Born and raised in the Outer Hebrides, I was an avid reader as well as being keen on physical activity and I still enjoy physical exercise as a counterpart to, and catalyst for, creative endeavour. I am interested in the correspondences between life and literature, the inner and outer life, fiction and reality.
I enjoy passing on creative writing knowledge, and have taught at academic and community level internationally. I have performed my work at book festivals in a number of countries. Literature has, by and large, been good to me so I like to pay it back by sharing the skills and techniques I have learned along the way.
I began my writing life as a poet, but subsequently branched out into novels, short stories, stage plays, screenplays, song lyrics and aphorisms. I have been the grateful recipient of a number of honours and awards (including a JB Priestley award and the Tivoli Europa Giovanni international poetry prize). My most recent novel, The Brilliant & Forever, was shortlisted for the Saltire Fiction of the Year Award and was Scottish Book of the Month in Waterstone’s and Blackwell’s bookshops.
I’m fascinated by the intersection where ideas and actuality meet. Do narratives, which are fictions that offer bigger truths, reveal or impose meaning?
I believe that the skills you nurture to become a better writer (awareness, empathy, giving and receiving feedback, structured thinking, contemplation of the bigger questions, tenacity, etc, etc) can make you a better (not to mention more employable) person.