Author details

Helen MacKinven


I write contemporary Scottish fiction, with a particular interest in exploring themes such as social class and identity, using black comedy and featuring Scots dialect. I graduated with merit from Stirling University with an MLitt in Creative Writing in 2012.    As well as being the author of two published novels, my background is in primary teaching but I have concentrated on training and development during my career in education.      I am a literacy consultant with The Learning Zoo delivering training to teachers across Scotland in the Reflective Reading programme and I have over twenty five years of experience in the design and delivery of training to teachers and working with pupils of all ages.    I was a Scottish Book Trust writer-in-residence at Levenmouth Academy in Fife working in the English Department with senior pupils. The project’s aim was for pupils to express themselves in writing using their own unique ‘voice’ and to explore how they see themselves and their community.

About writer's work

I feel passionately about challenging barriers related to social class using black comedy and featuring urban Scots dialect in my writing. I also champion the voices of working class women in literature and the importance of oral history,    I graduated with merit from Stirling University with an MLitt in Creative Writing in 2012.    My short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals, such as Gutter magazine and one of her novels was shortlisted in a UK-wide competition by Hookline Books.    My debut novel, Talk of the Toun, a coming-of-age story set in 1985 in central Scotland was published by ThunderPoint in 2015. A key theme of the story is the clash of small town life versus big ambition.    My latest novel, Buy Buy Baby, is a bittersweet story of two very different women united in their desperate quest for motherhood was published by Cranachan in July 2016.

Websites featuring the author

WebsiteTwitterThunderpoint author pageFacebookThe Prime Writers: profileMixing the Colours podcastCranachan Publishing

Current events and projects

As my day job as an educational consultant involves teacher training, I’m very experienced in public speaking, in particular within a school setting, with over 25 years of education and training work.    I am available for readings, workshops, residencies and chairing events. I’m interested in discussing the use of Scots in writing, black comedy, giving a voice to working-class characters, being a mature student, my journey to publication, writing tips and the use of social media.   At a recent event in a former mining village, I spoke to members of a Women’s Guild, none of whom are writers, many of them are not regular readers, and my theme was the importance of oral history and how to capture the memories of working class people through prose and poetry.  I am keen to work with teens or adults, either readers or developing writers and can tailor talks or workshops to suit audience requirements. I also have experience of hosting book launches and spoken word events. Please get in touch and I will be happy to discuss your ideas.

Other work

My short stories have been published in Gutter magazine, Valve Journal, Alight Here: An Anthology of Falkirk Writing, Octavius, Paragram, 2IMPRESS, New Voices Press, Causeway Untitled, The Write Angle and had success in competitions such as SMHAAF.    I was involved with the Glasgow Women’s Library in their Mixing the Colours project to explore the issue of sectarianism and recorded a podcast of me reading my short story. I was also part of the ‘26 Writers’ project – 26 Children’s Winters. Through my involvement with Cranachan Publishing, I have edited and marketed books for children and adults.


Local authority where they are based

North Lanarkshire

Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Other1, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups

9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type



English, Scots

Books written

Buy Buy Baby cover

Buy Buy Baby

Author(s): Helen MacKinven
A bittersweet story of two very different women united in their desperate quest for motherhood.
Talk of the Toun

Talk of the Toun

Author(s): Helen MacKinven
A coming-of-age black comedy telling the story of love, family life and friendship set in the summer of 1985 in a working class village in the Falkirk area.