New Writer 2019: Sarah Smith

Fiction

In 2018, Sarah Smith graduated with Distinction with a MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Her writing has been published in New Writing Scotland 30 & 34, 50GS, Leaf Books, Duality, Gilded Dirt and From Glasgow to Saturn.

In one way or another, her working life has been spent facilitating the voices of marginalised groups and individuals and she has worked as a Disabled Students’ Advisor, Accessible Information Project Worker, Literacy Tutor and Family History Researcher.

Sarah is interested in social history, particularly exploring forgotten stories that lurk in the shadows. She runs Back Copy: Glasgow, an archive and social media project and is currently taking part in Double-Take, a project about writing and making set up by Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow.

Sarah’s work-in-progress is Hear No Evil, an historical crime novel inspired by the real-life case of the first Deaf person to be tried in a Scottish court.

Writing Sample

Extract from Son of the Mars, a short story first published in New Writing Scotland 34, ASLS 2016.

Quarry Pend pales in January sunlight and Charlie finds his mother and sister gone. The wife on the ground-floor tells him they left months since. Regardless, Charlie climbs the steps to the old room and pushes open the door. Inside he stands and stretches his arms up to the ceiling and then out to the sides, marvelling at how small the space has become. A piece of faded cloth that his mother stuffed into a gap at the window has worked loose and is balled up on the bed-frame. Charlie pulls it taut, releasing a cloud of acrid dust that fizzes in a shaft of light cutting through the gloom. He lays the cloth back down on the springs and stares at the pattern the elements have painted on it, tracing the protected lines of colour that remain, a secret map back to that which he has lost.

He leans against a damp, stone wall and takes papers from his inside pocket. A letter of introduction to a Mr Paterson, supervisor at the cooperage where an apprenticeship has been arranged for him and a similar letter addressed to a Mrs Coutts who has a room for Charlie to board in. He folds both letters up again and returns them to the safety of his jacket. From behind his ear, he retrieves the farewell cigarette gifted to him by the harbourmaster at Woodhaven and lights it with a match from a box by the stove. He smokes in silence until he has no choice but to admit it is time to go.

Sarah says:

"I’m absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to concentrate on my writing. I hope to repay the support that Scottish Book Trust have invested in me by completing my novel and getting further along the road to publication.”