Guest Speakers & Adjudicators 2021/22

Over the course of the year, nine invited Guest Speakers will visit Ayr Writers’ Club to talk about their writing routines, their working methods, and their publications.

There will be an open Question & Answer session in the latter half of the evening, an opportunity to delve a little deeper into a professional writer’s thoughts and working practices.

Many of our Guest Speakers will also adjudicate, and feedback, on every individual entry submitted for each of the club’s ten writing competitions, to their specialist field.

22nd September – Laura Marney, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator 

In addition to novels and short stories, Laura has written for television, radio and the stage. With titles like No Wonder I Take A Drink, For Faughie’s Sake and Nobody Loves A Ginger Baby, her ability to capture and portray the humorous side of life is clear, whatever the circumstances.

6th October – Nalini Paul, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

Nalini’s poetry is inspired by natural landscapes, walks and memory. Born in India, growing up in Canada and spending most of her adult life in Scotland, Nalini will inevitably bring a variety of perspectives to the evening.

Widely published, she has been shortlisted for awards, undertaken residencies and collaborated across various art forms. Nalini has been a George Mackay Brown Writing Fellow in Orkney and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow in France.

27th October – Kate Blackadder, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

Edinburgh-based Kate Blackadder returns to the club after a five-year break. She is a prolific short story writer with three serials and over forty stories published, largely in women’s magazines. Her stories have won the Muriel Spark Short Story Award and been longlisted for the Jane Austen Short Story Award. Two serials have been published in large-print library editions and others appear in three collections.

10th November – Carol McKay, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

In addition to writing biography and memoir, which she will share on her visit to the club, Carol writes short fiction tackling contemporary issues and poetry, as well as teaching creative writing.

Carol is a former winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and has been a finalist in the Macallan / Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition.

1st December – Lawrence Crawford, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

Writer, Director, Producer, Stage Manager, Actor, Drama Tutor: Lawrence will bring to the club his wealth of experience working with the National Theatre of Scotland, the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh and the BBC.

19th January – Paul Bristow, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

From folk tales, comics and community stories to ghosts, myths and Gaelic language superheroes, Paul Bristow inevitably explores something that appeals to younger readers.

Short-listed for awards, a Digital Storyteller in Residence and a Big Issue Changemaker, Paul will give us a glimpse of creativity emerging from his converted toilet.

His first children’s book, The Superpower Project, was published in 2016, and his work has appeared in various literary magazines. As part of Magic Torch Comics he also encourages the use of comics in classroom and community activities.

2nd February – Sergio Burns, Guest Speaker & Adjudicator

Born in Broxburn and arrived in Ayrshire via Bathgate.  Editor of AM Magazine, formerly senior writer at Ayrshire Magazine,  correspondent for Italian newspaper Il Giornale’s magazine, writing about UK/Scottish politics and other European events including the murder of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and the rise of the right in Europe.

Arts Journalist with Contemporary Magazine, wrote the Europhoria column for The New Entertainer (Spain). 

Has also written for the Mail On Sunday, The Sunday Herald, Scottish Field, In These Times (USA), Austin Chronicle (USA), Blueprint and Street Photography magazine.

13th April – Scott Nicol, Guest Speaker

Scott Nicol is one of the most experienced and hard-working artists in today’s Scottish music scene, having carved out a niche for himself as one of the country’s most visible live performers.

With a seemingly continual stream of gigs in venues ranging from churches and coffee houses to bars and private parties, as well as plying his trade at open mic nights, songwriter competitions, and more or less anywhere else that will give him the opportunity to present his own unique brand of unforgettable showmanship and quality songwriting.