Author details

Martin Stewart


Originally from Glasgow, I now live on the west coast. I am 33 and have been a full-time writer for nearly two years. Before that I spent six happy years as an English teacher, where my ability to build a quick rapport with classes was my most consistent strength.

I’m looking forward to visiting schools in my capacity as a writer to promote reading and help pupils develop their writing skills, as well as their capacity to take responsibility for their own learning.

About writer's work

My debut novel, Riverkeep, was released in April 2016. It tells the story of Wulliam: nearly sixteen, and destined to succeed his father in a life spent heaving the dead from the river’s icy waters. But when his father is possessed by a parasitic demon from beneath the surface, Wull must take him on an epic journey down the river he’s never explored―or lose him forever. On the way he fills his boat with a group of incredible strangers, and learns what it means to be a man, and to truly love someone.

The novel is frightening and funny, and suitable for capable readers aged 11+.

Wull’s father’s possession bears the hallmarks of a dementia sufferer, and so his journey is both an adventure and a reflection of the challenges of living as a young carer. The novel’s central concerns are friendship, love and loss, as well as the nature of life and death.

Riverkeep has been longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Book Award.

“The writing is ceaselessly brilliant – stylish, precise, limitlessly evocative of landscape, atmosphere, guilt and terror.”

The Guardian


“The writing is both visceral and highly visual… it’s also about learning to let go of those we love, and what makes us human. How the power of memory helps us to tell stories, and stories help to heal; how to live, more than simply to survive, as a compassionate human being in a hostile world.”

The Herald


“Exceptionally diverse and creatively described, this is a rare work that feels like a sophisticated, gritty folktale, full of impossibilities and dramatic tension, and it is both hilarious and tragic in equal measure.”

Bulletin of the Centre for Children's Books (USA)


“Stewart shows a dab hand at crafting memorable characters and thoroughly frightening opponents for them to face. A rich debut: Huck Finn meets Moby-Dick.”

Kirkus―starred review (USA)


“Filled with wild adventure and hilarious dialogue, this vivid, engrossing fantasy will delight readers.”

Publisher’s Weekly―starred review (USA)


“…an exquisite sense of style, and a gift for the singular wonder of language…”

The New York Times

Websites featuring the author

Publisher's WebsiteTwitterAuthor's WebsiteHerald Scotland Article (1)Herald Scotland Article (2)

Current events and projects

I am available for readings, residencies and workshops in schools and libraries, which―drawing on my experience as a teacher―are tailored for the both the BGE and the senior phase.

For upper primary and S1-S2, my presentation explores the nature of the creative process: detailing the journey from idea to book with entertaining stories and appropriate readings.

For S3, the presentation goes into more detail about the nature of writing, acting as an introduction to the increased level of hard work and responsibility expected of them as they move into National 5 and Higher.

Other work

My second novel, The Sacrifice Box, will be released in summer 2017.


Local authority where they are based

South Ayrshire

Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Other1, Outer Hebrides, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups

9-12, Teens

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

Riverkeep cover


Author(s): Martin Stewart
Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family's mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything changes.