Janet Paisley was born in Ilford and raised in Avonbridge. She was an award-winning poet, playwright, fiction, non-fiction, radio, television and screenwriter who also wrote for children. Widely anthologised, her work included six poetry collections, two of prize-winning fiction, eleven plays for theatre and radio, seven radio history drama series, television drama and the BAFTA and RTS nominated short film Long Haul. Her play Refuge won the UK Peggy Ramsay award.
Janet Paisley wrote in both English and Scots, was a member of the Working Party for a Scottish National Theatre and the SAC Scots Language Synergy, and was on the Cross Party Parliamentary Group for the Scots Language. Shen held three creative writing fellowships and received one of the first Creative Scotland awards.
She has appeared at poetry Festivals in England, Ireland and the continent, and her work has been widely translated. Reading the Bones was published by Canongate in 1999. Her other poetry collections Alien Crop (1996) – shortlisted for the Scottish Book of the Year – and Ye Cannae Win (2000) have both been reprinted by Chapman.