I was born in south Wales in 1965 and have lived and worked in Scotland since 1987. I am a short story writer, novelist and poet and have won many national and international awards for my work. I am an experienced teacher of creative writing at both university and school level and have led many fiction and poetry workshops both with adults and young people. I have also designed and delivered several PPD events for secondary school teachers of creative writing and delivered conference papers to university teachers of creative writing under the auspices of NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education). Currently I am employed as a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen where I also co-ordinate the undergraduate Creative Writing Programme. I have given many public readings of my work, some of which have been recorded as podcasts on publishers' websites (for instance Route Publishing's featuring of my short story 'There Is a Saviour' from their anthology Bonne Route). I have performed my work at Aberdeen's Word Festival, Glasgow's Aye Write! festival, Dundee's Ignite festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
I was awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers' Award in 2011 and in February of 2012 I published my debut collection of short stories, Furnace, with Freight Books. Since then I have published a novel, Mercy Seat (Freight Books, 2015) and a collection of poetry, Fossil Record (Smith|Doorstop) chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of only four 'Laureate's Choices' in 2015.
About writer's work
My writing is aimed at an adult audience and in both my stories and poetry I tend to deal with themes of memory and change, familial conflict, sexuality, and the individual's connection with place.
In recent years I have been a major prizewinner in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition, the Fish Publishing Short Story Competition, the Bridport (both poetry and fiction), Poetry on the Lake, the Torbay Poetry Prize, the Yorkshire Open and the Brit Writers' Awards (overall winner in the poetry category).
I am currently working towards a second collection of short stories set in south Wales during the miners' strike.
Websites featuring the authorFurnaceMercy SeatFossil Record: Laureate's Choice
Current events and projects
I am available for readings and workshops in prose or poetry. I am an experienced reader of my work and have been invited to perform at a number of literary festivals in the UK and Europe including Word, EIBF, the West Cork Literary Festival, Dundee Ignite, the Torbay Festival, Aye Write! the Linlithgow Book Festival and Poetry on the Lake.
I am also an experienced teacher of creative writing (both poetry and fiction) at all university levels including PhD supervision and have conducted several PPD workshops for school teachers of creative writing. I have run a number of poetry and fiction workshops with Advanced Higher and A-Level pupils as well as local writers' groups and book groups. I have presented conference papers on the theory and practice of creative writing and have run workshops for GPs on the relationship between creativity and patient care. I have also been a judge for several creative writing competitions including The University of Aberdeen's Bobby Aitken Prize, the George Bruce Prize and the Calder Prize.
'The King of Love' in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2005 'Late Snow' in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2007 'God's Instruments' in The Bridport Prize Anthology 2010 ‘There Is a Saviour’ in Bonne Route: New British Short Fiction (Route Publishing) 'The Newlyweds' in Gutter 1 ‘The Golfers’ in A Book at Bedtime: An Anthology of New British Short Stories (Route Publishing) 'The Wedding Flowers' in Gutter 5 'The Summerhouse' in Causeway/Cabhsair 3 'Watching the Menders' in Silver: An Aberdeen Anthology 'Please' in Gutter 6 'Underworld' in Edinburgh Review 132 'Surfers, Carrowmore Strand' in Acumen 72 'Iron Blue Duns' in Causeway/Cabhsair 4 'Everyone's the Same Inside' on BBC Radio 4 Scottish Shorts