My writing

Farewell Living Orkney

I picked up the last issue of Living Orkney on Thursday. Inside its cover were many familiar things. Some items do become familiar to the point of becoming invisible, like wellington boots marooned by the back door all summer until October when they are picked up again, like the smart woollen coat worn when it’s […]

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Key

Key Hush little baby, A hundred times, Serenade to the ocean of sleep mother and the deep. The hat’s on the sun Shining loud as church bells Skipping street-free In bright season of green. Curse the comparison Of public choir And sweet-voiced solos That pops private bubbles of bliss. A voice the size of a […]

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Rise

RISE This is the opening of my screenplay Rise, winner of the 2018 George Mackay Brown Writing Competition. It was inspired by two Margaret Tait poems, Queen on Horseback and Face-kicking, both from her collection The Hen and the Bees. An audio recording of Queen on Horseback is also available at at the Scottish National Poetry Library sound archive. [...]Read more of Rise...

A Countrywoman’s Diary

A Countrywoman’s Diary II December 3rd At the back door as dawn broke there were black birds, crows prevented from flying back to Kirkwall last night. They rose, their caws were short and wheedling, echoing as they messily rose into the sky. Outside, the bushes are empty save for a last handful of yellow leaves. [...]Read more of A Countrywoman’s Diary...

ASLE talk

People, poems and place: Stromness an acrostic town. Gabrielle Barnby ASLE conference, 5-7th Sept, Orkney   ‘There is no skill or enchantment To make the old coat green, There can be at best, now A flung or fated pattern of patches’ Excerpt from An Old Man in July by George Mackay Brown, Northern Lights (1999)   […]

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