Kirkcudbright Poet Awarded Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship
This week the Scottish Book Trust announced the four Robert Louis Stevenson Fellows for 2014, including Kirkcudbright based poet Stuart A Paterson and Dumfries based Tom Pow to be based in Grez-sur-Loing in France.
The Fellowships, supported by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures fund, were initiated in 1994 by Franki Fewkes, a Scottish enthusiast then living in France. As well as giving writers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives to devote time to their writing, Fewkes intended it to be an opportunity for the Fellows to meet other artists and to absorb new cultural and social influences.
Born and brought up in Ayrshire, Paterson received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 1992 and a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary in 1993, with his first collection, Saving Graces, published in 1997 and nominated for a Saltire Society ‘First Book’ award. His work has appeared in many publications and in many newspapers & magazines. He was Dumfries & Galloway Writer-in-Residence 1996-98, and won the Poetry & Small Presses Federation Poetry Slam in Birmingham in 1997. He returned to live by the sea & write in Sandyhills, Kirkcudbright in 2012.
Commenting on the Fellowship, Paterson said:
“I was completely surprised & delighted when told I'd been awarded one of this year's Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowships. It's a real privilege to be given the opportunity of visiting & living in a place so admired by & inspiring to Stevenson, who's one of those rare writers we all grew up reading & hearing about, as novelist, poet & traveller. Like my fellow countyman Burns, he's one of those Scottish figures I consider to be a constant influence on my own work & to whom most writers since definitely owe a debt. I look forward to following in his footsteps just a little bit, for as he himself said, ‘There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.’”
Tom Pow was born in Edinburgh and lives in Dumfries. He teaches part-time on Lancaster University's Distance Learning Masters in Creative Writing and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Glasgow University Dumfries. Primarily a poet, several of his collections have won awards and three have been short-listed for Scottish Book of the Year. He has also written young adult novels, picture books, radio plays and a travel book about Peru. He was the first Writer in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2001-2003) and in 2013, he was Bartholomew Writer in Residence at the National Library of Scotland. A Wild Adventure, Thomas Watling Dumfries Convict Artist, will be published in June; and in August, Concerning the Atlas of Scotland and Other Poems, based on his work at the NLS (both books published by Polygon).
"The fellowship offers the opportunity to think through and to work on a project on narrative poetry which has been on my mind for a considerable time. I also like to think there is some indefinable benefit resting and working in the shadow of a writer I have both loved and written about."