I’m the author of one published novel (The Last Treasure Hunt) and several award-winning short stories. I initially trained as a visual artist, and have worked variously as an illustrator, designer and arts marketeer, but swapped sketchbooks for notebooks when I embarked on an M.Phil in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. I’m currently an associate lecturer in Creative Writing with the Open University, a lecturer in Creative Writing for Edinburgh College, and a Creative Writing PhD researcher at Northumbria University. Originally from Aberdeen, I’m now based in Edinburgh where I’ve lived for most of the last twenty years.
My work often explores ideas of what it means to live a successful life; the way we use stories to make sense of our experiences; and the fuzzy areas between truth and fiction. I’m interested in how we measure ourselves against other people or against what we think we ought to have achieved; how we shape our experiences in order to live with them, and how the stories we tell about ourselves can be quite different to someone else’s version of the same events. My debut novel The Last Treasure Hunt, described as ‘a modern media morality tale’, is particularly concerned with these themes.
I’m also interested in writing about science and technology. I’m currently working on a novel set in an alternative present or very near future, where the technology of virtual realities is much more advanced, and as part of a Creative Writing PhD I’m embarking on a collection of uncanny short stories, all exploring how contemporary life is disturbed and disrupted by science and technology.
I’m highly experienced in planning and delivering creative writing workshops and have taught creative writing at all levels and with all kinds of groups, from international students to local elderly people, from prison officers to learners recovering from substance misuse. In 2013 I took part in the Scottish Book Trust Writers in Schools programme, delivering a series of creative writing sessions for S3 pupils at Whitburn Academy that resulted in a booklet that featured the work of every pupil.
I also enjoy reading and discussing my published work and work-in-progress, and am available for reading events – either solo, or as part of a panel / line-up of authors – as well as residencies and workshops.
Recent events include: a panel discussion on creative writing research at Darlington Arts Festival; a reading and discussion hosted by a specialist English-language bookshop in Lausanne, Switzerland; a presentation on creative writing in the community and widening definitions of success at the Creative Writing in the World conference at York St John University; a half-day poetry workshop exploring form and imagery with adult learners.
The Last Treasure Hunt has been described as “something unique … an important new voice” (Gutter Magazine) and “a chilling and hard-hitting first novel” (The Herald).
My short fiction has been widely published in magazines and anthologies including New Writing Scotland, Litro, Mslexia and The Orphan Leaf Review, and has won awards including the Palimpsest ‘Writing Edinburgh’ competition (2015), the Fiction Desk Ghost Story competition (2014) and the Sunday Herald Wave of Change competition (2011).
In 2006 I won a Scottish Arts Council New Writer’s Award, in 2012 I was awarded a Creative Scotland research grant, and my current Creative Writing PhD research is funded by Northumbria University.
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