Guest Speakers and Workshop Leaders 2019/20

Over the course of the year, 10 Guest Speakers and 2 Guest Workshop Leaders will visit Ayr Writers’ Club.

18th September – Cathy McSporran

Cathy is a novelist, short story writer and creative writing tutor. She teaches in the Open Studies Department at Glasgow University.

The author of two novels, Cold City and The Few, Cathy’s fiction has appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, such as Mslexia, Nerve, Ecologie and From Glasgow to Saturn.

Cathy has been a good friend to our club, twice stepping in at short notice to judge competitions.

25 September – Karen Campbell

Karen is a Scottish author of seven novels. Her most recent work, The Sound of Hours, was published in July 2019.

After completing an MA in English, Drama and French at Glasgow University, Karen joined Strathclyde Police as a uniformed constable. After five and a half years she took a career break to start a family, before moving in a different direction as Media Officer for Glasgow City Council.

The subjects of her novels range from contemporary inner-city policing to questions about identity, love and conflict within a World War II Italian setting.

Karen also works as a mentor and a leader of creative writing workshops.

9th October – Helen Palmer

Helen is a writer, performer and senior lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at Kingston University, London.

She blends philosophical and theoretical writing with fiction and poetry.

She has published two philosophy books and is now writing a feminist reimagining of James Joyce’s Ulysses, set in her home town of Blackpool.

16th October – Daniel Gray

Daniel is a freelance writer, presenter and researcher.

He has given talks in hundreds of venues, from pubs to prisons. A regular speaker at literary festivals, he has also recently presented more than 30 short history films on STV.

Daniel has been developing, researching and writing factual television and radio since 2008. He has written eight books on a variety of themes, the last two being Scribbles in The Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books and Black Boots and Football Pinks: 50 Lost Wonders of The Beautiful Game.

6th November – Rab Wilson

Rab is a familiar and popular figure on the poetry and literary scene in Scotland. Playwright, poet, songwriter and writer, he is the author of a number of highly praised volumes of poetry. He is also a significant Burns scholar.

Rab has performed his work at the Edinburgh Festival, the Burns an a’ That Festival at Ayr, and has been Bard of the Festival at Wigtown.

He attends the parliamentary Cross-Party Group for Scots Language held at Holyrood. From his previous visits to the club he is known to be a weel-kent advocate for Scots writing.

20th November – Bill Coles

Bill Coles needs no introduction to members of AWC who attended his talk last year on his journalistic exploits.

What some may not know, is that Bill is also an accomplished author, having written a number of novels, including – Lord Lucan: My Story; The Spare Heir Handbook: Prince Harry’s Very Best Tips for the Royal Baby; Red Top: Being a Reporter – Ethically, Legally and with Panache and Simon Cowell: The Sex Factor.

Bill is an entertaining speaker and a great evening’s entertainment is promised.

4 December – Martin McCardie

Martin McCardie is a well-known Scottish writer and actor who writes for film, television and theatre.

His credits include the BBC series, Tinseltown, which won him a nomination for a Best newcomer BAFTA, along with Big City Park and Katie Morag, for CBeebies.

Martin is a regular writer for BBC Scotland’s River City, and is also currently working in the story department for the show.

He has also written episodes of favourites such as Taggart and The Bill, as well as a number of theatre productions: From Paisley to Paulo, Red Clydesiders, and Ice Cream Dreams – a drama exploring the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars of 1983 and performed at The Citizens Theatre.

5th February – Lisa Tuttle 

Lisa has been a published author for 45 years. She has more than a dozen novels and seven short story collections to her name, writing mainly in the genres of fantasy, horror and science fiction.

Lisa also researched and wrote, An Encyclopedia of Feminism, and continues to be passionate about gender issues.

She has worked as a journalist, book editor and library assistant. Lisa has taught creative writing and loves to discuss everything related to books, reading, writing and literature.

12th February – Kim and Sinclair Macleod

Kim and Sinclair Macleod are the brains behind the self-publishing service, Indie Authors World, and are both accomplished authors in their own right (or is that write?). Sinclair is the author of a number of detective novels, The Reluctant Detective Series, and Kim writes inspiring self-help works.

They are, as the name Indie Authors World suggests, experts in self-publishing. Their aim is to help aspiring indie-writers to take that step into self-publishing, providing all the necessary tools and support that one might need to do just that.

Indeed, Ayr Writers’ Club’s Joint President, Graeme St. Clair, first met Kim and Sinclair back in 2013. He credits their help and encouragement as being the impetus behind his first novel publication, The Janus Complex, doubting that this would have happened otherwise.

We’re sure that anyone attending their talk will be filled with hope and possibilty.

4 March – Catherine Simpson

Catherine is a novelist, journalist and memoir writer. Her first novel, Truestory, was inspired by her daughter, Nina, who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at the age of 10.

Catherine’s most recently published memoir, When I had a Little Sister, concerns the suicide of her younger sister, and is an exploration of how we become the way we are. It has been widely praised by the critics. Janice Galloway, acclaimed Scottish writer, says, ‘This book’s secret weapon is the remarkable voice that fires from the page to the heart, with no hesitation at all. Just wonderful.

Catherine’s popular memoir writing courses, and many writing workshops, come highly recommended.

11 March – Stuart Reid

Since becoming a full time author in 2012, Stuart has performed at over 1500 schools, libraries and book festivals throughout Britain, Ireland and internationally.

His books carry testimonials from the BBC’s, Charlie Higson, and Irish Children’s Laureate, Eoin Colfer, and his debut novel was selected for the Silver Seal at the Forward National Literature Award.

After 25 years being “boring, professional and corporate,” he realised that inspiring children to learn to love reading was much more fulfilling.

His books in the Gorgeous George Series include, Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator (bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!); Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit Faced Zombies (Sneezing, sniffing, snogging and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!) and more.

His uniquely entertaining events are exciting, enthusiastic and motivating.

1st April – Donald Reid

Donald is a Scottish author specialising in local and social history.

Born in Dalmellington, and now living in Beith, he has written books on the history of the Garnock Valley and Doon Valley. His focus is for the individuals that make up our local communities, the social context of their lives.

A former police officer, he retired from the force in 1999 with the rank of Police Superintendent. He is currently a local councillor.

In 1994 he was accorded the honour of being selected as Beith Citizen of the Year, for his extensive voluntary work.