Author details

Donald Adamson


I am a poet and translator, writing in English and Scots. In 1995 I was awarded a Scottish Arts Council writer’s bursary. I have lived in France and the Middle East, have lectured in the universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä, Finland, and have translated many Finnish poems. I co-founded 'Markings’ and have won several poetry competitions. My poem ‘Fause Prophets’, which in 1999 won the Herald Millennium Poetry Competition, is buried in a time capsule under the walls of the Scottish Poetry Library. I am a member of the Solway Festival Poets.

About writer's work

As a poet and translator, I have taught creative writing and poetry, song and translation to non-native speakers. I am interested in the space between languages (e.g. Scots, English, Finnish) and what it means for one’s identity to choose one language or another. Themes of belonging and dispersal are important to me. I enjoy writing rhyming verse, verse for occasions, songs - working with composers (e.g. with Ali Burns in Castle-Douglas or Robin Erskine in Paisley) and musicians (e.g. World Music Group Värttinä) has been a particular pleasure. I have in the past worked with Scottish primary school children (Sanquhar Primary) and found their use of Scots inspiring.

- Winner, Glasgow Magazine/Radio Clyde Competition 1985
- Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary 1995
- Winner, Herald Millennium Poetry Competition 1999
- FiLi  translation grant (for poems by Eeva Kilpi) awarded April 2012
- Werner Söderström Foundation Grant / WSOY’n Kirjallisuussäätiön Apuraha; awarded April 2014 (aim: to produce collection of translations of the Finnish poet Lassi Nummi)
- Joint third-place McCash Scots Poetry Competition 2014

Websites featuring the author

BlogArc PublicationsIndigo Dream BookshopScottish Poetry LibraryStAnza Map of Scotland (pin yellow W)Kinetic Poetry ProjectPoetry Reading

Current events and projects

Available for readings and workshops: particular interest in working with adults on:
- creative writing workshops
- translation workshops (developing ideas used in seminar in Gatehouse, 2012) and in Finland
- themes of foreignness, identity, language, ‘northernness’ (esp. Scandinavia)

Other work

Collaboration with composers (Ali Burns, Robin Erskine)

Collaboration with Solway Poets John Hudson, Elspeth Brown, Chrys Salt (Times Like This: Poems on Iraq)

Collaboration on translation (with poet Eeva Kilpi and novelist Anni Kytömäki)

Seminars on translating poetry (e.g. at Bakehouse Arts Centre, Gatehouse)

How to Address the Fog: XXV Finnish Poems 1978-2002, Carcanet/Scottish Poetry Library (co-translator)

Widely published in magazines and anthologies, e.g. New Writing Scotland, The Dark Horse, Markings, Southlight, Northwords, Quaich (translations in Scotland), Scotia Nova (Luath: poems for a better nation), Soul Feathers (Indigo Dreams)


Local authority where they are based

Dumfries and Galloway

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, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups

Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Performance Poet, Poet, Writer


English, Scots

Books written

A Landscape Blossoms Within Me

Author(s): Donald Adamson
Kilpi's poems, which encompass everything from bawdy humour to compassionate irony, and from haunting expressions of love and loss to an obvious passion for the natural world, have a shamanistic,