Speakers programme 2016/17

Over the course of the next year, nine speakers will visit Ayr Writers’ Club.

September 7th

Louise Welsh,  is a writer living and working in Glasgow.

She is the author of six novels: The Cutting Room (2002), Tamburlaine Must Die (2004), The Bullet Trick (2006), Naming the Bones (2010) The Girl on the Stairs (2012) and A Lovely Way to Burn (20th March 2014). She’s also produced many short stories and articles and written for radio and the stage including a libretto for opera. Louise was writer in residence for The University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art from Nov 2010 until April 2012. http://louisewelsh.com/

October 5th

John Hudson  brings along poems that have been whispered in chapels, floated on the wind and fixed on concrete. Ayr Writers will be at the UK launch of his latest volume of poetry, “The Road Taken” which features poems written for environments as diverse as London’s East End and rural France.

John has over ten collections and pamphlets of poems as well as having created poetry installations across Europe. He was also editor of Markings literary magazine for fifteen years and a Director of The Bakehouse poetry performance venue until 2015.

“I am so looking forward to returning to Ayr and sharing poetry with the folk there; let’s make it an evening to remember.”


October 19th

Theresa Talbot is a BBC Radio Scotland presenter, best known as the voice of Traffic & Travel and as presenter of The Beechgrove Potting Shed.

Born at a very young age in Glasgow, the locals quickly took her under their wing so she decided to stay. Theresa studied Economic History at Glasgow University and after graduating tried numerous careers (including Library Assistant and Pepsi Challenge Girl) before an eavesdropped conversation on the 66 bus led her into a career on radio.

‘Penance,’ Theresa’s debut crime novel, is enjoying 5-star reviews.

A natural born story teller, Theresa appeared at the Tidelines Festival before her first book was even published!


November 2nd

Kirsty Logan is the author of short story collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales (Salt, 2014), which was awarded the Polari First Book Prize and the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection, and debut novel The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker, 2015), which won a Lambda Literary Award. Her most recent book, A Portable Shelter (ASLS, 2015), is a collection of linked short stories inspired by Scottish folktales and was published in a limited edition with custom woodblock illustrations. Kirsty also works as a book reviewer, writing teacher and editor.


November 16th

Douglas Thompson was a director and chair of The Scottish Writers’ Centre from 2011 to 2014. His short stories and poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies. He won the Grolsch/Herald Question of Style Award in 1989 and second prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2007. His first book, Ultrameta, published by Eibonvale Press in August 2009, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Newcomer Award, and since then he has published eight subsequent novels and short story collections: Sylvow (Eibonvale Press, 2010); Apoidea (The Exaggerated Press, 2011); Mechagnosis (Dog Horn Publishing, 2012); Entanglement (Elsewhen Press, 2012); The Rhymer (Elsewhen Press, 2014); The Brahan Seer (Acair Books, 2014); Volwys (Dog Horn Publishing, 2014); The Sleep Corporation (The Exaggerated Press, 2015). He won the annual Faith/Unbelief Poetry Prize in 2016 and his first poetry collection will be published by Red Squirrel in 2017. http://douglasthompson.wordpress.com/

January 11th

Catherine Czerkawska is an extensively published writer of fiction (historical and contemporary novels and short stories) non-fiction and plays for theatre, radio and television. Born in Yorkshire, she has spent many years living and working in Scotland, with time also spent in Finland, Poland and the Canaries.

Her most recent historical novels are The Physic Garden and, in May 2016, The Jewel, about the life and times of Robert Burns’s wife Jean Armour, both published by Scottish independent publisher, Saraband. Previous novels include Bird of Passage, The Amber Heart, Ice Dancing and Orange Blossom Love. The Way It Was, a history of the Island of Gigha, has just been revised and reprinted in paperback by Birlinn. Some of her plays have been published by Nick Hern Books, and several collections of short stories and more plays are available as eBooks. A new edition of The Curiosity Cabinet will be published later in 2016.

Find out more about Catherine and her work at: www.catherineczerkawska.com

February 15th

John Cairney is well known to audiences in Scotland and internationally through his one-man shows about Burns. Indeed, in many minds he is synonymous with the Bard and is considered as one of the leading interpreters of the works of Robert Burns.

In more than fifty years as an artist, he has worked as an actor, recitalist, lecturer, director and theatre consultant. He is also a published author and an exhibited painter. Trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was a notable Hamlet at the Citizens Theatre and a successful Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival. He was also This Man Craig on television and has appeared in many films like Jason and the Argonauts and Cleopatra.

He gained a PhD. from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and travelled internationally as a lecturer, writer and consultant on Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Robert Burns. Dr Cairney has written books on each of these famous Scots, as well as other books on football, theatre and his native Glasgow, where he now lives with his New Zealand wife, actress and scriptwriter, Alannah O’Sullivan.

For further information, see www.johncairney.com

March 8th

Jim Curmley is a Scottish nature writer who has written more than thirty books. His most recent work, The Nature of Autumn, is a wide-ranging exploration of his favourite season through several different facets of his nature writing – head-on wildlife encounters, memoir, short story and poetry. He is also the author of Nature’s Architect about the return of beavers to Scotland, The Eagle’s Way(short-listed for a Saltire Society Literature Award), The Great Wood, and The Last Wolf, and is writing an open-ended series of short wildlife monographs called Encounters in the Wild.

As a former newspaper journalist, he keeps his hand in through columns in The Courier and the Scots Magazine.


March 29th

Ian Hunter is a poet, short story writer, editor, and author of the children’s novels “The Dark Knight’s Blade”, “Lipstick Lass”, and “The Magic Mousehole”. He has been a postman, barman, waiter, sawmill worker, lecturer, and local authority officer among other things. He writes fantastic stories for children and scary and weird stories for adults. He has twice been a writer-in-residence, and previously edited the small press publications “Footsteps” and “Urges”. He is married with two children, who occasionally turn up in his stories in disguise. He is a member of the British Fantasy Society, the Ghost Story Society, the Glasgow Science Fiction Writers Circle and is a lapsed member of the Horror Writers Association. He is poetry editor of the magazine, Dark Horizons. http://ian-hunter.co.uk/


Non members are encouraged to join us for these special events. £3 entry per speaker session.