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New Writer 2023: Alessandra Thom
Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction
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.
It's really hard to be a narcissist when you live in Aberdeenshire. Everything is set in London or New York or Paris or Berlin or Buenos Aires or somewhere interesting. There's nae chance whatsoever that you are the main character in your own story because who would bother setting anything in the Twilight Zone of the North? It's the same thing, day after day, bus after bus, sheep after sheep. The hills never move, never change, the heather blooms, withers, dies, blooms, withers, dies and the sea is the sea and keeps changing in its predictably unpredictable way.
Niamh is explaining this in great detail to a bewildered man called Magnus at the bus stop when it happens.
She feels herself growing taller. Not by much, mind, by about an inch. But still, she feels it. A thin sheet of icy air clambers into the new space between the bottom of her jeans and the tops of her boots, and her gloves seem to shrink slightly on her hands.
She doesn't hesitate to tell Magnus about it. He nods in the same disinterested way as he has been throughout their conversation and then he takes out his phone and pretends as though someone is calling him and he walks away from her with short, sharp steps.
Niamh calls after him that he'll miss his fucking bus! But he is gone and she is alone again, with the sheep and the heather.
'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.'