SAW – Write Up North

Inverness Town House

Inverness – hitherto known for the Kessock Bridge, Culloden and Nessie. No longer, not since the Scottish Association of Writers had the idea to hold their autumn workshop ‘Up North’.

With a history of names as fine as Neil Gunn, Edwin Muir and Carolina Oliphant, it was clear that brilliant writers did exist north of the Forth/Clyde corridor. Like the Kessock Bridge, the meeting was planned to bridge the gap between members in the north and south (of the country rather than just the Beauly Firth). The organisers couldn’t have been disappointed with members coming from as far afield as Ayr and Wick, all with stories to tell. I found myself sitting with members of the Greenock Writing Club and as well as being shown how to use a ‘Dial a Doctor’ dating app, I heard the story of ‘Lesley, her friend, the pilot and the other woman’.

After tea, scones and introductions, the event got underway. Finding a publisher can be as elusive as catching sight of Nessie among the murky waters of Loch Ness, however the guest speaker – Keith Charters of Strident Publishing – gave an optimistic and humorous opening speech suggesting that with self-publishing and e-publishing becoming accepted routes into the wider world we shouldn’t abandon hope just yet. After a break for more tea and scones, there was the adjudication of the competitions. As there were no entries for the Young Writer Competition, Marc Sherland took the opportunity to give a presentation on the future of SAW and welcomed comments from the floor.

Lunch was a delicious affair, made special by being in the rich setting of Inverness Town House, with swords and stained glass as far as the eye could reach. After a visit to the much-heralded SAW shop, it was time to face the battlefield- the workshops themselves. The first session was a choice between publishing and writing historical fiction. The second session was either poetry or e-publishing. Although short, the sessions I attended were well thought out and instructive, with no bloodshed (apart from the poetry).

The afternoon ended with a short talk from the provost of Inverness and we were sent on our way with new e-mail addresses and bags of excess scones.

Babs Stevenson


  1. Sounds as tho’ the event was worthwhile, well , especially for scone-lovers.
    Your chat with Greenock folk sounds very intriguing, Babs!
    I wonder if the short story results have been made public?

  2. Janice Johnston

    Just heard that Babs won first prize in the short story competition – congratulations! Brilliant news!

  3. Enjoyed your blog, Babs and full of admiration that you made the trip!

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