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HighlandLIT normally meets in Inverness at the Glen Mhor Hotel: most meetings are also livestreamed on Zoom.


HighlandLIT is managed by a voluntary committee, elected by the membership at the annual general meeting. At the 2022 AGM, held on 21st March 2023, the following were elected to the HighlandLIT Committee:  Mark Williams, Mo McQuarrie, Penelope Hamilton, and Scott Fraser

Bringing together those with an interest in all things to do with the written word and the wider world of publishing, HighlandLIT provides a valuable opportunity to discuss projects, books, ideas and attend workshops


It also encourages members and guests to meet and ask questions of published writers and poets,

and hear them read from their work. Contact HighlandLIT here or on

MARK WILLIAMS Director.jpg

Treasurer: Mark Williams

My formative years were spent in the midlands of England where, I am reliably informed, I learned to read before the age of four and had a very healthy interest in books. We moved to Aberdeenshire when I was eight years old where we lived on a small croft and the library van appeared once a week at the small primary school I attended. Each week my mother and I would collect armfuls of books and read these each evening since we did not have a television in those days.

At secondary school, my favourite aspect of the English lesson homework was to write a short story or essay, I was less interested in, and therefore struggled with interpretation, something I now wish I had paid more attention to. At lunchtime I would retreat to the school library to avoid having to play football in all weathers. I quickly worked my way through endless Biggles and similar boys’ adventures, and sci-fi books; Bradbury, Wells, Verne, Clarke, Asimov to mention but a few. The librarian once told me that I had read every sci-fi book on the school shelves and that she had therefore ordered more from the central library for me. I think we were both quite impressed by that.

My student days turned my attention mainly to architecture related topics but for relaxation my indulgent interests still drifted to sci-fi and a good murder/mystery novel as well as comedy, history and natural history. Consequently, my bookshelves teem with a wide range of subject matter, both factual and fictional, gathered over many years. Somehow, I find the presence of these books, bending my shelves, both comforting and inspiring.

In addition to design, much of my working life involves writing very dry subject matter, rooted in technicality, but in recent years I have picked up the pen once more and started to assemble words for pleasure. I am also a keen and hopefully capable photographer and have started putting photo-books together that bring together photographic subject matter and associated narrative. These are a kind of travel book that are becoming more complex and descriptive with each one I compose.

I have also started writing some short stories, one of which, I was amazed to find, was published in an anthology created as part of a short story competition run by HighlandLIT before I became a member. Since then, I continue to read and occasionally scribble down various musings as my time allows. I have started reading some of the works of our published members and am amazed at the talent we have here in our midst. I hope that I can bring my wider skillset to the committee and be supportive and encouraging to this wonderful group of creative writers and authors.

Committee 2022

Penelope Hamilton.jpg

Programme Co-ordinator (Joint) Penelope Hamilton

My seventh decade was nearing its end when a voice in my head started saying things like, “Why don’t you stop making excuses? Why don’t you get on with it and WRITE? Like everyone else, you’re MORTAL! Why don’t you FINISH something before you die?”

Eventually I listened to the voice and stepped back from my work as a celebrant. Now, mostly to keep myself at it, I upload poems to my website ‘Human Nature Notes’, and for the same reason I make a monthly 5-10 minute podcast. I’m also working on the umpteenth draft of a novel, and a memoir about being a celebrant.

I swithered about joining HighlandLIT for a few years, but when I did, early last year, I wished I’d joined before! Such a friendly, supportive group of people, and such interesting events. I swithered about putting myself forward for election to the Committee, too, unsure how I could contribute, but after the AGM I felt excited about the future of HighlandLIT. I’m glad to be working and learning with Committee colleagues, and to enjoying even more of the varied and wonderful writing that’s crafted here in the Highlands.

Mo MacQuarrie 1.jpg

Event Liaison Co-ordinator: Mo MacQuarrie

When I retired from my job as a fraud investigator I decided to live in a place I had always loved which had connections to my ancestors, who came from the Isle of Barra,  so I went to live in a remote part of the Isle of Skye. However, after ten years I started to realise - mostly due to the friends who nagged me - that my house near Duntulm  was perhaps a little too out of the way.  Hence my move to a village near the Skye Bridge where I live now with my German Shepherd dog - Lyra. 


I had always loved writing but the event that really got me started was when I began to research my Mother's family tree. She was a Foundling brought up by The Thomas Coram Association in London and given a name out of the phonebook. Eventually she was allowed to know her real name but, sadly before she died there wasn't the information on the net as there is now and I only managed to find she had two uncles. When I really got into genealogy some years later I found out a lot more and her tree included a few interesting characters that I wanted to write about. I am still working on this as well as a crime novel but I have found that my real forte is short story writing along with the occasional poem. 


I attend as many literary events as I can when we're allowed to! The highlight for me was being able to see The fun Lovin' Crime Writers at Aye Write in Glasgow a couple of years ago.  I love a writer's workshop and have been to ones with Shona Maclean, niece of the great Alistair, Janice Galloway and a few others. I am lucky in that The Reading Room Skye run these fairly often as well as talks by well known authors. I also went to Ian Rankin's Thriller weekend in Cromarty, just for a couple of events, and ended up having lunch with the man himself! 


I  like crafting and make bookmarks for friends and also run a small line dance class for my local community trust but that's another story! 


I  used to run a small writing group with a few of my friends where we met at each others houses about once a month. Whoever hosts the meeting decides on a theme for a short story to be written by all the attendees which has to be read out to everyone there.  I'm hoping to start this up again when restrictions allow. The stories I write are put on my blog along with some of my poems and book reviews.


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