Friday, 28 March 2014

Out of the garret

I’ve had a lovely writerly week – although not much actual writing got done.

Last weekend was the forty-fifth Scottish Association of Writers Conference at the Westerwood Hotel near Cumbernauld. Around 140 writers from all over Scotland met for two days of competition adjudications, workshops, talks, old and new friendships, and some very delicious sticky toffee pudding. And, yes, a few glasses of wine were taken. I was delighted and amazed to win the Romantic Novel Award judged by novelist Rosemary Gemmell.

I’m on the right, with fellow Edinburgh Writers’ Club trophy-winners: Sheila Adamson (Young Adult Novel) on the left, and Kath Hardie (General Short Story/Scholarship). Thanks to Lorna Fraser (also among the prize-winners) for the photo. My prize was a quaich (a drinking cup) and it looks very nice on a shelf in my writing room although whether I shall ever put it to its intended purpose and fill it with whisky depends on how many writing successes/rejections the next year holds.

My novel (actually a novella), provisionally called The Road Home, is set in Edinburgh and in Melrose and the strapline is: A family crisis brings Stella back to the Scottish Borders and the man she left behind. I will say no more for the moment, just get on with those last few thousand words …

Shirley Blair, Senior Commissioning Editor of The People’s Friend, was an adjudicator/workshop leader at the Conference. I hadn’t met her before and as she is my editor at The PF it was lovely to have the opportunity to talk to her face to face. She has been with D C Thomson since the seventies so there is nothing she doesn’t know about writing for women’s magazines. I'm writing another serial for The PF – yes, Shirley, don't worry, I'll just finish this post and get on with the fourth instalment ...

On Thursday a friend and I went through to Glasgow for a launch in Waterstone’s of Catherine Czerkawska's novel The Physic Garden published by Saraband. It is set in Glasgow in the early 1800s and is the story of William Lang and his unlikely friendship with botanist Dr Thomas Brown. Both men were real people but as they disappeared from the records early in their lives Catherine was able to imagine what became of them. I’m really looking forward to reading it and would urge you get a paperback copy; the cover, featuring a sampler from Glasgow Museums, is gorgeous as you can see and the book comes with a matching bookmark.

On Friday morning I went as usual to the creative writing class at the Southside Centre. We've just finished a couple of terms of writing on the theme of transport – planes, trains, automobiles ... not to mention mountain rescue land rovers, space ships and broomsticks – look forward to finding out what next term's topic will be.

To finish off the week was the launch of KelpiesTeen, the new YA imprint from Floris Books. One of the first three titles to be published in the series is Mind Blind by former Edinburgh Writers' Club member, the very prolific Lari Don. This is her first teen novel and if it's as good as her picture books, storybooks for younger readers and retelling of traditional tales, it will be fabulous.

So, a very sociable week. Now it's back to the garret. I believe I said I had some writing to do.


  1. Well done again, Kate - it was a great weekend and your group did very well. Isn't it lovely to get out and mix with other writers. I'd hoped to get to Catherine's launch but didn't make it.

  2. Congratulations on your award, Kate! It sounds like a fabulous weekend. I'll look out for Catherine's novel. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Congratulations Kate! Looks like you all had a wonderful weekend.

  4. Thank you all. Yes, it was a great weekend. Look forward to next year's Conference.