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!

Pefkin’s new album Murmurations includes Charlie Gracie poem

Murmurations is Pefkin’s new vinyl album on the Belgian-based Morc Records. Excellent, stuff, with long, ranging pieces that take you one minute to dreaming, the next to intensity. Pefkin is Gayle Brogan’s solo musical persona.

Among the pieces on the album is Jackdaws, based on a poem of mine. Gayle picked up on it when she played one of the HillGigs house concerts in Thornhill in 2016 as part of the brilliant duo Electroscope (with John Cavanagh). I was at the recent concert in Glasgow’s Glad Cafe to hear the last gig on Pefkin’s tour with Bell Lungs and Chris Cundy.

As well as Murmurations, Gayle has many CD’s that can be found on Pefkin’s Bandcamp site. You should also check out Morc Records for more of Gayle and other amazing electronic and experimental musicians.

Here’s what WIM from MorC Records say about Pefkin.

“Gayle Brogan has been a key figure in the experimental music scene since the mid nineties. She first gained recognition as one half of the remarkable duo Electroscope, mixing psychedelic pop, lofi, drones and folk. And as the woman behind Boa Melody Bar, she became a well known distributor of underground music as well, and so got exposed to more great music than most of us will ever be.

When Electroscope went on hiatus in 2000, Gayle picked up the name Pefkin, and continued on the same path, though the music shifted a bit more towards freeform folk and longer dronepieces. This resulted in a string of well-received releases on prestigious labels like Pseudoarcana, Foxglove, Ruralfaune, and in 2014 in a first LP on morc (now sold out).

​The past couple of years, Electroscope has become more active again as well, exploring new sounds, and as one half of the duo Barret’s Dottled Beauty, in which she performs alongside Kitchen Cynics’s Alan Davidson, all while keeping her work as Pefkin top level.”

Scotia Extremis: week ten

You’ve got to love the place whaur extremes meet: Scotia Extremis, now at week 10 of a year-long exploration of the edges of Scotland and Scottish poetry.

Week 10 is of the west, of the islands. The Balamorie of Sheenagh Pugh’s True Places is in the past, but very real in her extrapolation, despite Balamory being unreal on almost all its literal levels. Summerisle, by Hugh McMillan is almost super-real in its insight into this remote place and its resonances.

Opportunity with Creative Scotland: peer reviewers being sought

Creative Scotland is looking for writers and other artists to become peer reviewers for their funded projects.

It is part of their overall programme of evaluation of the work through their development of an Artistic and Creative Review Framework to create an open dialogue with our Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) around the artistic and creative quality of their work.

How does it work?

The Framework is designed to help Creative Scotland, the sector and stakeholders to support a culture of continuous improvement and to better understand how we consider quality and excellence across the wide range of work that we fund. We will do this through a process enabling 3 perspectives on the work of the 118 RFOs:

  1. Self Review (by the RFO)
  2. Creative Scotland Review (by Creative Scotland’s Lead Officer for the RFO)
  3. Peer Review (by independent, relevant expertise from the sector)

Interested? Go to their website for more information.

Football poems from Scotia Extremis in week 4

Scotia Extremis has another two poems this week,. These are not simply football poems, but evocations of life as we live it together, as a town or a nation, against others only in the sense that we are for ourselves.

This time, the poems are in celebration of two of Scotland’s greatest players: the artist that was Archie Gemmill and and the brilliant battler that was Billy Bremner. From two distinct poetic voices: Harry Smart and Graham Fulton. 

The poems are intense and hearfelt. More great stuff from Scotia Extremis.

More lovely poems from Scotia Extremis

Another pair of beauties this week in Scotia Extremis.

From two Makars, no less: Christine de Luca is Edinburgh’s and Elizabeth Rimmer, the Federation of Writers in Scotland’s.

Both poems are great, each a reminisce of distant and recent cultural icons: Celtic Connections and The White Heather Club. You’ve got to love the humourous way Christine and Elizabeth take it on: humour and pathos. Ideal.

Elizabeth, Charlie and Sally at Mugstock. July 2015.

To add to the moment, here is a photo from the inaugural Mugstock Festival last year: Elizabeth Rimmer, Charlie Gracie and Sally Evans after our poetry reading there.

Scotia Extremis: exploring the soul of Scotland

Check out Scotia Extremis, a new project from Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone. This brings together poetry and poet’s voices from all over Scotland for 2016, with new work each week.

The first poems, from Ryan Van Winkle and Roseanne Watt are on the site now: beautiful words to kick off a great project.

I’m delighted to be playing a small part in, so look out for a poem from me over the next few months.

Here’s what Andy and Brian say on the Scotia Extremis site:

Scotia Extremis: Poems & Poets

This poetry project explores the soul of Scotland through an examination of extremes. Each week we will publish a brace of poems on a particular Scottish theme – people (past and present), places (real and imagined), culture (high and low) and customs (ancient and modern).

The project will last one year, from Burns Night 2016 to Burns Night 2017. Those invited to participate are either poets from Scotland (though not necessarily living there) or poets resident in Scotland (though not necessarily Scottish).

Writers have been invited to contribute poems inspired by themes drawn up by the editors Andy Jackson (an Englishman based in Scotland for over twenty years) and Brian Johnstone (a native Scot, long resident in the country), and while the list of themes reflects the interests and obsessions of the editors, it is hoped that it also picks out some of the most telling strands of the nation’s DNA.



New perfomance with the Red Ensemble: 14 September 2011, Glasgow City Halls

Charlie will perform live with the Red Ensemble on Wednesday 14 September in the City Halls in Glasgow.

They will perform new music, including a specially devised multi-media work, Then I was really tiny, based on a story told by a 3 year old boy to his father.

Using sound, images, dance, music and poetry, the ensemble and Charlie will give a surreal interpretation of the child’s story, revealing their response to entrapment, fear and liberation.