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New Writer 2020: Bert Thomson


Bert lives in Glasgow and because of nothing more than a simple twist of fate, worked as a criminal lawyer for almost forty years. As someone who has always loved stories and the thousands of different ways to tell them, after his retirement in 2016 he began to put short stories together himself.

His stories have appeared in the DoveTales (Scotland) anthology A Kind of Stupidity, Laldy magazine, The Fiction Desk anthology And Nothing Remains and the New Voices Press anthologies for both 2018 and 2019. He was invited in 2017 and 2018 to provide stories and explain their structures and themes to film students at the University of the West of Scotland so that the students might adapt the stories into scripts and screenplays.

Writing Sample

Excerpt from Black Loch:

'Ah’ve telt ye, ah’m no daein it’ he said.

Sam looked at McSwarzenegger.

‘Slap his mooth fur him. ”

He felt the punch hit him hard on the right side of his face. The chair rocked. He wondered if his jaw was broken. As his head cleared he heard Sam’s voice,

‘Right, this is the last time ah’m gonny explain the situation tae ye son. Honestly, if it wiz up tae masel ah wid leave you oot ay it fae here on in. Ah mean, we've hud your input, so tae speak and we could easily deal wae the rest ay it wursels but, Margo wants ye tae dae it an she's what the Italians wid call, the ‘capo di tutt’i capi’.

So kin ah make masel crystal clear son, spell it oot fur ye. There are only two weys we can sort this oot. Wan is, that me an the boys drap ye aff here so tae speak,’ Sam nodded towards the loch, ‘an the other is, that ye agree tae dae it.’

Sam squatted down in front of the chair.

‘Now, ah appreciate mair than anybody, that this is an important, life changing, possibly life ending decision that yer making here son, so ye kin think aboot it fur the next couple of minutes, take your time, but ah wid advise ye strongly tae say aye.

Ah mean, think aboot it- it’s no oor fault that yer oot here. This is a situation entirely of your own making.’

Mark looked at Sam’s eyes. They somehow managed to be both devoid of pity and full of sympathy at the same time.

‘Awright, ah’ll dae it,’ he heard himself say, ‘but ah’m no happy.’

‘Naebdy said you hud tae be happy son.’

Bert says:

"What a way to brighten a dark December day, a phone call telling me I had been given a New Writers Award. I’m both shocked and delighted and looking forward to the next year immensely.”