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Architecture & Literature

By 09/04/2014December 11th, 2018No Comments

Tuesday 15th April 2014; 7pm to 8.30pm,
CCA Club Room, Glasgow:

‘Architecture & Literature’ by the SWC & GSA


Throughout 2013, Glasgow’s Mackintosh School of Architecture (Glasgow School of Art), in collaboration with Strathclyde University’s architecture department and various architectural schools across Europe (Berlin, Dublin, Naples, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Weimar), instigated a project for fourth and fifth year students to design a new “literary institute” within the city of Glasgow. This brief coincided with one of the primary aims of the Scottish Writers’ Centre: to raise funds for a permanent base, in which the functions of the organisation could grow and blossom in a future Scotland.

Current and outgoing chairpersons Jacqueline Smith and Douglas Thompson collaborated with the Mackintosh School in developing the brief and reviewing the projects. The final result has not just been a series of exhibitions across Europe, but also a sumptuous 336 page book which showcases the very best design solutions that the students devised for five different sites across Glasgow. The book also contains four short stories by Glasgow writers, specially commissioned to explore the relationship between literature and architecture. Those writers (Magi Gibson, Donal McLaughlin, Douglas Thompson, and Brian Whittingham), will be reading from their work, alongside Mackintosh School tutors Mark Baines and Johnny Rodger, in order to generate and illuminate the meeting of two parallel art forms in one future vision.


Magi Gibson is a poet, short story writer, and children’s author. She lives in Glasgow, and is currently Reader in Residence with Glasgow Women’s Library. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, and her best-selling poetry collection, Wild Women of a Certain Age, is in its fourth print run. She has held several Scottish Arts Council Fellowships, a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship, and received a major Arts Council bursary in 2009 for her children’s writing. She has just written her first stage play.

Born in Derry, Donal McLaughlin has lived in Scotland since 1970. The author of An Allergic Reaction to National Anthems & Other Stories, his second collection – Beheading the Virgin Mary & Other Stories – is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive early in 2014. Donal also translates from German. Known for his bilingual edition of the poetry of Stella Rotenberg (Shards) and his translations of over one hundred German-Swiss writers for the New Swiss Writing anthologies, he also collaborated with Chris Dolan on a stage version of The Reader. He is the voice of Urs Widmer, in English – My Father’s Book was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award 2013 in the United States – and also translates Arno Camenisch, Monica Cantieni, Abbas Khider, Pedro Lenz, and Christoph Simon. A founding member of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, Donal featured as both an author and a translator in Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive).

Douglas Thompson graduated from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in 1989, and won the Grolsch/Herald prize for new Scottish writing in the same year (as well as second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition of 2007). He was made a director of The Scottish Writers’ Centre in autumn 2011, and has been its chairman since autumn 2012. As well as numerous short stories and poems in magazines and anthologies, he is the author of seven novels: Ultrameta (2009) and Sylvow (2010), both from Eibonvale Press, Apoidea (2011) from The Exaggerated Press, Mechagnosis from Dog Horn (2012), Entanglement from Elsewhen Press (2012), and Volwys and Freasdal from Dog Horn and Acair Publishing respectively (due in late 2013/early 2014). His work defies categorisation, variously classed as horror, science-fiction, fantasy, literary, and historical. Surreal is, perhaps, the best fit.

Brian Whittingham was born in Glasgow, and has five poetry collections published – the most recent of which are Clocking In Clocking Out (a collection of poems and photographs about people who work), Bunnets ‘n’ Bowlers (a collection of poems and photographs about Clydeside shipbuilding), and Septimus Pitt & The Grumbeloids (a collection of poems and illustrations for children) He has had five plays written and performed, including Two Nights and a Sunday and Come Oan Get Aff (both plays for schools). A variety of his short fiction has found publication, amongst which is The Charing Cross Carpet (Glasgow Herald short story winner, 2000) and The Father Who Bought Fear (for BBC Radio 2). Brian has held writing fellowships in New York, France, and Lithuania, as well as a variety of residencies in Scotland. He has also edited West Coast Magazine, Nerve magazine, and New Writing Scotland. Brian is currently living in Glasgow, and lectures Creative Writing at The City of Glasgow College.

Mark Baines worked with Gillespie Kidd & Coia until 1979, and has taught at the Mackintosh School of Architecture since 1982. During this period he also worked on a number of housing projects, most notably at Glasgow Cross with Gholami Baines Ltd. He has curated exhibitions on the work of Alexander Thomson, Gillespie Kidd & Coia, and Architectural Drawing (as well as writing and lecturing on these subjects).

Johnny Rodger is Reader in Urban Literature at the GSA, and has edited (with Mitch Miller) The Drouth Magazine since 2001. He has also published twelve books, including Contemporary Glasgow (Rutland Press, 1999), A Guide to Recent Architecture in Edinburgh (Ellipsis/Batsford, 2001), and Gillespie Kidd & Coia 1956-87 (RIAS, 2007).

This is a free event, open to all.

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