Gabrielle Barnby is an Orkney based writer of adult and children’s fiction, short stories and poetry. She is the author of ‘The House With the Lilac Shutters and other stories.’

Everyone tells stories. Every day we talk, describe, ponder, gossip and imagine life outside our own experience. My passion is to turn these glimpses and wonderings into stories. I write short stories, novels and young fiction.

My first collection, ‘The House with the Lilac Shutters and other stories,’ is published  by ThunderPoint publishing and available to buy at The Orcadian bookshop and Amazon and as well as other booksellers and on line shops.

Recently longlisted in The Edge Hill Short Story competition, the collection has also been warmly received by the Scottish press and reviewed in Northwords Now.

Take a moment to explore what else I have been doing and find out something about how I work. If you have a response to something I have written please send your comments or find me on twitter.

The house with the lilac shutters
‘The everyday tragedies, sorrows, hopes and joys of ordinary people… vividly understated and unsentimental.’

Orkney Storytelling Festival

This year the Stromness Writing Group will be hosting one of the festival storytelling sessions. Oct 28th St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Stromness, 14.00-15.30. Full programme out now.

Orkney Storytelling Festival, Kirkwall, Stromness, Gabrielle Barnby



There is a new review of The House With The Lilac Shutters and Other Stories in the August edition of Living Orkney  by John Ross Scott.

Living Orkney, Gabrielle Barnby, Writing, editing, The House WIth The Lilac Shutters

”The chance encounters by the different characters build to create a montage of striking episodes – full of joy, desire, grief and an overpowering sense of spent youth…’

‘My favourites are Irma Lagrasse, about an old piano teacher who loses her job playing the church organ because she falls asleep; Carer with its sinister undertones created through the concerns expressed by a son about the care being administered to his father who suffers from dementia; and the shorter Dead End Pet Shop about ‘Mervyn’ the lizard, stuck in a pet shop for 20 years with a notice on top that says he could live 20 more.’

‘Once I’d finished this collection I was tempted to start reading it again to discover all the secret parts I had missed.’

The Back Road Cafe, Gabrielle Barnby, short story

I have two stories featured on The Back Road Cafe website, including the winning entry for the George Mackay Brown Short Story Competition.

Listener – be careful who you listen to; not all stories are the same; not all storytellers are the same. 

Jeopardy – all is not what it seems between two old friends on a shopping trip to Sydney.

Click here for Old News

New Writing

One evening Stromness Writing Group took inspiration from the first line at the top of page 53 in a collection of books. The book I chose was Grendel by John Gardner. The line was, ‘I looked up through the treetops, ludicrously hopeful,’ and the result was a little piece called Bird. Illustration by Catherine Cooke.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 15.25.23

Enjoy Summer Void ; a little vignette about a little secret on The Scottish Book Trust website, Secrets and Confessions.

Gabrielle Barnby, Scottish Book Trust, Secrets and Confessions, Summer Void.