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New Writer 2022: Rae Cowie

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Rae Cowie discovered her love of writing flash fiction at the start of lockdown and has carried on the romance ever since. She is influenced by themes of mothering and belonging, interested both in folklore and magical realism. She is creating her debut flash fiction anthology, Fledgling, one flash at a time.

She has been published by the Bath Award, Cranked Anvil, Ellipsis Zine, Potluck Zine, Retreat West, Romance Matters and The Great Scottish Canvas. Rae's work has been shortlisted for Flash 500 and the Scottish Association of Writers' competitions. Her short stories have been published in Scottish Book Trust's Rebel anthology for Book Week Scotland, The Scottish Field Magazine, Dinna Mess Wi The Popo (An Aberdeen University, Elphinstone Institute anthology) and literary newspaper, Northwords Now. She has also been longlisted by Fish Publishing.

Rae is an active member of the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) New Writers' Scheme, winning the RNA Elizabeth Goudge award in 2015, and is a proud founding member of the RNA Scottish Chapter, which welcomes writers of romantic fiction based in Scotland. She is currently editing her first novel, with a view to submitting to agents.

You can find out more about Rae on her website(this link will open in a new window).

Writing sample

The Weight of Empty Carrier Bags

The wind whips her lank hair, as she nips along the pavement. Affronted at the state of it, she yanks up her hood. She is sick of finding the shampoo bottle empty, kicking about the bottom of the shower.

She has brought special carrier bags, thick ones with strong handles, and wishes the buggy still worked. But since the lad from next-door plonked his arse on it, its back wheels have been wonky. She should have told him where to go. He is always first to suggest a McDonald's and then she hears Caitlin say, 'Nah. I'm nae hungry.' It rips her insides to hear her daughter fibbing.

Caitlin thinks she doesn't notice when she skips breakfast before trailing off to school. Whilst the little ones wail because they want sugared flakes, and all that's left is wheaties cut through with raisins, hard as bullets. No wonder they gag when it's drier than dust with no milk to wash it down.

Anyway, now Sienna is five, it would look daft her pushing a buggy. It would draw attention to herself. She keeps to the back streets as rain starts to spit. Not far to go.

She will need tampons and wishes she could take panty liners too because she's started to leak. She uses toilet roll when she can, slipping sheets from supermarket toilets into the waistband of her jeans. But panty liner boxes are bulky. She would rather have shampoo.

One more corner and she's there.

Maybe she shouldn't have come? Maybe it's not meant for folk like her? Workers on zero hours contracts. She thinks of sugared flakes and of Caitlin's glossy hair.

She swallows tears and shoves back her hood, then pushes on the food bank door.

Rae says:

'Being offered a New Writers' Award was a dream I never imagined would come true. It's an honour to receive both recognition and support, and I look forward to a busy year, getting to know the other writers, making the most of such a valuable opportunity.'