Gabrielle Barnby, author and creative practitioner, Orkney.
Esther’s dreams of a glamorous life in London are shattered when she has a serious accident which leaves her with life-changing injuries. Living in her childhood home in Orkney, she retreats into a silent world until Marcus, a musician down on his luck, comes to stay on the island and reaches out to her through his music.
Described in rich, subtle detail – town, land and sea – in sharply observed and lyrical excitement, Esther’s inner voice explores what it means to have one’s dreams shattered.
Previous publications include The Oystercatcher Girl, a narrative set in the wild landscape of the Orkney Islands, spiced with mystery, danger and romance. The House with the Lilac Shutters and other stories is a collection of short fiction set in the warm foothills of the Pyrenees and delves into the secrets and passions of interconnected lives.
I have also published several poetry collections including A Way Out, And A Way In, On A Bright Breeze and Wayfarers. My aim is to create collections that are personal and accessible, to craft poems that are provoking and pleasurable to share. My 100 verse tribute 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.
‘There are always imperfections, they are my troublesome companions on the road to insight.
I couldn’t go anywhere without them.’
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.
When not writing I host a variety of workshops. I facilitate Writing for Fun, Friendship and Wellbeing for Voluntary Action Orkney. These on-line and face to face sessions bring creative awareness and wellbeing through tasks and reflections based on the environment. 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.
‘beautifully written with a poet’s skill’
ACROSS THE SILENT SEA
Tough, desperate, cutting, hilariously sarcastic, witheringly dry and suddenly tender.
On 18th November I will be co-hosting the Scottish Highlands and Islands Poetry Society (SHIPS) on-line launch.
New Summer release with Sparsile books
New short story The Bikko in Northwords Now Spring/Summer 2023
New poetry in Pushing Out The Boat, Issue 17.
UNESCO RILA Spring School 2023: The Arts of Integrating – CULTURE CEILIDH
Primo Poetica 42 – The Oystercatchers Call Full Time
Pleased to contribute a poem to Mind the Links, Golf Memories. All proceeds go to supporting individuals living with dementia and memory loss. Tippermuir Books.
Press and Journal April 23, 2022, ‘New public artwork takes its place in Stromness’s George Mackay Brown community garden’ Read full article here.
Fantastic to hear my participants reading their own words in this Radio Orkney feature on ‘Raindrops in the Fire’ a collection of creative conversations, memories and poetry from the Dementia Hub, Age Scotland Orkney.
Excited to be involved in this Culture Collective panel
Nourish: Health and Wellbeing
Fantastic to be celebrating Scottish Book Week and the George Mackay Brown centenary by playing my part in The Wondrous Scarf a creative writing workshop with participants from as far as Boston and across the UK.
NEW RELEASE – Beyond the Swelkie, an anthology celebrating the centenary of George Mackay Brown from Tippermuir Books. Honoured to have two new poems included, both inspired by a visit to the GMB’s grave.
Read my piece ‘The Zoo’ in New Flash Fiction Review.
I also have new writing in Pushing Out The Boat, Issue 16.
Launch Sunday 16th May.
Very happy to have a poem in the snazzy new look issue of The New Shetlander
Football and poetry – passionate bedfellows. Thrilled to have The Green Deck included in #primopoetica as part of The Hampden Collection
Pleased to see my piece on protecting creativity featuring in the very first issue of the UHI LitSoc New Beginnings magazine.
New release from Stromness Writing Group, ‘again to get up’ lockdown haiku.
The Oystercatcher Girl, excerpt in The Scotsman newspaper.
Click here for Old News
RHINO – for the endangered, lonely, lovely Javan Rhino
Gratitudes – a list poem composed after creative sessions with individuals living with dementia, staff, family and friends at Age Scotland Orkney.
Wayfarers – new poems inspired by the George Mackay Brown centenary artwork collaboration
Magnificat – Part of the Words into Music project to celebrate the George Mackay Brown centenary.
The Tern – Inspired by the birds around the Peedie Sea.
A Countrywoman’s Diary written for The Heart and Soul of Orkney autumn Foy.
Stromness Per Mare street name acrostic
Poems written to celebrate Magnus 900.