Sharon Gunason Pottinger
Sharon Gunason Pottinger was born in Chicago but spent most of her life in Indiana with brief stints in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. ‘My heart still beats faster at the sight of a red barn or a field of corn, but late in life I met a man and married and came to his part of the world, the far north of Scotland, specifically Caithness. The post card of a map of Scotland that I carry with me when I go back to the US says 'Scotland's population of 5.1 million live in only 3% of the total land area.' That means a lot of wide open spaces. Caithness, like Indiana, is a place people often drive through on their way to someplace else. The raw beauty and wide open skies hold those of us lucky enough to be able to see it. Since 2005 I’ve been exploring my new home with the same enthusiasm as my childhood wanderings in Indiana.’
As a technical writer—the kind of writing you don’t get your name on—she was able to explore behind the scenes at a nuclear power plant, the inner workings of a newspaper in transition from the old presses and hot metal to computers, and how insulin is made and tested. In Caithness she turned her hand to journalism, writing for the local newspapers, as well as a blog.
‘Poetry and fiction are a new adventure for me as a writer. I like the description of the differences between the two that Alexander Chee made in a recent essay, ‘fiction is the thing you invent to fit the shape of what you learned and nonfiction is the thing you invent to fit the shape of what you found' (Poets & Writers).
Her debut novel, Returning: The Journey of Alexander Sinclair was published in 2015. Her work has also appeared in New Writing Scotland, Northwords Now, and anthologies by Caithness Writers.