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New Writer 2020: Lyndsey Croal

Children's and YA

Lyndsey is an Edinburgh-based science fiction and fantasy writer who has always enjoyed stories about distant and magical worlds.

Her short fiction and essays have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Imagine a Country (Canongate), We Are Not Shadows (Folkways Press) and Quaranzine (Malefaction Mag). She was runner-up in Cymera Fest and Shoreline of Inifinity’s 2019 Prize for Speculative Fiction and had a winning story read as part of a Liars’ League event in 2020. Her debut two-part audio drama ‘Daughter of Fire and Water’, based on Scottish folklore, was released in February 2021 with the Alternative Stories and Fake Realities podcast.

In 2019, she co-founded Edinburgh Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, and feels fortunate to have such an active literary scene on her doorstep.

Her writing is influenced by her professional background in environmental policy and politics as well as her experience growing up in remote places. While her novels span both adult and younger audiences, they share common themes of morality, belonging, and fighting against all odds.

She is represented by Robbie Guillory at the Kate Nash Literary Agency. You can find on Twitter(this will open in a new window) or via her website(this will open in a new window).

Writing sample

It was busy for a Wednesday night. Traffic was heavy, so it was like a game of chicken when she tried to cross at the pedestrian zones. At least the humidity was lower than it had been for the past few weeks; though the news had said the heatwave was set to last for another month, so this was likely just a short respite. Soon the prolonged mugginess would bring sandstorms and the luxury of walking into town without protective clothing would disappear. She found herself yearning for the virtual worlds she and Mercury explored in Aperta: exoplanets with clear skies and greenery, forests full of birdsong and insect cries. The illusion of freedom at the push of a button. A feeling lost in an instant.

Shaking the image away, she skirted past the bustle outside Dreich Market and turned into Radius Square, where a group of children were playing in the waterjet display that pulsed like ventricles from the concrete amidst a sphere of shrubbery and succulents. Finally, she took her familiar route down an alleyway to a relatively inconspicuous shop with a hologram sign reading: ‘Origami – for tech better than Cranes.’

The door jingled as she entered and cold air welcomed her. Newton was used to a different climate on his home planet, so he always kept the shop in a fridge-like state. The high-tech cooling system that he’d designed himself would, however, cost hundreds of Q-Creds to install in her own apartment.

‘Hey Newton,’ she called towards the back.

A stout figure appeared behind the metal Dutch door, perfectly camouflaged except for his big yellow eyes. Pushing through the panel towards her, he raised his two upper arms like he was truly happy to see her—though his lower ones remained typing away on his portable Q-Comp.

Lyndsey says:

“Writing has been an outlet for me for as long as I can remember, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work towards turning my passion into a career. I’m extremely grateful to Scottish Book Trust for the support, resources and mentoring this award will provide. I can’t wait to get started!”