Writing Scotland

Writing Scotland

Carl MacDougall, Edwin Morgan, Liz Lochhead and Iain Banks explore Scottish writing, its heritage and major influences in a landmark series.

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Carl MacDougall

Carl MacDougall wrote and presented Writing Scotland. His work includes prize-winning novels Stone Over Water, The Lights Below and The Casanova Papers, plus his acclaimed collection of short stories Elvis Is Dead

Carl was born in Glasgow but spent his childhood in Perthshire and Argyll, where he still has strong family connections.

Read Carl's thoughts on composing short stories and verse or explore the themes of 'Writing Scotland', starting with Carl's introduction to the power of place and landscape in Scottish literature.

Tips for Writers

With typical economy, Edwin Morgan offers the following advice to budding writers:

1. Read good poetry, the best, modern or ancient.

2. Keep your imagination sinewy by writing about things outside your own experience.

3. Don't wait for the divine moment. Lay the table, write a lot.

4. Work hard on a poem for a short period, but not for ever.

5. Take rejection slips as a spur, not a death sentence.

Whether you're a seasoned veteran or an aspiring young writer, it's easy to recognise the wisdom of words as well chosen as those five lines from Edwin. 

Explore Writers' Corner for more advice from writers AL Kennedy, Anne Donovan, Matthew Fitt and Kevin MacNeill. 

Website credits

The Writing Scotland website was co-produced between BBC Scotland and Creative Context.

The copy in the Writers section of this site was written by Laura Carol Blount, Rhona Brown, Helen Lloyd, Lyndsay Lunan, Kirsty MacDonald, Susan Neil, Niall O'Gallagher (all from Glasgow University's Scottish Literature department), and by Moira Burgess, a freelance writer based in Glasgow.