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New Writer 2023: Craig Aitchison


Craig Aitchison headshot

Craig Aitchison is a writer from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling. He writes poetry and prose in both English and Scots. He has had short stories published in Northwords Now, Tangled Web, Pushing Out The Boat, Southlight, Wyldblood and in the Fly on the Wall Press anthology, 'Demos Rising'.

His poetry has featured in Poetry Scotland and he was commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library to write a poem to celebrate 250 years of Sir Walter Scott. His work in Scots has featured several timed in Lallans magazine and has won the Scots Language Centre's Sangschaw Prize. In 2022 his poem in Scots, 'Sea Room', was shortlisted for both the Wigtown Prize and the Wigtown Scots Prize. Craig is a Scottish Mountaineering Creative and regularly writes poetry for the matchday programme of Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club.

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.'