Writing

On Luck

You need three things to be a writer: talent, hard work, and luck. Writers do not like to talk about this third item as they fear that people will focus on it and forget the first two, but here's a secret: luck is perhaps the most important part. No writer succeeds without little nuggets of luck at...

Continue reading

I Didn’t Think I was a Poet and Then I Did

One man's journey from novelist and short story writer to published poet

Continue reading

Reading at Edinburgh International Book Festival

September, and I’m on a bus. Headphones on, music shuffling, leaving the city. August has been fast and lengthy, with all its Edinburgh festivals turned up full volume, its beats-per-minute, its riffs and split-second jumps. A big scrawled mess in my head, with no space for breathing or thinking...

Continue reading

Reality Bites

There’s been lots of talk about reality at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. Christos Tsiolkas, best-selling Australian author of The Slap , criticised a collection of European short stories he’d been given, calling them ‘dry and academic’ and complaining that ‘They don’t talk...

Continue reading

Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty

Reading Billy Letford’s blog entry about roof poetry made me think of the well-known phrase about practicing random kindnesses and senseless acts of beauty. I Googled it and found out from Wikipedia that, “The phrase… may have been coined by peace activist Anne Herbert. Herbert says she wrote it on...

Continue reading

A Wi-fi Connection of One's Own

It amazes me that despite living in this flat for over ten years I have just had my first drink in the pub downstairs. It was always too full of karaoke and noisy TV football for me. But it has reopened in an altogether more pleasant incarnation – with armchairs and an air of calm. As I sank into...

Continue reading

West Dean gardens

Writers, Retreat!

What does one do on a writing retreat? Quite a lot, as Kirsty Logan recently discovered.

Continue reading

Let's Talk About Sex

A couple of months ago Adrian Searle, the editor of Gutter magazine, asked me to take part in an event called McSex , which Gutter is presenting as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s ‘Unbound’ strand. I and several other writers will read something sensual, lustful or downright...

Continue reading

My First Ever Book Signing

I spent last night curled up in the big chair in the window, reading The Year of Open Doors . I wanted to take all of it in in one gulp, all these different Scotlands around my head. The Year of Open Doors is a short story collection, put together by the author Rodge Glass and published by Cargo, a...

Continue reading

Poetry Readings at Kelburn Garden Party

Through my involvement in Forest Publishing and the Golden Hour, I get asked to do a lot of readings, some quite random. I've performed in a tent in the Meadows, a squatted pub in London, a whisky distillery in Dufftown, and, on one painful morning, in Drumnadrochit High School to a bunch of eleven...

Continue reading

Pages