Free Reads & Book Reviews

New poetry

This collection of poems was inspired by my experiences during collaboration with Orla Stevens to celebrate the centenary of George Mackay Brown. They also mark International Refugee Day, and were shared at the George Mackay Brown Memorial Garden, Stromness, Saturday, 25th June.

An Artist’s Blessing



The Garden

I See me

Aqua Benedicta

Travellers, artwork, Stromness, by the sea, Gabrielle Barnby, Orla Stevens, George Mackay Brown
June, Orkney, red poppy, Gabrielle Barnby


A little something about the brief, sometimes elusive Orkney summer.



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

Key – A wee poem, cobbled together at writing group. My subject was singing…

Wonderlust – inspired by the walk to school (over snails)

The Maker – inspired by a photograph by Annie Wright

Margaret’s Lookout – inspired by a visit to St Olav’s Cemetery

Cutting Willow – inspired by winter gardening.


Acrostic poems

Khyber Pass



George Mackay Brown 20th anniversary celebration poems.

The Blessing

Here, now

Gold Diggers

Between Time

Left behind by others, we notice more.


Magnus 900 poems

Go to your knees


Magnus and the Crow



Romance, mystery, Scotland, Islands, Gabrielle Barnby, Khyber Pass, acrostic, Stromness, Orkney, poem
Poem, Gabrielle Barnby, George Mackay Brown 20th, Gabrielle Barnby, book launch, No separation, Alison Gray

Magnus 900 – a reflection on a special year. Film produced by Start Point Media. Poems/reading by Gabrielle Barnby, Orkney, 2017.

Gabrielle Barnby, tea and florentines

Coronavirus and…

…the Beacon

…the Football

This year marks the centenary of the birth of the Orcadian film maker, writer and poet Margaret Tait.

Her writing was inspiration for this screenplay which won the 2018 George Mackay Brown Fellowship Writing Competition.


Writing at an Orkney beach, Gabrielle Barnby, romance, mystery, scottish islands, books, The Oystercatcher Girl, The House with the lilac shutters

Short stories

Listener – a dark Orcadian tale, winner of the 2015 George Mackay Brown Fellowship Writing Competition..

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

Widow Kharms’ Guesthouse – inspired by a book on Russian Absurdist Literature. Russia’s Lost Literature of the Absurd Selected works of Danil Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky Translated and edited by George Gibian, 1974.

Hostel – two walkers find good company.

Sydney Australia Gabrielle Barnby

Flash Fiction 

Summer Void – a little story about hide and seek.

Gift – a seasonal short.

F# – it is very loud in here.

Found, Under the Bridge

Curriculum for Survival



Spray Paint

Orkney Archive, Kirkwall Library, 200 years of diaries, Dylan Stone, Gabrielle Barnby

Making of the Man – a creative response to the front cover image for Carrington’s Cases and the title A Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston.

Creative response to 200 Years of Diaries, Life’s Documents ChronicledDiary continuationThoughts on Bert and V. and Fluffy and Thoughts on Miss Burke

Gabrielle Barnby