Born in Manitoba, Canada in 1950. My father was Irish-Canadian and my mother was Scottish. My father and grandfather were homesteaders and wheat farmers on Saskatchewan prairies. I've long been a resident in Scotland. I have interests in hill walking, the environment, local history and music. I also play the harmonica and write songs.
About writer's work
I am a fiction and non-fiction writer; a poet who places additional emphasis on short stories.
I have published seven collections of poetry: Wolfwind (Chapman, Edinburgh, 1996), North East Passage (Scottish Cultural Press, Aberdeen, 1996), Redwing Summer (Lapwing Press, Selkirk, 2005), Rattlesnake Road (Dionysia Press, Edinburgh, 2006), Doubling Back (Dionysia Press, Edinburgh, 2011), Until the Roof Falls In (Indigo Dreams, Leicester, 2012), Missing, Presumed Unread (Indigo Dreams, Leicester, 2015).
I have also published several short stories and had fiction broadcast on Radio Scotland, World Service and BBC Radio 4. Short-listed for 1998 Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition and included in that competition's first-ever anthology.
My poetry and fiction has appeared in most of the leading Scottish literary journals, including New Writing Scotland and the Harper Collins/Flamingo short story anthology. My works have won/been short-listed for major fiction competitions in Scotland, England and Ireland. I have also had work published in England, Canada and the USA. My work has been translated in Gaelic, Spanish and Hungarian. I was Editor of Northwords 1992-97, and The Broken Fiddle, 1994-97. I have also edited anthologies of fiction and poetry. I was Writer-in-Residence for Aberdeenshire Council, 1994-97, appointed first Writer-in-Residence for Scottish Borders, 1998-2001, and was the founder and first editor of Borders literary magazine, The Eildon Tree.
I have collaborated widely with other artists: painters, sculptors, dancers and musicians (founding member of eclectic Borders band Wolfwind). I have toured a dramatic work called Fusion of Fables, centred on the life of Thomas the Rhymer. It was performed in Tula, Russia in September 2000, after touring the Borders and Highlands.
I am a qualified librarian, but have worked variously as a steeplejack, house painter, salmon farmer, journalist, pottery worker and learning disability support worker. My first novel, Wolfclaw Chronicles, was published by 11:9 in Glasgow, in October 2000.
Two Rivers Press in Reading, in December 2000, published a small collection of my short stories, The Sons of Macomish. The Bridge Keeper’s Log Book (Biscuit Publishing, Newcastle, 2011) is a collection of 29 short stories. A non-fiction book about colourful Scots in North America, Rich Man, Beggar Man, Indian Chief, was published by Thistle Press in 1997. The National Museums of Scotland published Twa Tribes, a non-fiction book about Scots and Native Americans. I was also a First Arts Development Officer for Caithness, based in Wick, 2002-2005. Brownsbank Writing Fellow in 2005-2008, a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow for University of York, 2009-2011, and Newcastle University 2013-2014.
Current events and projects
Currently working on several projects: poetry, radio drama, film, fiction and non-fiction, and song writing.