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23 November 2018

Call of the Undertow is back in print! You may recall that it disappeared with the liquidation of Freight Books this time last year. I have now reissued it as a special edition hardback -- it even has its own silk marker ribbon -- with a lovely dustjacket designed by Andrew Forteath. It won’t be possible to distribute it through bookshops but I will have it available for events etc and it can be purchased through my website here. The price is £12.99 and £15 to include postage and packing. A perfect Christmas present? Read a review in The Independent here. 

Creative Writing Workshops 2019
Stories from The Sands STOP PRESS: there is 20% discount on the cost of this travel and writing adventure to the Moroccan Sahara from February 15th-24th 2019, IF you book by the end of November 2018. Please see here for details and contact Karen Hadfield directly on (or contact me with any queries about the workshop/writing content). it's a very good price already, but even better with the discount! I always find the desert has a powerful influence on my own writing and highly recommend the beautiful setting of Cafe Tissardmine and its sumptuous food.

Other workshops I will be teaching during 2019 include: 

Words in The Landscape, a weekend workshop at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in the Cairngorms, March 22nd-24th, for women participants to generate words from the experience of landscape, movement and nature. Part of the year-long Into the Mountain project inspired by Nan Shepherd - details will appear on their website shortly.

In July I return to the wonderful setting of the Garsdale Retreat in the Dales for a fiction-writing residential course 22nd-27th July, with Carol Farrelly as the visiting writer halfway through the week.

And in September (9th-14th) I'm delighted to be back in the Highlands at Moniack Mhor teaching with Rob Cowen, and with Tim Dee as the visiting writer. We will be taking excursions into the local environment for our stimulus and exploring the area and our responses to it in words. More information here.

Who goes there? Mapping ‘Extreem Wildernes’
I am map mad, and when I read that Ordnance Survey map 440 is the least purchased in Britain and represents the least visited area, at least by walkers, I had to go there. You'll find my piece for Walkhighlands here about a trip to inland Sutherland in late October and about the whole fascination of maps and remote places.
Happy reading and writing!

19 October 2018

Writing News

The Travel Guardian (22nd September) was all about autumn walks, and I contributed a small piece to a collection of writers' walks, highlighting Dorothy Wordsworth in Perthshire. If you are interested in Scotland in the early 19th-century and in travel writing, I highly recommend looking up her 'Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland, 1803', full of insights into nature and social conditions.
In more on walking, my latest piece for the online Walkhighlands magazine is about a short walk up Ullapool Hill where local artist Peter White has been walking as a form of memorial and secreting some beautiful painted stones. You can read it here. My piece about a hot overnight trip to Glen Coe's Lost Valley was published in the latest issue of Womankind, an interesting international magazine that takes no advertising, published in Australia. 

I'm delighted that a piece I wrote as an essay for BBC Radio 3 about quartz has been included in a beautiful anthology 'Cornerstones' edited by Mark Smalley and published by Little Toller. It has already attracted considerable attention and takes some fantastic writers in literary explorations below the surface of the earth. My essay can be read in its entirety on The Clearing blog here and is still available for listening on i-player here.

Finally if you are a teacher of creative writing in secondary schools you may be interested in this resource I wrote for the Scottish Book Trust, suggesting ways of using authentic writerly activities in the classroom.

Upcoming events

Tall Tales, Tall Trees is a walking workshop with myself and storyteller Claire Hewitt as part of the inaugural Birnam Book Festival 23-25th November.

Looking ahead I will be running a two-day writing workshop for women as part of the 'Into the Mountain' initiative inspired by Nan Shepherd at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in the Cairngorms next year, 24/25th of March, as well as the usual Moroccan Sahara travel and writing adventure February 15 - 24 2019 (please E-mail me about this if interested). 

Latest news including a new short story responding to Tennyson's poem Crossing the Bar..
29 April 2018

If you missed my story on BBC Radio 4 this Friday/Saturday, you still have 28 days left to listen here. It's in the series 'The Poet and the Echo' in which writers are commissioned to respond to a classic poem - a wonderful challenge for a prose writer. I chose Tennyson's 'Crossing the Bar' and set it close to the treacherous Bideford Bar, home to my seafaring ancestors. 


With the liquidation of Freight Books at the end of last year, my last two books (Doubling Back and Call of The Undertow) are difficult to get hold of. Please check with me directly for advice on this or buy directly from my website.

Last year I wrote an essay for BBC Radio 3 exploring the qualities and history of quartz. This work is being collected in a publication from Little Toller books along with other essays in the BBC's 'Cornerstones' series, including writers Alan Garner and Helen Mort. Details of the book are here.

Two pieces of my writing have been published online this year by the Walkhighlands magazine. The first concerns a trip to Orkney in early January amidst short but intensely luminous days, and the second a rather unusual newspaper delivery made by myself and a friend to Uags bothy on the beautiful Applecross peninsula during a rather wintry spring equinox.


Places are still available on my fiction writing workshop at Garsdale Retreat in the Yorkshire Dales from the 9-14th July, and after the third successful Moroccan Desert workshop in February this year, I'm already planning one for next February. Please contact me for details or advice or just to express interest.

Upcoming events:

I'm reading from my work at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh’s nature writing Festival ‘Connect with Nature’ over the weekend 19th/20th of May to coincide with the exhibition of 'Lost Words', the much-loved work by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane. Participating authors and illustrators include Mark Cocker and Jackie Morris.

My radio play, ‘The Lamp’ originally for BBC Radio 4, about Scotland's historic library at Innerpeffray in Perthshire gets an on-site script in hand performance as part of the conference of the Independent Libraries Association Conference. The play explores connections between the founding of Scotland’s first public lending library and libraries in Africa today. Saturday 2nd June at 3.30pm—Innerpeffray Schoolroom, Tickets £5. All welcome.

On Saturday 16th of June, I’ll be contributing some reflections on walking and landscape literature to a day at the Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy which will explore women's connection to the land past, present and future, including history, healing, food, medicine, occupations, education, bothies, and land ownership. Speakers include Lesley Riddoch. Book here soon!

I'm delivering a short paper on a creative/archaeological experiment I did on the island of North Uist to The Creative Archipelagoes conference on the Isle of Skye 29th June – 1st July.


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