One month ago today, the Scottish Writers’ Centre and Red Squirrel Press ran a competition for writers to tweet us their pitches using the hashtag #SWCRED, with the hopes of getting their work published. We had some amazing entries, and it was hard work cutting down the first lot of pitches. Then a few weeks ago, Sheila from Red Squirrel Press had the even harder task of picking her winner. While she wants all those who submitted to know how stunning their pitches were, she was swept away by the winner, whose submission she describes as “tailor-made” for her!
So, without further delay, the winner of #SWCRED’s pitch competition is… just a click away!
Dumbarton Football Club’s Poet-in-Residence, Stephen Watt!
After find out the news last week, we asked Stephen a few questions so we could learn more about his upcoming collection.
What was your original inspiration for your collection?
I have a few crime poems which appeared in my collection ‘Optograms’. These situations arrived from several of the social issues addressed in the book, and have kindly presented me the opportunity to read at noir literary evenings alongside incredible crime authors including Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, and James Oswald. Having worked in police specialist units for over ten years up to 2016, I feel that now is the right time to try and use that background to good effect in my poetry.
How did you find the process of pitching your idea?
I’m a follower of both Red Squirrel and the Scottish Writers Centre so when I spotted the pitch call-out, it aligned with plans that I had for a collection of crime poems. I have full faith that the original idea was a strong one so I didn’t need to divulge too much other than offer a taster of what I was planning.
What you are looking forward to as you start the next part of this journey?
It gives me the opportunity to associate myself with both a respected publisher and cherished literary organisation and to develop some of the ideas which have been rattling about inside my head over the past twelve months. Scotland has already produced some of the world’s finest crime writers in William McIlvanney, Iain Rankin and Val McDermid – there’s something in our collective psyche that is fascinated with crime, whether it be Taggart, Rebus or Cracker, and to continue that timeline in a poetic format is enormously exciting for me.
I’ll hope you’ll all join me in congratulating Stephen, and are looking forward to the collection as much as the SWC are!
Photo Credit: Eoin Carey, Scottish Short Film Festival, March 2017
Words by Andrew Smith.