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Janice Galloway and Marjorie Gill with support

  • Dunmnuir Hotel 11 Newhouse Terrace Dunbar, Scotland, EH42 1LG United Kingdom (map)

“She offers vivid snatches of observed and imagined life. She makes pictures, sometimes beautiful, sometimes startling. She has a gift for the unforeseen and illuminating phrase.” - The Scotsman

In a very special event for CoastWord and in association with Scottish Poetry Library, one of our nation's most extraordinary writers, Janice Galloway is joined by Marjorie Gill, Nadine Aisha and Hannah Lavery to share their work on the themes of home and belonging. 

Janice Galloway 

Janice's first book, The Trick is to keep Breathing, was published by Polygon Press in 1990 and won the MIND/Allan Lane Book of the Year. Since, she has written more novels, short stories, volumes of life writing, a handful of collaborative books of short fiction and poetry with sculptor Anne Bevan, poems for sculptor/photographer Calum Colvin, libretti, poems and one lonely play. Prizes and Awards include The American Academy of Arts and Letters EM Forster Award, Saltire Award and Creative Scotland Award. Her most recent publication, All Made Up, won Scottish Book of the Year 2012.

She has been writer in residence to four Scottish prisons, Research Fellow to the British Library, resident at Jura Distillery, and was recently the first Fellow in Residence at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Her radio work includes two series for BBC (Life as a Man and Imagined Lives) and programmes on music and musicians. She also works extensively with musicians, visual artists and typographers.

“In Galloway’s best work, nothing is ordinary... she makes the surreal flicker like a blue flame from the edge of the everyday.” - TLS

“She offers vivid snatches of observed and imagined life. She makes pictures, sometimes beautiful, sometimes startling. She has a gift for the unforeseen and illuminating phrase.” - The Scotsman

“Galloway strips away some of our comforting illusions, and confronts us with our weaknesses, our fears and our fallibility.” - The Skinny


Marjorie Gill 

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I was born in New Orleans, spent my childhood in Tehran, and then lived in San Diego, Washington DC and New York before moving to London in 1999 and then Edinburgh in 2005. I have a BA in English Literature, a JD in law, and in 2015 received an MSc in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Edinburgh.

I often write in response to artwork, during my residencies at Jupiter Artland and Spring Fling, and my poems responding to images and artwork have won awards, been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and been included in a variety of journals and anthologies. Because I lived through part of the Iranian Revolution as a child, I often explore the effect of war in children in my work. I recently co-founded The Belonging Project, working with others on stories of journey and belonging (relating to refugees, but also to our everyday journeys, and looking at what all of our journeys have in common). 

I am interested in a wide variety of creative projects, from traditional creative writing workshops to collaborations that include writing as one aspect of a larger project. I have experience working with writers of all ages (pre-school children, school children, including A-level students, young adults and adults right through to those in their 90s!), and writers from different backgrounds and circumstances (including children in care, vulnerable adults, prisoners, the elderly in care homes and those with dementia). I’m a regular performer and am happy both to read my work and work with others to perform theirs.

I’ve been involved with a number of projects that have involved writing inspired by art. As the Poet in Residence at Jupiter Artland, I’ve run many workshops to develop writing that begins with a sculpture or piece of artwork. As the Writer in Residence for Spring Fling, I also ran workshops in artist studios, using the artwork and artist’s practice as a starting place to develop new stories and poems. For these residencies, I collected the pieces written in the response to the art and presented them online, in a pamphlet and at a public reading (both at Jupiter Artland and the Wigtown Book Festival). I also run regular one-off creative writing workshops, most recently for senior school students at the Scottish Portrait Gallery for the National Galleries and the Scottish Poetry Library.

As a founder of The Belonging Project, I work with writers and those in the community to develop and produce writing considering the journeys we all take relative to the journeys of refugees. Because I grew up in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution, I’m interested in the way stories of flight, journey and assimilation intersect and parallel the stories of journey and belonging we all have, and how we can use those stories to remove barriers. 


Nadine Aisha

Have you read Nadine Aisha? If not, you’re seriously missing out. She kicks serious arse.
— Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers

Nadine Aisha Jassat (Nadine Aisha) is a writer, creative practitioner and a consultant in the field of Gender -Based Violence.

She is a published poet and feminist writer and an experienced public speaker and creative writing facilitator. She is known for combining the creative arts and social justice; curating an art exhibition with survivors of domestic abuse (Scottish Women’s Aid, 2013) and creating theatre with young people exploring sexual violence (Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, 2014). She is active in Scotland’s Violence Against Women sector as a trainer with young people and professionals on issues to do with Gender-Based Violence. Her current projects include creative participation work with young women of colour on issues to do with gender-based violence, racism and Islamophobia.

Nadine Aisha is the author of Still (Appletree Writers Press, 2016), her debut poetry pamphlet exploring women’s stories and survival. She has performed solo shows for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2014, 2016), The Just Festival (2016) and The Audacious Women Festival (2017). Nadine is the first ever Writer in Residence for YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement, and her work has been published by agencies such as 404ink and The Dangerous Women Project. She delivers feminist creative writing workshops with women and young people, exploring powerful topics through poetry and creative expression.


Hannah Lavery 

 Photo Credit: Rachel Hein 

Photo Credit: Rachel Hein 

Hannah Lavery; unstoppable newcomer on the Scottish spoken word scene, with her debut show ‘The Drift’, weaving a story about her bereavement following the death of her father, but with a universal story about family, love, loss and identity...keep an eye out for Hannah - she’s such a brilliant writer!
— Jenny Lindsay

Hannah Lavery is a writer and performer from Edinburgh, who has made her home in Dunbar. Hannah runs CoastWord Festival in Dunbar and was Scottish Book Trust Reader In Residence for East Lothian in 2015. She is also the founding member of the writing collective, The Writing Mums. Her recent pamphlet and accompanying show, The Drift, weaves a story about her personal bereavement following the death of her father, but with a universal story about family, love, loss and identity. 

She is also working on her debut pamphlet of short stories set to be published by Postbox Press in 2017.


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