Looking for more in Writing and Authors or Applying for the New Writers Awards?

New writer 2024: Katherine Hudson

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Katherine Hudson is an Edinburgh-based writer who grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne. After studying for a degree in politics, she moved to Scotland and has worked in social research and public policy roles. Writing has always been a big part of her day job, but she has also been an occasional writer of fiction, and more recently has focused on developing this. Her writing explores ideas of art, place, and how we come to terms with the past, personally and collectively. She is currently working on her first novel, set in Edinburgh and Berlin.

Writing sample

The sculpture was one of a series inspired by the high flats where I’d run art workshops in the community centre.  I folded twelve storeys into one-foot blocks of metal and toughened glass, engraved with images and words suggested by people I met there. They came to the exhibition. Some of them were politely baffled.

‘I suppose it’s like the shape of the block, hen, but you’ve no put a door on it.’      

But others liked the idea their home was art.

‘Can I touch it?’ Alison asked. I nodded, waving away the gallerist as she tried to intervene. ‘I like how it feels. The wee man said you’d put something he picked on one of them, but he wouldn’t tell me what.’

‘It’s that one,’ I said, pointing it out. ‘I can’t tell you what it is. It’s a secret between me and Jamie.’

I smiled as she went to investigate. I’d asked Alison’s son Jamie what I should put on the final piece. Something about what it was like living there; a picture or some words. He considered it carefully, the way an eight year old does when asked for their opinion. 

Finally he spoke. ‘All I can think is that the lifts smell of piss, but you can’t put that.’

‘Why not?’

He looked equally delighted and horrified. ‘You can’t put words like piss on art.’

‘Lots of artists do worse,’ I assured him. 

‘My ma would kill me.’

‘Tell you what. How about I write it somewhere no-one will see? Only we’ll know it’s there.’

I showed it to him when it was finished, the words engraved into the metal but unreadable behind distorted glass. 

‘When some rich people buy it they’ll have the word piss in their house, and they’ll never know,’ Jamie said.

The idea made us both laugh.

Now Jamie’s sculpture is sitting in a Berlin gallery and it feels like my future depends on it. 

Katherine says:

'It’s a real honour to be chosen for a New Writers Award and I’m very grateful to the Scottish Book Trust and the judges. The programme of support that is offered is fantastic and I’m looking forward to making the most of it and developing my writing over the coming year. '