Author details

Stewart Conn


Born in Glasgow in 1936 he grew up in Kilmarnock and has for many years lived in Edinburgh. From 2002-2005 he was the capital's inaugural Makar. Awards from, among others, the EC Gregory Trust, the Scottish Arts Council, the Poetry Book Society and the Society of Authors. Stolen Light was short-listed for the Saltire Prize (2000), and The Breakfast Room was the 2011 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Poetry Book of the Year. In 2006 he received the inaugural Iain Crichton Smith award for services to literature. He is a fellow of the RSAMD and an honorary fellow of the ASLS.

About writer's work

An early strand of his poetry evokes, in an Ayrshire farm setting, familial figures inhabiting a now largely vanished world. Many characters in his subsequent poetry appear against either the changing cityscapes of Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he has spent the bulk of his adult life, or that of rural France. A constant is his fascination with and imaginative response to not just nature and landscape but paintings and music, often by way of exploring the enduring nature and redemptive power of love and art. Noticeable in his later work is an increasing concern with the interplay of the affections, in the face of the fragility and transience of our lives. These themes interweave throughout The Touch of Time: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014).

Websites featuring the author

Website Poetry ArchiveBloody Axe BooksScottish Poetry Library

Other work

Besides a memoir entitled Distances: A Personal evocation of People and Places, he has edited two anthologies for Luath Press:  100 Favourite Scottish Poems and 100 Favourite Scottish Love Poems.  He has read at Poetry and Literature Festivals here and abroad, while at StAnza and elsewhere he and musician John Sampson have presented the sequence 'Roull of Corstorphin' (from Ghosts at Cockcrow) as The Lost Makar. His version of George Mackay Brown's novel Greenvoe was broadcast from the St Magnus Festival, with music by Alasdair Nicolson, for whom he provided the texts of Four Folk Tales, premiered at LSO St Luke's, in Covent Garden.  Over the years he has served on the SAC's Literature and Drama Committees, chaired the former's book awards panel and been a judge for the McVitie Prize, Pushkin Prizes, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and most recently for the Scottish Book Trust's 2017 Next Chapter Awards. He is the hon. president of Edinburgh's Shore Poets.


Local authority where they are based


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


LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Playwright, Poet



Books written

Book cover

Against the Light

Author(s): Stewart Conn
Contains poems conjuring up a wintry Edinburgh alongside a more personal sequence, on the vulnerability of our lives.

I Didn't Always Live Here

Author(s): Stewart Conn
'Not as if I always lived here, mind you...I started off in Govan. Never dreamt in those days I'd end up this side of the river.

The Touch of Time: New & Selected Poems

Author(s): Stewart Conn
The Touch of Time is a comprehensive retrospective of the work of one of Scotland's leading poets drawing on ten previous books published over five decades.

The Breakfast Room

Author(s): Stewart Conn
The waif-like figure peering from Bonnard's "The Breakfast Room" instils a sense of mystery and marginality in Stewart Conn's title-poem.

Stolen Light: New and Selected Poems

Author(s): Stewart Conn
This new selection includes new work as well as poems from Conn's previous British Bloodaxe volumes: In the Kibble Palace, The Luncheon of the Boating Party, and In the Blood (all available from

Ghosts at Cockcrow

Author(s): Stewart Conn
Stewart Conn is one of Scotland's leading poets.

The Loving-Cup

Author(s): Stewart Conn
Most of the poems are narrative-based and use plain language. They are easy to understand.


Author(s): Stewart Conn
This collection of poems and prose pieces reflects Stewart Conn's wide interests and love for people.