Author details

Helen MacKinven


I write contemporary Scottish fiction, with a particular interest in exploring themes such as social class and identity, using black comedy and featuring Scots dialect. I graduated with merit from Stirling University with an MLitt in Creative Writing in 2012.

In my day job I work with numbers, travelling all over Scotland to deliver teacher training in maths. By night, I play with words writing short stories and developing ideas for my next novel. My short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and literary journals, such as Gutter magazine. One of my novels was shortlisted in a UK-wide competition by Hookline Books.

Originally from the Falkirk area, I now live in a small rural village in North Lanarkshire with my husband. I have two grown-up sons but have filled my empty nest with two dogs, two pygmy goats and an ever-changing number of chickens.

About writer's work

My debut novel, Talk of the Toun, is a coming-of-age black comedy telling the story of love, family life and friendship set in the summer of 1985 in a working class village in the Falkirk area.  A key theme of the story is ‘identity’ and the clash of small town life versus big ambition.

I am currently working on a fourth novel and writing more short stories.

Websites featuring the author

WebsiteTwitterThunderpoint author pageFacebookThe Prime Writers: profileMixing the Colours podcast

Current events and projects

As my day job as an educational consultant involves teacher training, I’m very experienced in public speaking, in particular within a school setting, with 25 years of education and training work.

I’m available for all kinds of events including readings, workshops and residencies. I’m interested in discussing the use of Scots in writing, black comedy, giving a voice to working-class characters, being a mature student, my journey to publication, writing tips and the use of social media. I’m also a member of The Prime Writers collective - a diverse group of writers who have one thing in common: every one of us published our first book when we were over the age of 40.

At a recent event in a former mining village, I spoke to members of a Women’s Guild, none of whom are writers, many of them are not regular readers, and my theme was the importance of oral history and how to capture the memories of working class people through prose and poetry.

I am happy to work with teens or adults, either readers or developing writers and can tailor talks or workshops to suit audience requirements. Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to discuss your ideas.

Other work

My short stories have been published in Gutter magazine, Valve Journal, Alight Here: An Anthology of Falkirk Writing, Octavius, Paragram, 2IMPRESS, New Voices Press and Causeway.

I was involved recently with the Glasgow Women’s Library in their Mixing the Colours project to explore the issue of sectarianism and recorded a podcast of me reading my short story. I’ve also been chosen to be part of the next ‘26 Writers’ project – 26 Children’s Winters.


Local authority where they are based

North Lanarkshire

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, Other1, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups

9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type



English, Scots

Books written

Buy Buy Baby cover

Buy Buy Baby

Author(s): Helen MacKinven
A bittersweet story of two very different women united in their desperate quest for motherhood.
Talk of the Toun

Talk of the Toun

Author(s): Helen MacKinven
A coming-of-age black comedy telling the story of love, family life and friendship set in the summer of 1985 in a working class village in the Falkirk area.