About me Born in Edinburgh, grew up in Bonnyrigg, a small semi-rural town with a surprisingly literary pedigree – not that it is ever celebrated. The Hawthornden writers retreat, for example, is squirreled away to the extreme south of the town, something I only learned once I left home. I went to Lasswade High, where, for a period, I attended classes held by Kathleen Jamie, who was the writer in residence. I have a degree in English from the University of St Andrews, where I was lucky to be taught by Robert Crawford. Post-graduation, I spent a year in a civil service reprographics department (I can do you a mean photocopy) and then another year in stock control at James Thin Booksellers (RIP).
After deciding I wanted a career that helped people as well as indulging my passion for books, and inspired by Philip Larkin, I enrolled on the University of Strathclyde’s Information and Library Studies course. My first library job was a short stint at the Herald, where I was seduced by the bright lights of journalism, in which area I worked for the following decade. Memorable interviews include Liz Lochhead, Don Paterson, Douglas Dunn, John Burnside, Jackie Kay, and, ahem, Girls Aloud. Recently, I’ve nursed a wish to return to the library sector; my post as Communications Manager is ideal as it combines the skill sets I learned in libraries and journalism.
Contact me about about communication strategy within the SPL, including the SPL's social media and web presences, press enquiries, Poetry Reader, and about getting in touch with Scots Makar Liz Lochhead.
My favourite poetry quote is ‘Unlucky the hero born / In this province of the stuck record’ by Sylvia Plath.
My favourite poets are… (Deep breath) TS Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, William Blake, Lord Byron, Dante, Emily Dickinson, Christopher Logue, Mick Imlah, Wendy Cope, W.H. Auden, Primo Levi, Norman MacCaig, Wilfred Owen, Keith Douglas, Stevie Smith, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Rimbaud, Robert Burns, William Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen.... I could go on.
When not at work you’ll find me in a cinema as I fancy myself as a bit of a film buff. Or else, a record shop, truffling for a bargain.
My favourite biscuit is McVites Digestives… My favourite cake is a fudge doughnut
Me as a form of poem would be a limerick. Of good humour, likes a tall tale, communicates with all walks of life, occasionally dirty-minded, but above all, at heart, really quite disciplined.
One of the poems I carry is… Macbeth’s soliloquies, which I learned at school and have never forgotten. Periodically I dust off a performance in the hope it makes me appear smarter than I am.