Poverty Safari with Loki, Rana Marathon & Victoria McNulty

Loki, Rana Marathon & Victoria McNulty – what a line up at Saint Luke’s on the 23rd! The Scottish poetic voice is alive and well.

I’d never heard Rana Marathon before. She’s a kick-boxer of a poet, a wordsmith with a sharp smile. She’s rhythmic and funny and straight to the point. Everything she spoke and rapped was worth listening too, and was delivered in a way that tells you she works hard to get the words right.

Victoria McNulty is an important voice in Scottish culture. She makes the links that need making: history, social policy, real lives. Lesley Traynor says Victoria McNulty is fearless – she was certainly fearless in Saint Luke’s and everybody loved it. Her work references politics and poetry and the lives of people in a catchy, energetic way.

Loki hits the stage like a train. There’s really very little to say. Genuine, he is. I always feel challenged and inspired by what he says, even if I’m not sure I agree completely. This is artistic integrity. At one point Darren McGarvey, author of the powerful Poverty Safari, turned away from the audience and revealed the depth of both his pain and his poetry – beautiful that a man has the courage to be so honest.

And when someone uses cunt and metatextual in the same sentence you know you’re in the presence of greatness.

Events to launch ‘To Live With What You Are’, the new novel by Charlie Gracie

Getting close folks! I hope to see you at one of the events to launch ‘To Live With What You Are’, the new novel by Charlie Gracie: Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh dates below. We are waiting for confirmation of the Newcastle Upon Tyne date early in the new year, and I’ll be doing other readings over the next few weeks and months.

 

dates in the diary

20 November, Glasgow. Scottish Writers’ Centre in the Centre for Contemporary Arts. 7pm. This will include readings from the brilliant Shelley Day and her new short story collection ‘What Are You Like’ and the fantastic Colin Will with his new short story collection ‘Wordplay’. All three books are published by Postbox Press.

5 December, Stirling. Central Library. 7pm. This event will be shared with Elizabeth Rimmer, who will be reading from her wonderful, recently published poetry collection ‘Haggards’, published by Red Squirrel Press.  Get tickets for this one from Eventbrite.

15 December, Edinburgh. Scottish Poetry Library. 1pm. But Shelley Day will be there alongside Thomas Stewart who will read from his debut poetry pamphlet ‘Empire of Dirt’, published by Red Squirrel.

Looking forward to seeing you at one of these events so you can hear and buy this first novel by Charlie Gracie. Stay in touch on Charlie Gracie Writer on Facebook and BailliestonBard on Twitter for more news!

Big thanks as ever to Sheila Wakefield, the publisher and owner at Red Squirrel Press and Postbox Press.

Meditation and creative writing

Come along to Sunrise Holistic on Saturday 1st September for an excellent opportunity to tune in to your creativity. Writer Charlie Gracie and holistic therapist Teresa Johnston give you the opportunity to combine meditation and creative writing in the company of like-minded other people. The workshop, Our Inner Emotions and The Written Word, will run from 10.30 am till 4 pm.

Teresa’s background in radiation oncology in Seattle, Manhattan, Glasgow and Edinburgh led to her passion for delivering care as an Energy Medicine Practitioner. Teresa says, ‘As a holistic health carer, I consider health with regards to illness and disease as impacted by factors of environment, nutrition, and exercise. Furthermore, my holistic approach also takes into consideration a person’s stress levels, and helping each person to find balance in life.’

Charlie GracieCharlie is a writer of poetry and fiction. His first poetry collection, Good Morning, will be followed up later this year by his debut novel, To Live With What You Are, and early next year with his second poetry collection, Tales from the Dartry Mountains. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies and journals and he is a member of the Board for the Scottish Writers’ Centre.

Teresa and Charlie are experienced in running workshops and supporting people to dig deep into their creative selves.

When, where and how much?

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Saturday 1st September at Sunrise Holistic in Bo’ness. To book a place, call Teresa on (44) 0784 140 8120 or e-mail her at SunriseHolistic@gmail.com

The full-day course, with lunch included, costs £55.00. (Let us know of any dietary requirements you have.) Meditation and creative writing are guided and supported by Teresa and Charlie. This is a great chance to energise and express yourself.

 

Creative writing workshops with Sunrise Holistic

Sunrise Holistic
Teresa Johnston

Charlie Gracie is developing an exciting partnership with Teresa Johnston from Sunrise Holistic. Teresa has established a centre for spiritual and emotional balance in Bo’ness over the last few years – now she’s brought a poet in to tip it all up with creative writing workshops!

We had our first venture in April this year and it was a fantastic evening with an excellent group of people. The group brought such a lot of energy and I’m convinced that the space Teresa has created in her centre really adds to the creative energy. We have other creative writing workshops planned for Wednesday 25th August (evening) and Saturday 1st September (all-day with writing and meditation).

Creative writing is important. It’s important for us all that people dig into themselves and lay it out for others to read and feel and think about. It’s also important for us all as individuals to tap into what’s inside us; I know I couldn’t survive without writing.

 

So, if you’re new to creative writing, need to get your spark back or are looking to link in with other like-minded people, this could be for you. We create a friendly, supportive atmosphere with plenty of encouragement and no pressure. Our aim is to help you learn how you can bring your words to life. We want you to leave feeling refreshed and energised, with your inner emotions more connected to your expressiveness and creativity. Sunrise Holistic is all about improving your health and helping you to re-balance your life – your creative spark is an important part of who you really are.

creative writing workshops: August is a Wicked Month
August workshop

creative writing workshops: Creative Writing and meditation
September workshop

Get in touch with Teresa at Sunrise Holistic to book your place at either of the creative writing workshops.

It’s easy to book your place: contact Teresa at Sunrise Holistic on Facebook by phone on 07841408120 or by email at SunriseHolistic@gmail.com

Scottish Writers’ Centre at Aye Write!

Charlie Gracie is delighted to be hosting the Scottish Writers’ Centre event at Glasgow’s Aye Write! book festival on Wednesday 21st March at 6pm.

This free Speakeasy event gives members a chance to share their writing with a wider audience and has become much-loved over the last few years.

The Scottish Writers’ Centre is ten years old later this year, so look out on our website for information about submitting for the celebratory anthology being brought out in partnership with the wonderful Red Squirrel Press.

Workshop: Our Inner Emotions & The Written Word

Would you like to take part in an emotionally and creatively energising workshop in beautiful surroundings? I’m delighted to be working with holistic therapist Teresa Johnston to offer this opportunity.

We are excited to offer a day retreat focused on the many benefits of mindfulness in relation to inspiration and creativity. The cost is £55.00 and includes a morning walking meditation, then creative writing, followed by lunch (with vegetarian and gluten-free options). In the afternoon, we will introduce further writing techniques complimented with seated meditation.

The workshop takes place on Saturday 24th March 2018 in rural Stirlingshire.

Teresa, originally from Seattle, teaches mindfulness meditation at Sunrise Holistic, her healing practice in Falkirk.

Shetland cattle at West Moss-side

Based on the beautiful West Moss-side Farm by Thornhill, you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous scenery and enjoy the comfort of like-minded people to fuel your both your writing and meditating practices. West Moss-side is run by organic farmer and basket maker Kate Sankey. Kate’s place is a hub for all sorts of natural creativity, based on the edge of Flanders Moss in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Space is limited to 15 participants and booking is essential. To reserve your place, call Teresa on 07841408120 or email SunriseHolistic@Gmail.com

We are looking forward to sharing a wonderfully creative and peaceful day.

Get Write In! competition winners announced

I was really honoured to be one of the judges for the first Get Write In! competition for children with care experience.

The judging panel was chaired by Raymond Soltysek. Our Makar, Jackie Kay, also a judge, presented the prizes and gave a humorous, warm and encouraging speech in praise of the winners.The winners were presented with their prizes by Jackie and Mark McDonald, Scotland’s Minister for Childcare and Early Years, at a special event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. The fantastic prizes included a trip to the Harry Potter Experience in London with overnight stay and travel, a storytelling and creative writing workshop, and tickets for Scottish Book Trust Authors Live events.

The junior winner was Joseph Ness for his entry ‘Dumb’, and winner in the senior category was William Cathie with ‘New Life’. All the young writers submitted moving work, some of which was funny and much of which reflected their lives in care: strong and articulate young people.

Get Write In! was supported by The Scottish Book Trust, Who Cares? Scotland, the University of Strathclyde, and the world famous Edinburgh International Book Festival. The other judges were Fiona Buggy from Who Cares? Scotland, Niall Walker from The Scottish Book Trust and Dr. Graham Connolly from CELCIS.

Participants from throughout Scotland were encouraged to submit a 500 word creative story in either English or Scots, capturing the theme of ‘Random Moments’ about an unexpected surprise, a moment that was a turning point, or a fork in the road, which could be transformed into an inspiring story. CELCIS (read their piece on the competition here) led the development of the competition and, as usual, were able to bring lots of energy from writers and people who support looked after children.

Check out my blog on the CELCIS website written on the day of the ceremony.

 

Launch after launch after launch…

A book launch is a great night out for any writer and I’ve been at a few recently. Two of my writers’ group, Gail Honeyman, Kev Scott, and former member Maggie Ritchie had their events at Waterstone’s in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. Brilliant nights they were too.

Last night, it was Stirling Central Library for the launch Moira McPartln’s Wants Of The Silent, second in her Sun Song trilogy. It was a magic night, with lovely readings, a big crowd and… cake!

Tonight I’m back to Waterstone’s for the launch of Bernard MacLaverty’s latest.

It’s inspiring to go to these events, to meet fellow writers and to tune into the various and wonderful creative voices.

Hope there’s cake tonight!

Get Write In: a brilliant new writing competition for children with care experience

Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar, will lead the judging panel for Get Write In, a new and exciting writing competition for all school-aged children in Scotland who are looked after or have experienced care.

CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) has teamed up with The Scottish Book Trust, Who Cares? Scotland, the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde, and the world famous Edinburgh International Book Festival to run this distinct and exciting competition.

I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel with other excellent writers and people committed to making the lives of young people as good as they can be.

If you are a young person, or want to pass the details onto a young person you know, then just go to the CELCIS Get Write In page. Good luck!

Stirling Writers’ Group

I will be tutoring at the newly reformed Stirling Writers’ Group for the next couple of weeks, starting on Tuesday, 18 October. The group, still organised by Robert Ritchie, will be meeting in its new home: the Burgh Coffee House in the city centre from 7pm.

It is through Stirling Writers’ Group that I developed confidence in my writing. This was mainly under the tutorship of Magi Gibson and, latterly, Chris Powici. Many people of note have passed through the group. I hope that this new start is a sign that the energy that made it the best group in the country (in many people’s view) is now reinfected.

Come along. Be part of Stirling Witers’ Group.