈ December 11
Freight Books has officially gone into liquidation. However, our books are still available: here’s a list of former Freight authors, with a timely reminder that books make excellent Christmas presents. (I’m not selling via my website just yet, but you can still get good deals on Amazon.) https://sites.google.com/view/freight-authors/home
The next meeting of the Writers Support Group will be Monday 23rd October, from 1.00 to 4.00 pm, at Garnethill Multicultural Centre in Glasgow (http://www.garnethillmulticulturalcentre.org.uk/). Please contact me if you’d like to join us.
≈ September 26
The Clarkston Poetry Group will start its weekly meetings again next week, from Tuesday 3rd October. Everything from Henryson to Dickinson to Jackie Kay, and all points in between. Can’t wait.
≈ September 10
There are still some places left on this introductory course, which lets you try your hand at creative writing in a friendly, supportive environment. We’ll look at writing short stories, novels and poetry, with options to explore drama, genre fiction or writing for children. This course is suitable for writers of any level, although nervous beginners are especially welcome.
Contact me if you have any questions. To sign up, see http://www.gla.ac.uk/study/short/book/course/ADED11340
≈ September 10
A new course I’m running at Glasgow Uni’s Open Studies department. We’ll look at outstanding verse in English – and Scots – from Shakespeare to the present day: from Milton, Blake and Yeats to Edwin Morgan and Carol Ann Duffy. No knowledge of poetry is required, although students are welcome to nominate their favourite poems.
Contact me if you have any questions; to sign up, follow the link: http://www.gla.ac.uk/study/short/book/course/ADED11508
≈ August 14
Thanks to everyone at the Writers’ Support Group for a great first meeting today. It’s always good to see the varied and wonderful work Scottish writers are producing.
The next meeting is next month – Monday 18th September, from 1.00 to 4.00 pm, at Garnethill Multicultural Centre in Glasgow (http://www.garnethillmulticulturalcentre.org.uk/). There’s still a couple of places left, so please contact me if you think you might like to join in.
≈ August 1
I’m setting up a writers’ support group, in which we meet once a month to give written feedback, encouragement and advice about what to do next. I’ve finally got a date and location for the first meeting –
Monday 14th August 2017, from 1 to 3 o’clock, at the Garnethill Multicultural Centre (on Rose Street in central Glasgow, near the Glasgow Film Theatre – more details here http://www.garnethillmulticulturalcentre.org.uk/ ).
Here’s how it’ll work –
- Everyone emails a piece of writing to me two or three days before the meeting date.
- I’ll distribute all the pieces to the people who are going to attend.
- Everyone reads over what the others have submitted beforehand – then we don’t have to spend any time reading the material during the meeting.
- Everybody comes along on the 14th, gets and receives feedback and encouragement, and figures out what their next step is.
The cost would be £10 per session. There’s no obligation to sign up for any later sessions –everyone can just come along and see what they think.
There are still a few places left if you’re interested in coming along. Please contact me if you’d like any more information.
For the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking to the Community Learning Writers’ Group about this – the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival writing competition. It’s open to anyone, and it accepts poetry, short fiction, articles, letters and diary or blog entries. This year’s theme is ‘Reclaim’, and the deadline is Friday 28th July.
Great to meet everyone at the Community Learning Writers Group today – I’m looking forward to working with them over the next six weeks.
≈ June 14
Looking forward to meeting Crime writer Mason Cross at Weegie Wednesday, this week on June 14th. Everyone’s welcome to come along – it should be a great night. Weegie Wednesdays 14th Jun
We’re rounding off our session at the Clarkston Poetry Group with Keith Douglas, one of the greatest poets of the Second World War. Beautiful and chilling in equal measures.
Time for a bit of summery verse by A.E. Housman at the Clarkston Poetry Group this week. It might be corny, but we love it anyway.
We’re looking at some classic WB Yeats poems at the Clarkston Poetry Group this week – can’t wait.
≈ May 1
Looking forward to an afternoon of Walt Whitman at the Clarkston Poetry Group this week. We’ll be standing on the desks reciting ‘Captain, my Captain’ before you know it.
≈ April 29
≈ April 20
Interesting talk by Vin ‘Bridge of Spies’ Arthey at Weegie Wednesday last night. Think I feel a Cold War thriller coming on…
Looking forward to meeting Eleanor Collins of Floris Books at the next event (May 17th).
≈ April 18
Welcome back to the Clarkston poetry group today. Looking forward to reading Shakespeare, Marge Piercy and many more.
≈ April 10
Thanks again to everyone at Erskine Writers Group for the great response to my Writing for Young Adults workshop. Here’s an example of the gripping ‘in media res’ opening paragraphs they produced:
Guilty or not guilty?
by Pete Marrison
Big decision: do I tell Mum or not?
It came across to me as bullying. Whilst as a sixth former and head girl, I have been involved as an outsider or even arbitrator in several cases of bullying, does that give me the right to intervene in what could become a very serious adult situation? It could result in the disciplining or even dismissal of a head teacher whom I have previously admired.
Mum is also a teacher, but at a different school. She could advise me, but would even the mention of the incident set her off in a direction which I might later regret? Bullying was a subject over which my Mother feels very strongly; she is almost certain to explode.
Visit Erskine Writers here: http://erskinewriters-uk.blogspot.co.uk/
≈ April 5
Introduction to Creative Writing (3) is off to a flying start. Looking forward to hearing some amazing stories and poems over the next ten weeks.