Rab Wilson was born in the Ayrshire mining village of New Cumnock, on 1st September 1960.
His first work to bring him public recognition was his ‘owersettin’, in Scots, of the famous medieval Persian work ‘The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam’ in 2004. The late Prof. Philip Hobsbaum (ex chair of English Literature, Glasgow University) described this work as ‘an astonishing feat!’
His first major collection of poetry, ‘Accent o the mind’, was launched in Spring 2006, again published by Luath Press of Edinburgh, at Scotland’s leading poetry festival StAnza, held at St Andrews. This book was very well received and was described in Scotland On Sunday as containing ‘poetry to rival the best published in Scotland, or written by a Scot, in the past 30 years’.
He has also written a new play, commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association and the Scottish Arts Council, this is a contemporary re-working/imagining of Robert Burns ‘The Jolly Beggars’ which was runner-up in the McLellan Award 2007
On 5th November 2007 he took up post as ‘Robert Burns Writing Fellow – in Reading Scots’, a new post created by Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association and the Scottish Arts Council.
He has recently published a new collection of poetry, titled ‘Life Sentence’, launched by Luath Press in Summer, 2009.
He has recently compiled, edited and published a new anthology of contemporary Dumfries and Galloway poets work, entitled ‘Chuckies fir the Cairn’, that is entirely in Scots and Gaelic, published by Luath Press, this book was launched in January of 2009.
As of May 2009 Rab has been working again with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, setting up a new and innovative Creative Writing Post within an adult mental health setting, as well as continuing in his Burns Fellowship role on a ‘job share’ basis.
He has just been asked by Culture Minister Mike Russell to join a parliamentary working group on Scots Language, with the likes of Derrick McClure, Billy Kay, Janet Paisley, James Robertson, Matthew Fitt and others, to explore ways of strengthening and preserving Scots language in the 21st century.
About writer's work
Ma poetry is maistly written in Scots, tho ah write a when things in Standaurt Englis as weel. It is inspired bi ma ain personal view o whit it is like tae leeve in Scotland in the 21st Century. Ma wark contains poleetical satire, humorous warks, elegies, sonnets, meditations oan global events, anti-war poetry, an the hale range o whit haes inspired Scots makars syne fir a thossan year or mair!
Ah hae bin rinner-up an alsae ootricht winner o the McCash Poetry Prize, an rinner-up in the Robert McLellan Award for a Play Written in Scots, an ah am currently employed bi Dumfries an Gallowa Arts Association as ‘Robert Burns Writing Fellow: In Reading Scots’.
Currently ah am warkin oan a film documentary anent the history an future o coal mining in South West Scotland, in conjunction wi the West of Scotland University.
Ah am alsae pitten the feenishin touches tae an ‘Art Buik’ version o the Roman poet Horace’s ‘First Book of Satires’ (owerset intae Scots) in a jynt project wi the Dumfries artist Hugh Bryden.
Current events and projects
Ah am available fir poetry readins, warkshoaps oan Scots language/poetry relatit themes, and am happy tae dae Scots language warkshoaps in schuils/prisons/hospitals. Ah alsae wid be interestit in takkin pairt in existin ‘Creative Writing’ courses as a contributor tae these ongauns.
Currently ah am daein ‘Creative Writing’ athin a mental health settin wi NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
Rab Wilson can find poetry everywhere in life; in a shopping trolley in the river, a trip to the bookie's, or a catastrophic earthquake.
Almost a thousand years ago there lived in Persia a great and wise man who was a brilliant mathematician, an astronomer to the Royal Court, and a poet of unparalleled vision and wisdom.