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New Writer 2023: Craig Aitchison


Craig Aitchison headshot

Craig Aitchison has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling. He has published fiction work in publications such as Northwords Now, Tangled Web, Wyldblood, Southlight and Pushing Out the Boat. He was one of the poets commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library to respond to Sir Walter Scott’s 250th anniversary.

He is a Scottish Mountaineering Creative. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Scotland, Nutmeg and the Tapsalteerie Collection ‘Sleekit’ was chosen as a winner of the Burrell collection’s Hidden Treasures competition. In 2023 he won both the Badenoch Prize and the Wigtown Poetry Prize for Scots.

Writing sample

"The winds finally dropped, and the crew of the White Star, now alone in a boundless ocean, in Little Dod's words, 'made a friend of the sea for the night.'"

Peter Aitchison, Black Friday: The Eyemouth Fishing Disaster of 1881 

Oan yon Black Friday, maist boats 

turnt fir the shallae herbour

and traisonable rocks ae haim. 

In the brattle an blatter, White Star 

steert fir appen sea. Crewmen

murmelt dissent but hauns follaed

orders, navigatit her throu

the stramash, whiles the daurk witter swallaed

Myrtle, Wave, Blossom, Harmony. 

Gin scud mauls riggin, bluister rents mast 

frae deck, haim is nae refuge; 

it's an airt tae scrim for in the gowstie

rochle ocean, a sea room tae bigg

oan foonds that jaw, rowe an swall, 

waws o PVC, pitch waffs, cauld sky. 

Press Home, Good Intent, Invincible. 

Hove awa frae dunes, frae landfill 

jungle, the haurd miles ahint – 

racks, causeys, mairches. Hale continent. 

Lily of the Valley, Sunshine. 

Trou tae Google Maps, aim fir the five 

rid lichts o the antenna, faur

aff in the daurk. Huddle wairm, dry. 

Forget-Me-Not, Blossom, Guiding Star. 

Fecht draigin witter, trust the ootbuird

ingine will caw the brickle 

fifie, sae stowed wi howp. Hesp haunds

tae bail witter, tho it will 

rin thro paulie fingers. Scrowe picters

ae waitin faimly. Whiss wirds

fir easement. Forbeir. Pit up a wird. 

Enterprise. Fiery Cross. Onward.

Craig says:

'Writing is about connecting – connecting the past and present, the personal and universal, the local and global, the traditional and contemporary. I want people to connect with writing in Scots and find challenge and enjoyment in its possibilities.'