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New Writer 2020: Liam Hagan


Liam Hagan lives in a sleepy wee town just outside of Glasgow. In 2016, he graduated from the University of Stirling with a degree in BA (Hons) Film & Media. Since then he has worked in Marketing for one of Scotland’s oldest and most-loved theatres. In 2018, the opening of a play based on one of his short stories entitled Blue was performed at the Centre for Contemporary Arts for Stage to Page.

He was inspired to begin writing stories of his own after exhausting the catalogues of his favourite creative storytellers, William McIlvanney, Jenni Fagan, Alan Warner and Cat Hepburn, though he knows better than to try and copy them.

The time he spends writing short stories in his notes app on buses is bookended by waits, writing in his notes app, at bus stops for further, later buses.

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Writing sample

His phone vibrated on the dashboard, it’s screen blared AALIYAH. He let it ring a few times then accepted. The wailings of his infant son pierced its tinny speakers.

‘Hassan, can you make a quick run to Tesco, please? He needs a vapour rub. He’s blocked up and getting so frustrated.’

‘I won’t be finished until six.’ Hassan read the road signs up ahead, he was heading in the opposite direction from Tesco and home. ‘I’ll bring it over then.’ He sped up.

‘Now, please. He hasn’t stopped crying all night.’

‘Put him in the other room and let him tire himself out.’

‘Hassan.’ Aaliyah, exasperated.

‘I’ve got too many deliveries to make, I can’t fit it in.’

‘Come home and we’ll swap then!’ A day’s frustration burst from her at once. ‘I’ll deliver their bloody beer and cigarettes and you can try and stay in this flat for longer the length of your dinner at least one night a week. Let me go out all night and get away from this.’

Hassan didn’t know what to say. He turned into the street of his next delivery.

‘Please, Hassan. Your son needs you.’ Aaliyah begged.

A wobbling mass of limbs in a track suit spun from the kerb’s edge on to the road ten metres ahead. Hassan put both feet through the brake pedal. The car came to a screeching, shuddering halt. His phone smacked off the windscreen and landed on the back seat, upon which his next four deliveries lay smashed and seeping spirits into the upholstery. The seatbelt pinned to his chest had knocked the wind out of him. He pricked his finger on a shard of Electric Melon MD 20/20 as he reached for his phone, soaking and yelling for clarity.

‘What just happened?!’

Liam says:

"I cannot thank the Scottish Book Trust enough for the honour of receiving this award. I hope to repay the faith they have shown in me over the course of the next year. I look forward to meeting my fellow awardees, and for the hard work to begin in earnest."