A roll of honour . . .

Hi folks

My apologies as it’s been too long since I last posted. I have a good excuse though as I’ve been saving up a ton of good news about former class members’ recent writing achievements:

Firstly, congratulations to Mary Fitzpatrick, who has added to her growing list of accolades with a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award:


This is the second Scottish Book Trust award winner among former class members, following Julie Rea’s success with the Next Chapter award in 2017: http://scottishbooktrust.com/writing/scottish-book-trust-training-awards/next-chapter-award/2017-julie-rea

Julie has also just had a story published in the latest annual edition of the prestigious New Writing Scotland – https://asls.arts.gla.ac.uk/NWS36.html – and here’s hoping we will see her own full collection of stories in the bookshops soon!
(Note that the current Next Chapter Award’s closing date is 19 September so if you fancy giving it a shot, go for it: https://asls.arts.gla.ac.uk/NWS36.html)
Meanwhile, Mary is also a current finalist for this year’s equally prestigious Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award, along with Colin Armstrong who recently completed Creative Writing for Writers:
If I had my way Colin and Mary would both win (read the stories!), but whoever’s name is read out by Alexander McCall Smith at the awards dinner, getting to the final is a brilliant achievement and well done to both.
Bert Thomson – also a recent Creative Writing for Writers class member – has been in touch to say that four (four!) stories that he worked on during the course will be published soon (or are already out) in new writing anthologies from Laldy literary journal, Dovetales Scotland, The Fiction Desk and New Voices Press. This sets the record of most pieces published in the shortest time for any new writer I’ve had the pleasure of working with, so very well done to Bert and I’m sure he’ll be getting more into print very soon.
I’d also like to give a big shout of congratulations to Lorraine Queen and Denis Robertson, both of whom have recently completed their first novels, supported by the Creative Writing Mentoring Programme. It was a privilege to be the first to read the latest instalments of their manuscripts as they wrote them over the last year – I do hope both books are published soon so they can reach the much wider audience they thoroughly deserve.
Finally, to conclude this epistle of fabulousness, here’s a reminder that the next session of creative writing classes is due to begin at the Centre for Lifelong Learning in first week of October. I’ve listed all the courses I’m tutoring this year in the courses section of the Notebook here:
and you can also book direct at:
To everyone who has attended the classes over the years, good luck with your writing and keep going. This is what can be achieved.
And if you’re coming along this year, I look forward to seeing you in October!



  1. smokey129@sky.com · · Reply

    Hi David, It’s great to hear about the successes of so many of your former class members.  You must feel such a sense of achievement knowing that you set them off on this path. I would like to add another name to your list as Irene Lebeter has now had 3 novels published, and is well on her way to finishing a fourth.  She has done book signings,and has spoken at various organisations about creative writing.  Irene is certainly proof that your input has been invaluable. A group of us still meets at Kelvingrove and you are often quoted in our reviews of each other’s work!  (see I used an exclamation mark) Keep up the good work, Linda Bell

    1. Thanks Linda and great to hear from you. Irene is a writing dynamo and I’m looking forward to news of her fifth!! (This is the only time you will ever see me using a double exclamation mark.)

  2. Helen Ranford · · Reply

    Hello Linda – I just finished in June after two years with David. Good to see someone else noticed how much he hated exclamation marks!!!
    Hello David, great to hear of the success of several of your former students, Bert and Julie Rea from my year included. Like other former students several of us have just met and plan to continue to meet, to encourage each other to keep writing! There’s also red wine involved. We loved your class so much some of us have already enrolled on further classes with you or intend to do so.
    I still hate semicolons!

    1. Hi Helen
      Elmore Leonard on exclamations marks: ‘You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.’
      Kurt Vonnegut on semi colons: ‘First rule: Do not use semicolons.’
      Unfortunately, I love semi colons . . .
      Great to hear you are still meeting with your classmates and the red wine is flowing. Hope to catch up with you soon!

      1. Helen Ranford · ·

        Thanks for that – I’m just reading Kurt Vonnegut SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5. Spooky or what!

      2. A great novel Helen – my Weekend Classic Book Book group is doing that one this year. Hope you’re enjoying it!

  3. Marilyn Hazlett · · Reply

    so good to hear from you, have just started writing that novel have been writing notes for, for four years or so! the Kelvingrove group are so encouraging and they got me to bite the bullet, I took a little pile of sharpened pencils and opened a blank jotter at ten to three on eleventh of September and started writing a chapter – a feeling of liberation! now it’s keeping the momentum going!

    1. Great to hear from you too Manna and I’m really pleased to hear the Kelvingrove group is still going strong – please say hello to everyone from me next time you meet!

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