A fantastic SWC event this afternoon at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, courtesy of Hannah Lavery, Sheree Mack, and Appletree Writers (who invited us to their charming Whole Works venue, as part of their Spoken Word Sundays programme).
Mary Wilson entertained us with her wryly humorous short story reflecting on old age, followed by Vicki Jarrett’s powerful story about the Musselburgh races. Then, Catriona Lexy Campbell regaled us with Gaelic poetry which caressed our ears like the Atlantic, before Leela Soma quoted seven-thousand years old Upanishads and affirmed her “Tartan and Turmeric” identity in broad Glaswegian. Frances Corr closed with her deeply moving account of a dying man, an ordinary woman beset by consumerism, passing traffic, and the progress of flowers sitting on a hospice window sill through a summer’s day. What a range of accents and cultures!
Catriona Lexy Campbell is from the Isle of Lewis, but spent much of her life in Plockton, Lochalsh. She has worked as a theatre artist, actor, and writer for many years (primarily in her native Gaelic). She has four published novels and two further novels pending publication this year. She was the first Gaelic Associate Artist with the National Theatre of Scotland in 2011, and her first radio play for the BBC – based on her novel, Samhraidhean Diomhair – was broadcast in December 2012. In 2013, she was the Writer in Residence at Sabhal Mor Ostaig.
Leela Soma was born in Madras and now lives in Glasgow. She worked as a Principal Teacher of Modern Studies. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications, including Gutter magazine. She won the Margaret Thomson Davis Trophy for Best New Writer in 2007, for her then unpublished novel Twice Born (which was later published by YouWriteOn in 2008). Her second novel, Bombay Baby, was published by Dahlia Publishing Limited in 2011. Boxed In, a short story collection, was published by The Pot Hole Press in 2013. She was shortlisted in the Pitch Perfect competition for Bloody Scotland, at the Crime Festival in 2013. Leela is a finalist for the Scottish Asian Woman Award 2014, for the category Professional of the Year 2014. She was commissioned by Glasgow Women’s Library to write a short story for their 21 Revolutions anthology, published March 2014. Leela has served on the committee for the Milngavie Books and Arts Festivals.
Vicki Jarrett is a novelist and short story writer from Edinburgh. Her first novel, Nothing is Heavy, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society First Book of the Year 2013. Her short fiction has appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Gutter, Structo, and Valve. She has been shortlisted for the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Prize, the Manchester Fiction Prize, and the Bridport Prize (twice). She is currently completing a short story collection and working on a second novel.
Frances Corr began writing in a community group many years ago, which led to finishing plays which made it to stage and short stories which have been published in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, and other anthologies. More recently, she has been writing poetry. Frances is also an artist, and has a BA Hons in Painting from Glasgow School of Art and an M.Litt. in Creative Writing from Glasgow University.
Mary Wilson has published a number of non-fiction articles, and a self-help book entitled: Living with a Drinker – How You Can Change Things (Thorson’s 1994). Since retiring from the NHS seven years ago, Mary has been writing fiction for pleasure – and several of her poems and short stories have appeared in four of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) New Voices Press anthologies. She is a member of the SWC English writing group, and is currently writing a fictional comic diary (based on the character in the story she is reading at the SWC/Appletree Edinburgh Fringe showcase event in August).