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Paul Shanks

My role as Chair in HighlandLIT is very important to me; I enjoy that vital sense of a committed literary community in Inverness and the Highlands and am keen to perform an active role in promoting, supporting and creating opportunities for my fellow writers.


I currently work as Lecturer in English and Drama at Inverness College UHI. I also tutor in Creative Writing with High Life Highland (Adult Literacies) and run the Glints of Gold Writing Group in Inverness. Recently, I have been involved with a local theatre group (Bats In Action) as performer, occasional writer and (definitely amateur!) musician.


In 2017, I was very much involved as facilitator with HUG (Action for Mental Health) and helped produce the Reclaim anthology (in association with the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival). That year also saw the first anthology of works from the Glints of Gold group, entitled A Feast for All. The last of these was funded by the Scottish Book Trust and contains illustrations by Drew Hiller (our current Programme Co-ordinator).


My background is primarily in teaching and research and for a fair few years I was connected with the School of Language and Literature at Aberdeen University and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies (also based at Aberdeen). I specialised in twentieth-century Irish and Scottish literature and was involved in the diaspora project at RIISS – a broad inter-disciplinary undertaking which sought to document and understand the impact of Irish and Scottish migration via historical, geographic and literary research.


After leaving Aberdeen University, I became involved within a rather different field of work with Turning Point Scotland (Aberdeen Social Enterprise) where I was responsible for helping people with a background of mental health problems and/or addiction gain work experience as a means of building up the confidence to return to employment. Both the academic experience and the work I did with Turning Point proved invaluable when I came to facilitate writing groups in Aberdeen and the Highlands.


I write poetry, fiction and drama. Some of my poems have been published in Causeway/Cabhsair and The Interpreter’s House.

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