8:30 PM20:30

Chairing Helen Mort and Niviaq Korneliussen

I’ll be in conversation with Helen Mort about her Black Car Burning (and perhaps some of her other work) and with Niviaq Korneliussen about Crimson at EIBF. Both novels share an evocation of places that impact people and stories alike. The physicality of Helen Mort’s book is quite wonderful (and is in converastion with her book of poetry, No Map Could Show Them). Both authors’ books are up for the first book prize at the festival. Come along and cast your votes.

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1:00 PM13:00

Scottish PEN’s yearly symposium in honour of International Women’s Day

Scottish PEN’s yearly symposium in honour of International Women’s Day will take place 1-6pm on Saturday 16th of March 2019 at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh. The subject of this year’s event will be:  ‘PRIVILEGE: LET’S CHECK OURS AT THE DOOR’, and our guest speakers will be Kerry Hudson, Donna Williams, Sawsan Al-Areeque and Callie Gardner.  The event will be run by the Scottish PEN Women Writers’ Committee in conjunction  with IASH of University of Edinburgh.  Our events are flexible, very much made by the writers, poets and thinkers who speak, and the audience members who come and share as well.  We hope to see you there.  

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6:30 PM18:30

Scottish PEN Womens Writers' Committee's Naomi Mitchison Event

I am chair of the Scottish PEN Women Writers’ committee.

Please join us for our annual event celebrating the radical and literary contributions of Scottish writer, Naomi Mitchison. This year’s event will be a response to International PEN’s Women’s Manifesto. Committee members and others will respond to the Manifesto, including drawing attention to international writers and local responses. We will be making an open call for contributions in December. The event is free and open to all. Please do join us.

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6:30 PM18:30

Journal for Writing in Creative Practice: Art Writing, Paraliterature and Intrepid Forms of Practice

As part of this launch event for this radical, experimental exploration of the essay and art-writing, I'll be reading / performing a version of the hybrid essay I have published in this journal, What A Thirst it Was: Longing, Excess and the Genre-Bending Essay. Final details to be posted closer to the time.  Other contributors include Laura Edbrook, Amanda Thomson and Susannah Thomson.  

Reference: ‘What a Thirst It Was: Longing, Excess and the Genre-Bending Essay' in the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect; Issue 10:1. ISSN 17535190 (online ISSN: 17535204), December 2017

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to Jul 31

WASP Residency - The Booth - Shetland

The artist, Amanda Thomson and I will be on a month-long residency that will kick-start an exploration of the literary and experimental essay form via the creation of a collection of action-researched, interrelated and co-authored essays that take as their starting point the notion of quest and will follow in the footsteps of five 19th/20th century botanists and citizen scientists who have held their own obsessions and questions for botanical, avian and other rarities across Scotland.  


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to Jun 20

The Essay: Taking Ideas for A Walk

A two day conference organized by DURA and University of Dundee Centre for Critical and Creative Cultures and held at Hospitalfield House, Abroath.  I'll be giving a reading on the first evening and on a panel talking about Essaying and Teaching essays the next morning.  Please do join us.

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MAP Magazine & Catalyst Conversations on the Essay Launch
6:30 PM18:30

MAP Magazine & Catalyst Conversations on the Essay Launch

MAP Magazine & Catalyst Conversations on the Essay Launch our gorgeous collection of experimental essays Do Not Make The.  Contributors include: Lisa Robertson, Joanna Walsh, Claire Heuchan, Kate Briggs, Isabella Streffen, Maria Sledmere, Emily Lebarge, Colette O'Connor, Chin Li, Fiona Montgomery, Bea Gates, Tracy Mackenna, and Miranda Stewart. Please join us at the CCA on Thursday 24th of May 2018 at 6:30 pm.  There will be a short introduction to the publication, a couple readings, and a screening of a few films/essays as well as time for celebration and chat!

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3:00 PM15:00

Tea with the Author at Bogmyrtle Cafe and BookStore, Skye

 'Come along for some tea and cake and an author!'  That'd be me.  I'll be talking about writing and taking us from frosty Chicgo, to the deserts of the southwest, to the remotest reaches of Scotland.  For readers (and one Reeder!) and writers alike.  Tickets £10 and that gives you tea, cake and an impressive discount on any of my books.

Hosted by SEALL (Skye Events for all).

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9:45 AM09:45

Resistance Symposium - Scottish PEN and IASH host...

RESISTANCE: an all day symposium hosted by Scottish PEN Women Writer’s Committee and Institute for the Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH)

Featuring - Jackie Kay, Sim Bajwa, Caroline Bowditch, Beth Banjeree-Richards, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi and Alice Tarbuck

This will be an open, supported discussion on Resistance as a way of exploring and fighting for change around the boundaries of gender, womenhood, the limits of language and experiences of misogyny, violence and power. 

The day is open to all and free to attend, and includes lunch and refreshments.  

Organised to align with International Women’s Day, we are interested in ensuring that our discussions of gender and discrimination remain inclusive, open, and actively support the ever-changing and dynamic nature of these issues.

Please note: The event wtill be BSL-Interpreted throughout by Yvonne Waddell and Rachel Amey

Date: Friday 9th March at 9:45-17:00

Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

Tickets:  Free, via Eventbrite   

Here’s a linked blogpost I wrote:

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to Sep 30

MAP Magazine and Catalyst Conversations on the Experimental Essay: Call for Submissions

MAP Magazine and Catalyst Conversations on the Experimental Essay seek cross-genre submissions for print and online publication

In times of political and cultural upheaval, we often turn to writers and artists to help question and reflect upon situations that trouble us. Cross-genre work has the potential to bring complicated, difficult subjects to the attention of wider audiences in complex, thought-provoking ways. 

Towards this end, we’re asking writers and artists to submit genre-bending work that is exploratory and agitates.

We’re looking for works that provoke thought, emotions, action, that make us look differently, more deeply, or might use quiet, stillness and silence to evoke response. There is no prescribed subject or approach and works may include mediums other than writing for example, image, sound and video.

Although the word count is flexible, we recommend that for inclusion in the print publication submissions are limited to 3000 words. Longer, more image or video-based submissions will be included online only on MAP Magazine.

Submissions will be accepted from 15 September to 30 September, inclusive. Early or late submissions will not be considered. New work is preferred.

Please submit your work to:

We very much look forward to receiving your submission.

To spread the word about this call you can link to or

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to Aug 27

Edinburgh International Book Festival Events

This year at EIBF, I'm chairing a number of events that further discussion of the essay- how and make we write across forms, disciplines and mediums and how we can read them too.  Each event promises a new perspective and should be lively.  The events are supported by University of Glasgow. 

Sunday 13th August 16:00, Garden Theatre: In Conversation with Teju Cole about his most recent book Blind Spot, which is about reading and writing, how we see, how we photograph.  It plays well in conversation with his 2016 collection of essays, Known and Strange Things.

Thursday 24th August 11:00-12:30, Writers' Retreat: Leading a Reading Workshop on Jenny Diski's Skating to Antarctica

Sunday 27th of August 18:30, Writers' Retreat: Chairing Richard Beard and Graham Caveney as they speak about family, truths, and silences.  


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6:00 PM18:00

Richard Price and Others Bending-Genre at the CCA in Glasgow

As some of you may know, I've been running a series of workshops / conversations around genre-bending and experimental essaying.  We've been looking particularly at working across mediums and disciplines.  

On Sunday 11th of June 6-8 at the CCA in Glasgow, we're hosting a FREE event that will feature new work from Richard Price (specifically written for the event, and pushing at his own process) and also work shared by writers who have attended the workshops.  

Richard Price is a poet, novelist and essayist. His award-winning poetry includes Small World (Carcanet, 2012), which reflects on fatherhood and disability in children and adults. This collection won Creative Scotland's SMIT Poetry Book for the Year. He has recently published the poetry collection Moon for Sale, and the acclaimed book of essays Is This a Poem? (Molecular Press). He is Head of Contemporary British Collections at the British Library, London. 

So far the conversations have been intense and we're hoping to showcase some of the best new experimental essaying taking place in Scotland. 

Later this summer we will be making a call for submissions for a publication of experimental work (published in conjunction with MAP Magazine) and so this is a good event to get a handle on what that might mean and what you might write and submit.

You can get your FREE tickets here.

We hope to see you there.  You can follow us on twitter @EssayCatalyst  

very best wishes,




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