Campaigning for Autism Acceptance


My novel Truestory, published in 2015 by Sandstone Press was inspired by my experiences raising my daughter, Nina, who is autistic. Nina and I campaign for increased acceptance of autism. We have done events talking about books, writing and ‘life with autism’ in Edinburgh Central Library, Kilmarnock’s Dick Institute, Waterstones on Princes Street, in schools and on radio and tv. We also had a slot at Flint & Pitch’s Scottish Mental Health Festival ‘Beginnings’ in 2018.

I was involved in gathering the experiences of autistic people for the Midlothian Autism Strategy, and my piece ‘Two Trumpets’ was published in 2017 as the introduction to the strategy.

  'The work we do raising acceptance of autism was featured in the Daily Record.' http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/daughter-autism-found-voice-after-11550953



Short Stories

I have had short stories published in various anthologies, publications, & on platforms including:

Giuseppe and Rosa go up in the World’, published as a Podwalk by ‘Echoes of the City’, 2017.

‘The Pier’ published in Landfall by the Federation of Writers (Scotland), 2017. ‘The Pier’ also won Tyne & Esk ‘Writer of the Year Award’, 2013, judged by Zoe Strachan & Christine de Luca.

Going into Battle with a Kenwood Mixer’, published as part of ‘Nourish’ project by Scottish Book Trust, 2017.

Female: Insane’ published in New Writing Scotland, 34, Talking About Lobsters, 2016, also longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award, 2014.

We Know Something You Don’t Know’, published as part of Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Secrets and Confessions’ project, 2016.

‘Cowpunk’ published in New Writing Dundee 8, 2015, also shortlisted for the Asham Award, 2012, and longlisted for the Bath Short Story Award, 2014.

Caravans, Midges, Fish & Bollards’, published in Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Journeys’ project, 2015.

Old Man Lundy’, shortlisted for Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition, 2014, & published on-line.

‘Cock-eyed’ published in The Hotel by Appletree Writers Press, 2015, and winner of the CoastWord Festival Short Story Competition.

Larry’s World Famous Pasta Sauce’ published in the ‘Homegrown Project’ by Books from Scotland, 2015.

‘The Little Golden Apple with the tiny Golden Bite’ shortlisted for the Fiction Desk Newcomer Award, 2015.

‘Ugly Baby’, published in ‘Speak!’ by Appletree Writers Press, 2014.

Big Metal Bucket’, published in Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Home’ project, 2014.

The Memory Quilt’, published as part of Scottish Book trust’s ‘Treasures’ project, 2013.

‘Why did I ever Sleep with Maurice Todd’, published in Gutter 7, 2012.

Mercy Boo Coo’, published in Scottish Family Legends, by Luath Press, , Also performed on BBC Radio Scotland.

San Rocco’, published in 7 Food Stories from Rome, 2010.


 

Poetry

I was CoastWord Festival ‘Writer in Residence’ in 2016 and the poetry I wrote inspired by the residency, Mrs Carlyle had Many Lovers, was published as a pamphlet by CoastWord Press.



My poem, ‘My Daughter is a Dangerous Woman’ was published as part of the ‘Dangerous Woman’ Project by IASH, Edinburgh University.



Mentoring & Workshops

I mentored two young people as part of Scottish Book Trust’s ‘What’s Your Story’ project in 2016.

From 2016 – 2018 I provided one-to-one feedback and support to the 70 members of Tyne & Esk Writers.

I have run workshops for Midlothian Council, Oban Adult Literacy Trust, Scottish Book Trust, Vibrant Musselburgh, CoastWord Festival and Disability History Scotland. I tailor workshops to suit the participants.

I ran a week-long memoir-writing course at Garsdale Retreat in the Yorkshire Dales.


Performances & Events

I have performed my work in Edinburgh City of Lit’s ‘Story Shop’ at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2012 & 2013, and ‘Unbound’ in 2016.

Here is a film of me talking about Story Shop to Summerhall TV. I have also performed at Aye Write! The Dundee Literary Festival, Portobello Book Festival, CoastWord Festival, Flint & Pitch’s Scottish Mental Health Festival show ‘Beginnings’, Pitlochry Winter Words Festival, The Callander Poetry Festival, Penfest, Blackwell’s at the Fringe, Appletree Writers Spoken Word Sundays, at The National Gallery of Scotland & the Scottish Poetry Library.

I have been after dinner speaker at a ‘Ladies Lunch’ and at an opening ceremony for McCarthy & Stone.


Awards, Fellowships & Residencies

From 2016 - 2018 I was Tyne & Esk Creative Writing Fellow.

I was Coastword Festival Writer in Residence 2016/17.

In 2016 was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

I received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013.

My unpublished novel, Chicken Dust, was shortlisted for the Mslexia Women’s Novel Competition, 2011, judged by Sarah Waters and Dame Jenni Murray.