Gabrielle Barnby, author and creative practitioner, Orkney.

Gabrielle Barnby, author and creative practitioner, Orkney

Gabrielle Barnby is an author and creative practitioner based in Orkney.

She writes novels, short stories, reviews and poetry, and also encourages creativity in others through community events and workshops. 

Every day we talk, describe, ponder, gossip and imagine life outside our own experience. My passion is to creatively transform these glimpses and wonderings into poetry that moves the soul and narratives that stir the imagination. I write in a range of forms and styles and I’m sure there is something you’re going to enjoy.

The Oystercatcher Girl, is set in the wild and beautiful landscape of the remote Orkney Islands, mystery, danger and romance spill from the pages. My collection of short stories, The House with the Lilac Shutters and other stories, is set in the warm foothills of the Pyrenees and explores the secrets and passions of interconnected lives. Peace-Land commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first world war and follows the internment and scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney.  Death in April Creek is a page turning thriller set in New Zealand written under my pen name Helena Cooke.

A Way Out, And A Way In is my first poetry collection. My aim was to create a collection that was personal and accessible, something that I would find pleasurable to put together and share. 

‘There are always imperfections, they are my troublesome companions on the road to insight.

I couldn’t go anywhere without them.’

When not writing I host a variety of workshops. Currently, I tutor ‘Discovering Your Creative Self’ with Orkney Creative Hub at No25. These on-line sessions discover and rediscover creative awareness through tasks and reflections. I’m also involved in community arts events in Orkney through Stromness Writing Group and am programme leader for Wirdsmit, Orkney’s writing group for children and young people.

If you have read my work please leave a review somewhere, they are essential encouragement and they make a huge difference to small publishers.

If you have a response to something I have written please send your comments or find me on twitter.

Death In April Creek, Helena Cooke, Gabrielle Barnby, pen name, Orkney, New Zealand, thriller, Neverton, Babette Stevenson.
Set in the fictional town of Eastport, New Zealand, this detective thriller gets to the dark heart of family relationships.’
Romance, Scotland, The Oystercatcher Girl, Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney, love, forgiveness, redemption, Thunderpoint, fiction, debut novel.
‘… a beautifully understated story of deception and forgiveness, love and redemption.’
House with the Lilac Shutters and other stories by Gabrielle Barnby. Short stories, fiction, Orkney, Thunderpoint.
‘This is utterly original story-making of a very high quality, brave in its scope and range.’
Peace- Land , Gabrielle Barnby, Scapa Flow, poem, Scuttling, German Fleet, Orkney, 1919.
‘I was left feeling profoundly moved by the flaws in humans which stain our history.’



Gabrielle Barnby, book review, Riggwelter, May We Borrow Your Country.

Read my review of ‘May We Borrow Your Country’ on Riggwelter.

The New Shetlander, Gabrielle Barnby, poems, Orkney

Delighted to have two poems in the Simmer issue of The New Shetlander 

Death in April Creek, The Orcadian, Helena Cooke, Gabrielle Barnby, New Zealand thriller.

Preview of Death in April Creek in The Orcadian newspaper.

Northwords Now, Gabrielle Barnby, Dust, Orkney, Issue 39

My flash fiction piece Dust will be appearing in Issue 39 of Northwords Now

Living Orkney, Gabrielle Barnby, Woman the Ba', Stromness Writing Group

Last issue of Living Orkney, proud to have my poem Bivalvia and a little piece called Woman, the Ba’ included.

Peace - Land, Gabrielle Barnby, review, Orcadian, Orkney, Scapa100, Scapa Flow, German FLeet

Lovely review of the Peace – Land performance at St Nicholas Church in the Orcadian.

Federation of Writers Scotland, Shortlisted, Gabrielle Barnby, short story competition, 2019, Miss Baikie is a Witch.

Very happy for Miss Baikie is a Witch to be shortlisted for the Federation of Writers Scotland Short Story Competition.

National Theatre Scotland, Gabrielle Barnby, Julia McGhee, One Day to Play, Orkney, Folk Festival, Poetry, Dance




Partnered with dance artist Julia McGhee for One Day to Play. She transformed my words into movement and gave a brilliant performance inspired by the birds around the Peedie Sea.

George Mackay Brown, writing competition, screenwriting, Gabrielle Barnby, Margaret Tait 100, Gerda Stevenson.

Pleased as punch to be announced winner of the GMB screenwriting competition this year. It was a privilege to find inspiration Orcadian film maker Margaret Tait’s writing. This year marks the centenary of her birth her writing was inspiration for my screenplay Rise.

Bridport Prize, Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney

Delighted to be shortlisted for the Bridport Prize with ‘Fluking’ a short story I wrote last year after visiting Bergen.

Norq from Ork, Gabrielle Barnby, The Oystercatcher Girl, scottish, Orkney, romance, thriller, mental health. interview.

Review of The Oystercatcher Girl by Sarah Norquoy on her blog Norq from Ork. Peedie interview as well.

Gabrielle Barnby, Sara Bailey, Orkney, book, festival, scottish, islands, thriller, mystery, romance.

Gabrielle Barnby and Sara Bailey, appearing in the Orkney Book Festival 9th-12th November.

The Scotsman, The Oystercatcher Girl, Gabrielle Barnby, new novel, Orkney, Writer

The Oystercatcher Girl, excerpt in The Scotsman newspaper.

Click here for Old News

New Writing

Red inspired by audio recording from Orkney Archive

Farewell to Living Orkney

The Tern – Inspired by the birds around the Peedie Sea.

A Countrywoman’s Diary written for The Heart and Soul of Orkney autumn Foy.

Dingieshowe.Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney.

Stromness Per Mare street name acrostic

Khyber Pass

Gabrielle Barnby, Khyber Pass, acrostic, Stromness, Orkney, poem

Poems written to celebrate Magnus 900.

Go to your knees


Magnus and the Crow