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New Writer 2023: Alessandra Thom

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Alessandra Thom headshot

Alessandra Thom is a Scottish writer from Aberdeenshire. Her fiction has appeared in Gutter Magazine. She holds an MLitt with Distinction in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. She writes literary fiction about life in Aberdeenshire and the central belt, mad women, isolation and the wild natural world. She is currently working on her first novel.

Writing sample

I find it hard to breathe in Glasgow. It’s not that the city is polluted, although it is. It is more the heaviness of the air, it seems to hang about you like you are perpetually walking through a soft damp cloud. When you take a breath in it sits in your throat for a moment, like you’ve inhaled water the wrong way.

I smell of damp here. Everyone sort of does. It’s hard to not in a city so close and sticky that breathing is equivalent to one of your seven glasses a day. I’m part fish here. Part haddock. I breathe in water and I smell like the Clyde.

There is a thick black crust of mould which creeps in through the window and crawls up the wall behind my bedframe. The landlord will not fix it – he has told us to open more windows. I’m convinced it’s coming in from the outside. It’s Glasgow’s way of poisoning me. I bought 99p Mould and Mildew spray from Savers on Argyle Street and even that only softens it to a sweet kind of dark. The mould gets into my brain through my nose and ears and eyes and mouth and my whole head feels milky grey like a haar or like granite in the rain or like a dead fish.

Alessandra says:

'I am so happy to have been awarded this incredible recognition by Scottish Book Trust! It was a completely surreal moment. I'm looking forward to all the experiences and support the award offers, and excited to see how my work develops because of it.'