Roy Gill

Roy was born in Edinburgh, grew up in Kirkintilloch and Kirkcaldy, and studied at Stirling, Strathclyde and Glasgow. He is now living in Edinburgh again.

In 2008, having completed Glasgow University’s Creative Writing MLitt, he was shortlisted for the Sceptre Prize.  In 2010 he was the winner of a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust.

The manuscript of his first novel, Daemon Parallel, made the shortlist for 2011 Kelpies Prize. It was then published by Floris Books in 2012. A sequel, Werewolf Parallel – alongside a new edition of Daemon Parallel - will help launch the YA imprint KelpiesTeen in Spring 2014.

Roy’s other writing includes a season special – ‘The Prime of Deacon Brodie’ – for Big Finish’s audio drama series The Confessions of Dorian Gray, and short stories for iconic adventurers Iris Wildthyme and Sherlock Holmes.

In another life, Roy researched media fandom at Stirling University, but is now happier making up his own stories…

He is currently working on more scripts and a third novel.

Kate Hendry

Kate Hendry is - currently Reader in Resdience at the National Library of Scotland, helping to create new audiences for the largest collection of books in Scotland. She is a widely published writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction and an experienced editor of poetry, learner publications and magazines. Kate is a creative and innovative teacher, with over fifteen years' experience teaching English, Communication, Creative Writing and Media to students in FE, HE and in prisons. 






Monica Queen

Monica Queen is a singer from the west of Scotland, who has collaborated with Belle & Sebastian (Lazy Line Painter Jane) Snow Patrol (Take The Fire To The Third Bar) James Grant and Jim White and as a contributing artist to the Chamber Music album, a 36-part tribute to James Joyce's Chamber Music.
Her soulful, countrified vocals have drawn comparison with Emmylou Harris and Monica is regarded as one of the "greatest ever voices to come out of Scotland" by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. She works with Johnny Smillie, with whom she co-founded Thrum,  who formed in 1992 and released their debut album, Rifferama, a Neil Young-influenced album of country rock in 1994. Monica and Johnny grew up in a world of strikes, sulphur, industrial accidents, poverty, fights, death, religion and bigotry. Social events revolved around hard working men’s clubs where country music ruled and Patsy Cline was God. After Thrum broke up, Monica left the music business, but returned after Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian asked her to sing with them.  With Johnny Smillie, she released Ten Sorrowful Mysteries and Return of the Sacred Heart as Monica Queen. Grant Lee Buffalo, The Jayhawks and Shane MacGowan have all invited her onstage.  Thrum recently released an album entitled Elletrorama and Monica has also duetted on record and onstage with CoastWord’s Roy Moller. She and Johnny are part of Warren McIntyre’s acclaimed combo The Starry Skies.
Whether fronting or enhancing a rock band with full-powered vocals or presenting a more low-key set with  beguiling songs and intimate delivery over Johnny’s moody soundscapes and deft acoustic guitar, Monica is a classy and heartfelt performer.
Monica Queen is touring this summer and CoastWord are delighted
to welcome her to Dunbar and have her gracing the top of the bill at Words To The Beat.

Polly Phillips

After a few years working for the newspaper industry, I jumped ship to join a rock band. 
This led me into the world of performing arts, voice work and session singing. With credits that include session work on albums and tours, including Scottish punksters, The Revillos, film soundtracks, live radio and TV work, I also won the Singer Songwriter Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1996 and released two solo albums in 1998 and 2001, touring extensively before setting up a private practice as a vocal coach, delivering workshops and lecturing on a freelance basis.


Hannah Lavery

Hannah Lavery was born in 1977 and grew up in Edinburgh. She now lives in Dunbar with her husband and three children. She is Creative Director of CoastWord, Founding Member of Appletree Writers and Founder and Director of StoryCraft.

Hannah is Writer in Residence at The Whole Works in Edinburgh and has been recently commissioned by Glasgow NHS for a series of monologues.

She is a trained English Teacher and runs The StoryCraft; a story workshop for primary aged children which currently in its first year with East Lothian Libraries and CoastWord.

She has also, recently published her first collection of short stories Kicked From The Inside with Appletree Writers Press.

You can also find her short story, Still your treasure…in The Scottish Book Trust’s book Treasures which was be gifted to the people of Scotland as part of Book Week Scotland 2013, this is the second time she has been chosen to be part of this project, her short story Kellie Road was chosen to be part of  the 2012 book My Favourite Place.

She will be performing her solo show ' The Girl Who Stops To Catch Her Breath' at Appletree Writers' Spoken Word Sundays at The Edinburgh Fringe and also, appearing at Woman Speaking Out, another show as part of Appletree Writers' Spoken Word Sunday Line Up.  

@hanlavery  on twitter

Bernard MacLaverty

Bernard MacLaverty.jpg

Since the publication of Secrets and Other Stories in 1977, Bernard MacLaverty had been celebrated as one of the finest living short-story writers. Writing in the New York Times, William Boyd summoned the shades of Yeats, Joyce and Flann O’Brien, insisting that ‘MacLaverty sits perfectly comfortably’ in their company. The Guardian simply said ‘MacLaverty is a master.’

A writer of great compassion, insight and humanity, MacLaverty surprises us time and again with the sensitivity of his ear, the accuracy of his eye. Each of these extraordinary stories – with their wry, self-deprecating humour, their elegance and subtle wisdom – gets to the very heart of life.

‘One of our finest writers, a unique sensibility, who is, surely now, our shrewdest and most sensitive explorer of the inwardness of our lives.’ Tom Adair, Scotsman

 ‘His prose is invisible, free of tricks, as though it was your own thoughts.’Observer

 ‘MacLaverty is an exhilarating, tender, humorous writer ... who can set a scene and create a character with Chekovian delicacy and economy’Sunday Telegraph


Bernard MacLaverty was born in Belfast in 1942. He worked as a lab technician in the anatomy department at Queen's University for 10 years before studying English and training as a teacher. In 1975 he went to live in Scotland with his wife, Madeline, and their four children. MacLaverty has published five collections of short stories - Secrets, A Time to Dance, The Great Profondo, Walking the Dog and Matters of Life & Death - and four novels: Lamb, Cal, The Anatomy School and Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He has written for radio, television and screen. His short film Bye Child won a BAFTA. He lives in Glasgow.

Dilys Rose

Dilys Rose lives in Edinburgh. She has published eleven books of fiction and poetry, including Red Tides, Pest Maiden, Lord of Illusions and Bodywork. She  has received a number of awards and fellowships  Her most recent publication is Pelmanism, a novel (2014). As well as going solo, she enjoys creative collaborations with visual artists and composers; she is currently working on a song cycle and completing a new novel set in 17th century Scotland.  She is programme director of the online MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.

Linda Strachan

Linda Strachan is the award winning author of over 60 books for children. She writes for a wide range of ages from picture books like bestselling HAMISH McHAGGIS SERIES to edgy teenage novels such as the award winning SPIDER and her latest teen novel DEAD BOY TALKING. Her educational books are used in schools worldwide. She has also written a writing handbook for adults WRITING FOR CHILDREN. Linda lives in Scotland and travels widely at home and abroad. She is an inspirational speaker presenting in schools, libraries, conferences and festivals.

I was born in Edinburgh to Scottish/Italian parents I had various jobs including being a bacteriology laboratory technician, a model and running a successful business with my husband. I have three grown up children and I used to have a cat, a dog and a 14ft dinosaur called Archibald, but they all left home when the kids did. I never even considered that I could be a writer but now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I enjoy painting and walking and I love to travel. It is a particular delight to know that my books are being read by children all over the world. I recently stepped down from the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland and I currently represent the Society of Authors on the Literature Forum for Scotland.

Liz Lochead

Liz Lochhead © Norman McBeath

Liz Lochhead © Norman McBeath

Appointed Scots Makar – the National Poet for Scotland – in 2011, Liz Lochhead is both transgressive and popular; as Anne Varty wrote, ‘her work is that of one woman speaking to many,  and one person speaking for many’.


Elizabeth Anne Lochhead was born in Motherwell, Lanarkshire on 26 December 1947; her parents , John Lochhead and Margaret Forrest, had both served in the army during the war and married in 1944. Her father was a local government clerk. In 1952 the family moved into a new council house in the mining village of Newarthill, where her sister was born in 1957. The primary school there is vividly conjured in Lochhead’s poem ‘A Protestant Girlhood’. She moved on to Dalziel High School in Motherwell, and by the time she was 15 had decided to go to art school, although teachers were encouraging her to study English at university.

She wrote her first poem, ‘The Visit’, after she entered the Glasgow School of Art in 1965, and attended an informal creative writing group there run by Stephen Mulrine. After graduating from GSA in 1970, she went a few times to the extra-mural writers’ workshop run by Philip Hobsbaum, who had a gift for identifying and encouraging talent. In 1971 she won a Radio Scotland poetry competition, in 1972 she read with Norman MacCaig at a poetry festival in Edinburgh, and her first collection, Memo for Spring, was published in 1972 by Gordon Wright. She met Alasdair Gray, Jim Kelman and Tom Leonard in this period, and later in the decade Tom McGrath and Alan Spence; in this group of talented young Scottish writers, she stands out as a rare female presence and this has been enabling and inspiring for the generation that followed.

Lochhead earned her living at this time by teaching art in secondary schools in Bristol, Glasgow and Cumbernauld. In 1978 her second collection, Islands, was published and she wrote and performed inSugar and Spite at the Traverse, Edinburgh. She was awarded the first Scottish/Canadian Writers’ Exchange Fellowship the same year, and went to Toronto, then lived in the USA after the fellowship ended, and over the next couple of years returned to New York for lengthy periods.

The 1980s was an immensely productive decade in both work for the theatre and poetry; Lochhead also married the architect Tom Logan in 1986, and they made their home in Glasgow. Notable successes included her adaptation of Molière’s Tartuffe for the Lyceum (1986) and Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, performed by Communicado (1987). These two plays derive much of their energy from  the way Lochhead uses  Scots, admiringly characterised by Robert Crawford inIdentifying Poets (1993) as  ‘a diction of kaleidoscopic pace and liveliness, a Scots which manages to bring Tartuffe in touch with Holy Willie while preserving an alertness to the polyphonies of [her] contemporary Scottish homeland’ .

The elements of voice and performance are vital to both genres, but Lochhead considers them to be quite different, and marked this visually by publishing Dreaming Frankenstein & Collected Poems(1984) with a white cover, while her monologues and performance pieces True Confessions and New Clichés (1985) had a black cover.  While she allowed, in a 1992 interview for Verse, that ‘certain speeches in, say, Mary Queen of Scots..., felt like writing poems to me while I was doing them’, there was nevertheless a basic distinction to be made:

A play is something that doesn’t exist when you have written it. It only exists when it begins to be performed. Whereas a poem is something that even before you’ve tightened it up properly, once you’ve got it finished, even if it’s lying under the bed, there it is: it’s a thing. So I think that’s what satisfies me the most about poetry, that it is not for anything whatsoever and that you don’t really do it to order.

This was before her laureateships, which inevitably involve poems commissioned for something, but the distinction probably stands as her such poems often involve performance.

Lochhead’s sixth collection, The Colour of Black and White – poems 1984-2003, includes ‘Kidspoem/Bairnsang’, which has become one of her signature poems and a touchstone for the decade. It is cleverly but also appealingly bilingual, perfect for showing those who don’t know Scots how the language marches beside English; and for those who do know Scots, it serves as a reminder of its riches and legitimacy in the public sphere. Many generations had Scots bred out of them at school, and that this is changing is in no small part due to the work of Scotland’s writers. Moreover, Lochhead here articulates more than her generation’s worth of weary anger over the literature accepted into the canon: ‘the way it had to be said / was as if you were posh, grown-up, male, English and dead.’

While the blurb for this collection quotes The Scotsman as saying ‘Her pulse [is] the racing, faltering pulse of a nation obsessed with identity and self-analysis. For 25 years, Lochhead has been the distinctive female voice of Scotland. Gallus, inquisitive, accusing and playful. Angry and tender by turns’ – this description is a limited truth. Her voice is not always that of a woman, or always that of a Scot. Following her friend Edwin Morgan, first as Poet Laureate of Glasgow (2005) and then as Scots Makar, she does not want to be confined by either her gender or her nationality.

Nevertheless, the female voices that Lochhead has deployed in her monologues and many of her poems undoubtedly draw on a Scottish oral tradition that goes right back to the ballads, is subverted by the music-hall, and takes pleasure in a distinctive West of Scotland tradition of storytelling and humour.  If the latter has been – on stage at least – a predominantly male preserve, she has been instrumental in making space for women. Lochhead has spoken of the difficulty for female poets in particular of the long shadow cast by Hugh MacDiarmid, and of the liberation provided by American examples – again typical of many West of Scotland writers’ experience. In Lochhead’s case, this was not only the lure of William Carlos Williams and Robert Creeley, but also of the sophisticated lyrics of Broadway, to which she pays affectionate homage in ‘Ira and George’. The poem is dedicated to her friend and co-performer Michael Marra, and reminds us that Lochhead’s love of music and the visual arts is an essential part of her work.

The radio as much as the theatre has been an impetus to creation for Lochhead, and it is her ability to speak with conversational intimacy within a public space that is one of the hallmarks of her work. The sound of her own voice is immediately engaging. Her relish of a whole variety of language registers and rhythms, her sensuality and humour, her loving descriptions – ‘the decency of good coats roundshouldered’ – and her outspokenness have made Lochhead an enormously popular poet.

Beatrice Colin

I have published four novels and two books for children. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite, was selected by Richard and Judy, was nominated for a British Book Award and has been translated into seven languages. For children I write under the name E.B. Colin.  Pyrate's Boy, a novel for children aged 8-12,  is published by Floris. 

My short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and literary magazines and used as educational material nationally and internationally. I also write for the radio, screen and stage and have written extensively for BBC Radio. 








Kevin Cadwallender

I am a poet, writer and editor.Scottish National Poetry Slam Champion 2012-13. Commissioning Editor for Red Squirrel Press (Scotland) and run a poetry night in Edinburgh called 10RED. 

I write poetry and prose which focuses on people’s life experience and has its base in dirty realism with a surrealist twist. Often comedic but just as often serious. Poetry for the page and stage.







Colin Will

Widely published Edinburgh-born poet and Father Christmas look-alike with a scientific background, Colin Will lives in Dunbar. He runs workshops and writers’ groups, chairs the boards of StAnza and the Tyne & Esk Writers federation, publishes pamphlets, and is webmaster for Poetry Scotland. Fourth poetry collection (Sushi & Chips) was published by Diehard publishers in 2006.





Brian Johnstone

Brian Johnstone is a Scottish poet born in Edinburgh in 1950. He now lives on the edge of The East Neuk of Fife with his wife, the artist Jean Johnstone. Returning to writing in the late 1980s, he has since published five collections of verse, and developed a range of cross-media collaborations. A primary school teacher from 1975-1997, he went on to teach poetry writing evening classes for The University of St Andrews Centre for Continuing Education and correspondence courses in creative writing for the Open College of the Arts. In 1991 Brian Johnstone was a founder of Edinburgh's Shore Poets and in 1998 he co-founded StAnza: Scotland's International Poetry Festival in St Andrews, since when the festival has grown to become one of Europe's principal poetry events. He was appointed Festival Director of StAnza in 2001, a post he held for ten years, and as a freelance literary events organiser has organised readings for the Pittenweem Arts Festival, the Word's Out! Festival, Perth and others. He is also a regular event chair at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.




Brian Hamill

Brian Hamill grew up in Airdrie, and has lived in Partick since 2009. He has a degree in English Literature from Strathclyde University and a Masters in I.T from the University of Glasgow, and now works as a software developer in the city centre.

Brian started writing when he enrolled in a creative writing evening course at the University of Glasgow DACE in 2007, and still attends this class regularly. In December 2012, he started a fiction magazine called thi wurd which he co-runs with his friend Alan McMunnigall.

Brian has had stories in various publications, including the Edinburgh Review, New Writing Scotland, Shorelines (the Federation of Writers for Scotland Anthology), and a book called Tip Tap Flat. He is currently finishing work on a novella and collection of short fiction. 

Rob Currie

Rob Currie.jpg

Rob Currie is originally from the Scottish Borders, but now lives in Dundee. He studied Professional Writing for the Creative Industries at Dundee College. One of Rob's short plays had performed readings at The Byre Theatre of St. Andrews. His short fiction has appeared in New Writing Dundee, and he has also self-published two collections for Kindle.

Rob received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013, and has just finished writing his first novel.

Lucy Ribchester

Lucy Ribchester lives in Edinburgh. She studied English at the University of St Andrews and Shakespearean Studies at Kings College London and Shakespeare's Globe.

In 2013 Lucy received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for fiction. Her short stories have been published in journals Valve, Dactyl, Prole, Vintage Script and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and performed at literary nights Liars' League, Illicit Ink and Velvet Tongue.

Lucy is currently working with her Scottish Book Trust mentor Linda Cracknell on a small collection of short stories. Her first novel, The Hourglass Factory, will be published by Simon & Schuster in spring 2015.

Nicola White

Photo credit: Ruth Clark

Photo credit: Ruth Clark

Nicola White’s first novel, In the Rosary Garden won the 2013 Dundee International Book Prize, and acclaim from writers such as Val McDermid who described it as ‘Mesmerising’ and AL Kennedy who called it ‘A moving, intelligent and courageous book’. She has had two shorter works of fiction, Something in the Pause and A Passage of Light and Shade published as stand alone booklets by Artlink Edinburgh. Other stories have been broadcast on Radio Four and included in anthologies such as New Writing Scotland and journals including Mslexia. In 2012 she was Leverhulme Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University.

Nicola previously worked as a contemporary art curator and as an arts documentary maker for television and radio. She has contributed a personal essay on Scottish culture to the forthcoming Generation Reader, published by the National Galleries of Scotland.

Fiona Ritchie Walker

Fiona Ritchie Walker is originally from Montrose, Angus in Scotland and now lives in Blaydon,near Newcastle. Her latest collection, The Second Week of the Soap, published by Red Squirrel Press, is now available.

Other poetry collections are Lip Reading (Diamond Twig),Garibaldi's Legs (Iron Press) and the chapbook, Angus Palette (Sand), which is illustrated by her sister, Kirsten Ritchie Walker.

Fiona is the winner of the 2012 BBC Gardeners' World poetry competition and her poem, Mrs Thorpe's Arithmeticwas broadcast on Radio Four's Poetry Please . She is a past finalist in the Scottish Community Drama Festival's One Act Play competition, with her play, The Anstruther Light,which has also been performed by the Kaims Players, Montrose.

Fiona was the recipient of a Northern Promise Award from New Writing North.

Samuel Best

Samuel Best is a writer based in Glasgow, and runs Octavius, a literary magazine for students studying in Scotland.

Samuel's short stories have been published in a variety of magazines and he has performed at spoken word nights and book festivals across Scotland. He has taught at secondary schools in Cumbernauld and Linlithgow, as well as The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Samuel's début novel, Shop Front, is available now on Fledgling Press. It is mainly about shelf-stacking, friendship and knife-crime.
He tweets at @spbbest and has stories available at

G W Colkitto

I always wanted to write but life intervened and making a living interfered with that ambition.

Margaret, my wife, and I worked together for many years and when she died I decided that I could not continue on the same path. There was a story for children that I had often talked of writing. By good fortune, a friend was going to a local writers group where I found encouragement and support. I have had short stories and poetry in magazines and anthologies. I have published two poetry collections and a poetry pamphlet and was winner of the Scottish Writers short story competition 2011 and poetry competition 2012.  I have four novellas about Sebastian Symes, Victorian Detective, available as ebooks from Amazon.  I have a website which has some of my work and links to the books.