Out There!

Out There is in print at last and looking beautiful, thanks to everyone at Freight Books! And the contents are pretty good too, with stellar contributions from Ali Smith, Jackie Kay, Louise Welsh, Ronald Frame, Christopher Whyte, Kirsty Logan, Allan Radcliffe and many, many more. I am particularly pleased to have been able to include so many writers I admire, including some who have been an inspiration to me for many years. At the same time, I’ve discovered exciting new voices who will, I believe, go on to publish many more works in the future. The book is already attracting some lovely review coverage:

‘the work in this collection from both established and emerging writers is as moving as it is brilliantly written, and the opportunity to have them all in one place is irresistible.’ The List

‘this sophisticated and mature volume does a great deal more than simply tackle the heterosexual viewpoint that dominates most Scottish literary work, especially in very male-dominated stories. The short stories, poems and non-fiction collected here all put lesbian women and gay men at the centre of society and the centre of the story. But they do so in such a casual and easeful way that it almost feels as though the centre of society and the centre of the story are a place they have always occupied.’ Sunday Herald

Out There (edited by Zoë Strachan)

The anthology would not have been possible without funding from LGBT History Month Scotland – thank you very much indeed for that, and to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, who also contributed to production costs.

GLASGOW LAUNCH coming up: Mono, Thursday 13th November, 7pm! All welcome.

Black Middens: NWS 31

NWS31 cover

Black Middens: New Writing Scotland 31 has just been published by the Association of Scottish Literary Studies, edited by Carl MacDougall and myself. New Writing Scotland is the principal forum for poetry and short fiction in Scotland today, and every year publishes the very best from emerging and established writers. There are some amazing stories and poems in this year’s anthology, from very well known authors and from writers who are making their first steps towards publication – and also, in fact, from modest, accomplished writers who should be read and acclaimed far more widely than they seem to be. I don’t want to say which are my favourites, but there are pieces here that blew me away. I hope our readers will be able to say the same!

To find out more or to buy a copy, click here.

Best Scottish Poems 2012

Last year Robyn Marsack of the Scottish Poetry Library asked Louise Welsh and I to select our twenty Best Scottish Poems of 2012. We spent the year reading collections, anthologies, journals, pamphlets – everything that the Library could find in hard copy by living Scottish poets. The selection was announced today at Aye Write! (with great readings and performances from five of the poets) and it is now published online. Our choices are unashamedly subjective, although we did hope to reflect linguistic diversity. I think we achieved that, and I’m pleased that we ended up with a decent gender balance (although that didn’t affect our decisions). There’s a proper introduction here, so I won’t say more here apart from the fact that these were the poems that – after readings hundreds and hundreds – wouldn’t leave us alone. Perhaps the poems chose us, rather than vice versa. Rereading them now is a treat, and it’s fascinating to see the poets’ comments on their own work. But in some cases it’s better still to read the entire collection, to meet the poem’s friends and neighbours. I hope readers will find something they like and then buy the books and pamphlets, subscribe to the journals, or borrow them free of charge in person or by post from SPL.

seaweed_LucyBurnett_600Cover: Seaweed by Lucy Burnett

New Writing Scotland 30

The 30th anniversary edition of New Writing Scotland, A Little Touch of Cliff in the Evening, is now available for pre-order from the ASLS (Association of Scottish Literary Studies), Books from Scotland or Amazon. New Writing Scotland is the principal forum for poetry and short fiction in Scotland today. Edited by Carl MacDougall and myself, it features stories, poems, plays and other writing from established and new Scottish writers. We received submissions from nearly 568 writers of 1100 pieces, so our editorial decisions were extremely tough. We look forward to reading more excellent work next year – submissions are open now.