I was born in the Netherlands and grew up in the south of England. Having made Scotland my home since 1990, I now live amongst the hills in Highland Perthshire. I have previously been a teacher of English in Zanzibar, worked for environmental charity WWF as Education Officer, and was writer-in-residence at Hugh MacDiarmid’s last home, Brownsbank Cottage, near Biggar from 2002-5. I have been writer in residence at the Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital since July 2012.
About writer's work
My first love as a writer has been short fiction and my stories have been widely anthologised and broadcast on BBC Radio. I have two published collections of short stories: Life Drawing (2000) and The Searching Glance (2008). I have also written a number of plays, abridgments and adaptations for BBC Radio Four. In 2009, Two Ravens Press published A Wilder Vein, for which I was Editor - an anthology of non-fiction writing about wild places in Britain and Ireland including contributions from Sara Maitland, Raja Shehadeh and Andrew Greig. My first novel, Call of the Undertow, set on the rugged coast of Caithness was published in 2013. After winning a Creative Scotland Award in 2007, I undertook a major project linking walking, writing and memory, resulting in a non-fiction book Doubling Back: Ten Paths Trodden in Memory in 2014 which was made Radio 4’s Book of the Week.
Awards: 1998, Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition, winner with Life Drawing 1999, Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition, shortlisted with "Mother’s Boy" 2001, Saltire First Book of the Year Award, shortlisted for Life Drawing (the short story collection) 2007, Creative Scotland Award; Doubling Back – shortlisted for Robin Jenkins Literary Award 2009.
Websites featuring the authorWebsite | Freight Books | Walking Highlands | Talking Walking | All Write Kreative Kids
Current events and projects
I have tutored many writing courses and workshops including for the Arvon Foundation, and facilitated creative writing as part of a number of major school projects, from learning about constellations to devising interpretation for a long-distance footpath. I have been writer-in-residence at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital since 2012. My teaching in 2014 included workshops in Aberdeen’s schools as part of their Arts Across Learning Festival, using original Jacobite testimonies from the City’s Archives, and a residential week course for adults at Almassera Vella in Spain on ‘Walking and Writing’.