Monday, March 12, 2007

Creative Scotland Award!

I am thrilled to be a recipient of a Creative Scotland Award 2007. These Awards are supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council and ten are given annually to individual artists who live and work in Scotland. They provide a unique opportunity to experiment and realise imaginative ideas in a major project.

My project will be a series of 'journey-essays' which link walking and writing. Walking is vital to my imagination and creative process – a meditation, a journey, a narrative, all closely connected. But as Rebecca Solnit says of the literature of walking, ‘the necessary combination of silver tongue and iron thighs seems to be a rare one’. Hopefully, I will prove to have both!

The focus is ten journeys driven by a fascination with landscapes that appear to be ‘wild’, but which are rich with human, but possibly hidden, meaning. Some will follow physical traces like a dry-stane dyke or a ‘well-worn’ route in a place where walking to get somewhere is the norm. Some will follow narratives. I will follow footsteps, such as my father’s ascent of Finsteraarhorn in Switzerland in 1952. I will trace memories, listen to whispers in the land and document my own responses. And I will experiment with how to craft narrative non-fiction so that it has the depth, intensity and resonance of my short fiction.

Through a series of workshops at festivals of walking and mountains, I hope to stimulate others to link creativity, writing and ‘wilderness’ experiences.

This is a unique opportunity for me to focus, experiment and create from a position of financial security. I start the project in July this year.

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