New Writers Awards 2018: Eilidh McCabe

Fiction

Eilidh spent most of her adult life steadfastly avoiding moving back to her hometown of Glasgow, before doing exactly that in 2015 and finding it the best decision she ever made. The following year she enrolled on the Creative Writing MLitt course at Glasgow University.

Since then, she has been shortlisted for the Mslexia Short Story Competition, theshortstory.net’s annual competition and Glasgow University’s Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities short story competition. Her essay, Paper, was published by the Dangerous Woman Project. She is the short fiction editor for the Glasgow Review of Books.

Professionally, Eilidh works as a copywriter and content editor, specialising in travel writing. She was one of the writers on the upcoming edition of Fodors’ Guide to Scotland, due for publication in 2018.

Her fiction often ends up being about nature and ecology, although she doesn’t always mean it to be.

 

Writing Sample

From a novel currently in progress:

The main reason I love beetles even more than other insects, really, is their wings. They don’t look like they should be able to fly, and yet they fly so beautifully. The fact that those tough little cases contain such intricate mechanisms never ceases to amaze me. I let them walk all over my hands, anticipating the moment that they’ll reach the end of my finger and extend their fragile, translucent wings, then whirr away into the air, tiny footless legs dangling.

For every type of beetle I’ve held in my hands, there are thousands more in my books. I’ve seen pictures of the most improbable varieties of beetle. Dung beetles, for example, which offer an important lesson in the subjectivity of taste. Or stag beetles, always ready to lock horns with their love rivals in a brutal fight, to the death if necessary, over some dowdy little female. Even these ungainly things can apparently fly, defying gravity to heave their bulky antlers upwards.

So little will have changed for the beetles. They still dodge birds and spiders like they did before, copulate joylessly, lay their eggs, fall onto their backs and jerk their legs at the sky until they are still. Think of them, rustling through the ruins of cities that I’ll never see, in other countries, on other continents, or even just a few miles away. The whole world is theirs and they don’t even know it.

 

Eilidh says:

“I can’t thank the Scottish Book Trust enough for this incredible opportunity, which came at just the right time to boost flagging writing spirits. To have external recognition and support makes all the difference.”