Get Write In! competition winners announced

I was really honoured to be one of the judges for the first Get Write In! competition for children with care experience.

The judging panel was chaired by Raymond Soltysek. Our Makar, Jackie Kay, also a judge, presented the prizes and gave a humorous, warm and encouraging speech in praise of the winners.The winners were presented with their prizes by Jackie and Mark McDonald, Scotland’s Minister for Childcare and Early Years, at a special event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. The fantastic prizes included a trip to the Harry Potter Experience in London with overnight stay and travel, a storytelling and creative writing workshop, and tickets for Scottish Book Trust Authors Live events.

The junior winner was Joseph Ness for his entry ‘Dumb’, and winner in the senior category was William Cathie with ‘New Life’. All the young writers submitted moving work, some of which was funny and much of which reflected their lives in care: strong and articulate young people.

Get Write In! was supported by The Scottish Book Trust, Who Cares? Scotland, the University of Strathclyde, and the world famous Edinburgh International Book Festival. The other judges were Fiona Buggy from Who Cares? Scotland, Niall Walker from The Scottish Book Trust and Dr. Graham Connolly from CELCIS.

Participants from throughout Scotland were encouraged to submit a 500 word creative story in either English or Scots, capturing the theme of ‘Random Moments’ about an unexpected surprise, a moment that was a turning point, or a fork in the road, which could be transformed into an inspiring story. CELCIS (read their piece on the competition here) led the development of the competition and, as usual, were able to bring lots of energy from writers and people who support looked after children.

Check out my blog on the CELCIS website written on the day of the ceremony.


Launch after launch after launch…

A book launch is a great night out for any writer and I’ve been at a few recently. Two of my writers’ group, Gail Honeyman, Kev Scott, and former member Maggie Ritchie had their events at Waterstone’s in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. Brilliant nights they were too.

Last night, it was Stirling Central Library for the launch Moira McPartln’s Wants Of The Silent, second in her Sun Song trilogy. It was a magic night, with lovely readings, a big crowd and… cake!

Tonight I’m back to Waterstone’s for the launch of Bernard MacLaverty’s latest.

It’s inspiring to go to these events, to meet fellow writers and to tune into the various and wonderful creative voices.

Hope there’s cake tonight!

Get Write In: a brilliant new writing competition for children with care experience

Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar, will lead the judging panel for Get Write In, a new and exciting writing competition for all school-aged children in Scotland who are looked after or have experienced care.

CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) has teamed up with The Scottish Book Trust, Who Cares? Scotland, the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde, and the world famous Edinburgh International Book Festival to run this distinct and exciting competition.

I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel with other excellent writers and people committed to making the lives of young people as good as they can be.

If you are a young person, or want to pass the details onto a young person you know, then just go to the CELCIS Get Write In page. Good luck!

Stirling Writers’ Group

I will be tutoring at the newly reformed Stirling Writers’ Group for the next couple of weeks, starting on Tuesday, 18 October. The group, still organised by Robert Ritchie, will be meeting in its new home: the Burgh Coffee House in the city centre from 7pm.

It is through Stirling Writers’ Group that I developed confidence in my writing. This was mainly under the tutorship of Magi Gibson and, latterly, Chris Powici. Many people of note have passed through the group. I hope that this new start is a sign that the energy that made it the best group in the country (in many people’s view) is now reinfected.

Come along. Be part of Stirling Witers’ Group.

Come East to WEST on 6th September

Come East to WEST for a great night of music and spoken word. The Scottish Writers’ Centre is bringing together six poets: Charlie Gracie; Finola Scott; Mary Thomson; Derek Parkes; Lesley Traynor and Frances Corr for a great evening of poetry and music at WEST Brewery in Glasgow Green.

Come East to WEST

The evening will compered by the incomparable Donal McLaughlin, award winning short story writer and translator.

Musician Will McArthur will be there, and the whole evening will be free to all. If you come East to WEST you’ll have a blast.

I am delighted to be taking part in such an excellent event with such a range of talented musical and writerly artists. The writer, Ruby McCann, Chair of the Scottish Writers’ Centre has put a huge effort into getting this excellent evening going.

Callander Poetry Weekend 2016: 2-4 September

Another excellent weekend coming up of poetry, music and  fun at Callander Poetry Weekend. This annual extravaganza is truly one of the highlights of the year. The weekend will run from Friday 2 till Sunday 4 September.

Chris at Callander
Chris Powici at Callander Poetry Weekend 2015

Sally Evans and Ian King are fantastic supporters of poets and poetry, and the weekends are always filled with strong words and plenty of laughs (plus excellent cakes). This year’s programme promises the usual high standard with poets coming from all over Scotland and beyond. Check out the Facebook page. Alternatively, go to Sally Evans’ website for more information.

Charlie Gracie at Callander poetry weekend

I have a wee spot on Sunday afternoon, reading in the final session with Ray Evans, Ian King, Irene Cunninghame and Magi McGlyn.

I hope you get along. You’ll love it! You will hear well-established and wonderful poets. Plus, you will hear up and coming and wonderful poets. And, you will have your hearts and minds stretched in fabulous directions.

The Write Angle: a force for good

The Write Angle

For ages, I’ve wanted to go to a an event run by Ian Maxtone of The Write Angle. Last week, I did, and it was brilliant. Heroes, in Cafe Roxy in Falkirk, was the latest of their spoken word and music nights. It was a pleasure to read alongside other wonderful writers.

The Write Angle has the ablity to connect writers across Forth Valley. Due to this, there was a huge range of people there. Many of the folks who read are used to sharing their work out loud, while others were speaking for the first time. There was music, and there were laughs, and there was a warm fuzzy feeling in the room. Ian’s compering, in additon to his behind the scenes organising, was funny, encouraging, uplifting and downright groovy.There was even a raffle. How many places can you hear wonderful writing, and excellent music and win some Mr Sheen?

The Write Angle gave the readers a wonderful attentive and appreciative audience. Most importantly, everyone had a good time with great music and brililant writing. Thanks Ian.

NVP Anthology: Soundwaves

What a great night in the Victorian Bar, Tron Theatre Glasgow for the launch of the Federation of Writers Scotland NVP anthology: Soundwaves.

A big crowd, many of whom, including me, who read from their work in this beautifully put togther book.

Thanks to all, especially Etta Dunn whose hard work made this happen.

Pure bevvied at Scotia Extremis

And so it inevitably shifts to the bevvied core of our wee nation. Scotia Extremis is hiiting the drink. As ever, it is the far ends of things, this time from Islay to Buckie .

Uisga Beatha by Fran Baillie is a sumptuous honouring of Laphroaig, the sharp and joyous malt from Islay. She totally gets it: I think she might enjoy a wee dram herself, you know. ‘Pass owre a tummlerfuhl o the cauld, wild west, / mahltit barley, slow-distilt, pure poetrie;’. Pure poetry right enough.

buckfastIn some kind of contrast (and I say this as a boy whose youthful drug of choice was the sweet cherry wine of the Monks), Buckfast is given its place in the Scotia Extremis project by Claudia Daventry with her funny and punchy Commotion Lotion. From disco to fist fights, Caludia rocks this one. This is not a relationship going well; her, the burd and the Buckie. ‘Ma skank’s a steamin jakey, / she doons a few then skelps me’. Luvvy jubbly.

Scotia Extremis has been on the go for several  months now. Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone have galvanised a load of writers around our nation’s essential nature, its soul. The starting point was McDiarmid’s assertion that “I’ll ha’e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur / Extremes meet …” Great stuff already and more to come, bevvied or not.

Charlie reading @ The Muse @ St Louis Cafe Glasgow

LinMuse 15 Juneda Jackson is hosting another night of spoken word at the St Louis Cafe Bar in Partick next Wednesday night, 15th June. Come along to The Summer Speak Out @ The Muse @ St Louis to hear me read alongside Stephen Watt, Frances Corr, Finola Scott and others. There’ll be music from Linda Jackson and Marc Mooney and  all!

Linda is well kown as a blues singer, poet, performer and teacher of creative writiing.

Sait Louis Cafe Bar is a vibrant place with lots of live music, great food and a magic atmosphere.

Come along and give it your support… and have a good time with great words and music.