• John Dempster

Writers encouraged to play host to migrant words

In an important event for writers and poets in the Highlands, writers’ group HighlandLIT will be co-hosting an event with the Federation of Writers Scotland.


The Federation’s current Scriever, Moira McPartlin and Makar, Beth McDonough are presenting workshops on the theme ‘Migration in Language.’ The event is open to all, and is free of charge.

It is taking place in the Glen Mhor Hotel, Ness Bank Inverness on Tuesday September 20th. From 6pm-7pm there will be a chance to meet Moira and Beth informally, and the workshops will run from 7pm-9pm.


The Scriever and Makar will jointly introduce the event, before Moira leads a workshop on prose writing, and Beth on poetry,


'Language is an evolving thing,' Moira writes. 'In Scotland we have three principal languages; English, Gaelic, and Scots but within these three there are many regional variations as well as words and phrases introduced by immigrants to Scotland.


‘In the workshop,’ she continues ‘we want to invite participants to explore the different words and influences in their own families and to play around with the colour and texture of these words. We have filmed a short video at the Japanese Garden outside Dollar as a starting point for our exploration into language migration.' FWS Scriever for 2022, Moira McPartlin's workshop will focus on prose. Moira's own work draws significantly from different forms of Scots. Her most recent novel Before Now (Trilleachan Press) is a 'coming of age story, told entirely in the Fife dialect', and comes with an acute awareness of the diversity of modern Scots. Although brought up in Fife, Moira’s origins are in the Scottish Borders. She is now well-established in Stirling.

Her opposite number in poetry is FWS Makar Beth McDonough. A Scots hybrid, she was brought up in Renfrewshire by a Glaswegian mother (with an Antrim hinterland) and a Doric-speaking faither! Beth's poetry is often layered with significant borrowings from a melting pot of languages. Now Dundee-based, Beth' will lead the poetry workshop. Her most recent pamphlet is Lamping for Pickled Fish (4Word).


The Federation of Writers Scotland is a charitable organisation which aims to support writers by making the whole process much easier to negotiate, from starting to write to publication. Writers based in Scotland, or writers with a Scottish connection internationally can apply to become members of the Federation. There is no membership fee.


HighlandLIT is an Inverness-based group with a Highland-wide reach. It brings together writers of all levels of experience, and those interested in the written word and publishing.


Pictured below: Beth McDonough and Moira McPartlin





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