I am a Fife based poet writing in Scots and English, a novelist, playwright, a teacher, musician and songwriter. My recent works include the Scots/Orkney poem collection Postcairds Fae Woodwick Mill (2015), and the novel Tammie Norrie, The Hoose Daemon O Seahouses (2013), both published by Grace Note Publications. Recently, having worked for many years as a Principal Teacher of English, I opted to concentrate more on my writing career and happily I have more time now to devote to writing and publishing as well as visiting other schools, giving readings, workshops and musical performances.
About writer's work
My main interest lies in promoting and developing the Scots Language and I’m always delighted to come and talk to any age group or interest group about this although as a teacher I always enjoy working with young folk most. I’m happy also to give readings and speak about my own work. Particular broader topics include Fife/Coal mining related themes, the twentieth century writers of the Scots Literary Revival, the Medieval/Middle Scots Makars and the Scottish Folk song tradition. I have a particular interest in the role of the Scots Language in Education as a means for building linguistic confidence among pupils and I am happy to provide lesson strategies and materials to enable teachers to do this.
Websites featuring the authorBowhill Players on FacebookGracenote PublicationsWilliam Hershaw at the Scottish Poetry Library
Current events and projects
I am available for readings and writing workshops within a reasonable travelling distance from Fife. I can speak to any adult groups. Generally, my experience in schools is with secondary pupils, S1 - 6. I have an interest in demonstrating how the Scots Language and Scottish Literature can be used within the context of the Curriculum For Excellence Framework at National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher English as well as in Scottish Studies. I have also worked with older Primary pupils on creative writing in Scots using Nature and Ecological themes. For musical events see The Bowhill Players Facebook page.
- Wrote play “Iolaire” for Tynecastle S3 and Stenhouse Primary P7 which was performed at Netherbow Arts Theatre, 2016. Pupils toured Western Isles performing the play. Funded by Bord na Gaidhlig.
- Gaelic version of “Iolaire” performed at National Library of Scotland in June, 2017 by Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pairce (Parkside Primary).
- Judged Garvald Poetry Competition 2017.
- Three sessions with Denend Primary School, Cardenden, year P6, teaching Joe Corrie poems and mining songs.
- Wrote play “Jenny Lee’s Homework Project” for Benarty Primary School which was performed over two days at the Lochgelly Centre. Taught pupils in school over a number of workshop sessions. Play published by Grace Note Publications for Fife schools.
- Provided poetry writing session for St Kenneth’s Primary School, Lochore,
Worked with mature students at Fife College, National 4 level, putting on play “The Darkness”.
- Performed mining songs and poetry at Fire Station Creative, Dunfermline, as part of “When Coal Was King” event.
In 2005 I won the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award hosted by the National Library of Scotland and in 2011 I was awarded the McCash Prize for Scots Poetry by Glasgow University/The Herald. In 2007 I collaborated with sculptor David Annand, writing the poem God The Miner which is inscribed on the statue The Prop as part of the Lochgelly Regeneration Project.
Recently I co-edited the Literary Magazine Fras. In November 2012 Cage Load Of Men - The Joe Corrie Project by The Bowhill Players was released. Funded by Fife Council, I wrote the musical settings for the poems of the legendary Fife poet and playwright. In the summer, 2015 these songs will be performed at the Scottish Parliament as part of The Festival Of Politics.
I am working currently on a three act ballad opera based on the twelfth century polymath Michael Scot of Balwearie.
- Four Fife Poets/Fower Brigs Ti A Kinrick with John Brewster, Harvey Holton, Tom Hubbard, Harvey Holton. (Aberdeen University Press, 1988)
- The Cowdenbeath Man (Scottish Cultural Press, 1997)
- Fifty Fife Sonnets/Makars (Akros Publications, 2005)
- Johnny Aathin (Windfall Publications, 2010)
- Happyland (Fras Publications, 2011)
Selected Poetry Anthologies:
- Dream State - The New Scottish Poets (Polygon, 1994)
- Scotlands - Poets and the Nation (Carcanet, 2004)
- Skein of Geese - Poems from the 2008 Stanza Festival (Stanza Publications)
- The Smeddum Test, 21st Century Poems in Scots (Kennedy and Boyd)
- Scotia Nova (Luath Press, 2014)