News and Events

Happy New Year! This newsletter is a reminder about upcoming deadlines and contains some new information about events and opportunities in 2018.
Stravaig is the online journal for the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics.

We invite you to submit essays, poems, artwork and images for the next issue on the theme of ‘Expressing the Earth.’ We would especially welcome papers, articles and creative work from those who attended our June Conference. Essays max. 4,000 words, no more than 4 poems/images.

Our editorial group consists of Norman Bissell, Mairi McFadyen, Ullrich Kockel, Elizabeth Rimmer and Caroline Watson.

Deadline: 15 January 2018

Please email submissions to

Our recent Geopoetics Day began with 26 of us walking along the Union Canal from Heriot-Watt University in crisp, clear weather, followed by lunch at The Bridge Inn, Ratho followed by a productive AGM.

Our inaugural Annual Tony McManus Lecture was excellent. James McCarthy’s ‘Nan Shepherd as an Early Geopoet‘ was enjoyed by an audience of 55 at the University and revealed how much we can learn from Shepherd’s writing about ‘the living mountain’. The lecture led to a very interesting discussion about overcoming subject-object, human-nature separations, Neil Gunn, Zen Buddhism, Jessie Kesson and John Muir. We rounded off the day with an informal ceilidh in the evening at The Waverley and The Royal Oak in Edinburgh.

You can read James McCarthy’s Lecture ‘Nan Shepherd as an Early Geopoet’ here

Tony McManus founded the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics in 1995 and was its director until he died in 2002. He was a wonderful musician and teacher who wrote many perceptive essays and reviews as well as the book The Radical Field, and he worked tirelessly to raise awareness of geopoetics in Scotland and internationally.

Please send information about geopoetics related publications, news and events for our next Newsletter to

Highland Stravaig, Saturday 26 May 2018

Our next event will be a Highland Stravaig in Abriachan above Loch Ness (near Inverness) on Saturday 26 May. The event will be in association with Moniack Mhorand the Abriachan Forest Trust. Following our discussion on Nan Shepherd, we will reflect on the work of Jessie Kesson, explore the local cultural landscape and its biodiversity and celebrate Abriachan’s role in land reform (2018 is the 20th anniversary of Abriachan’s community buy-out). Full details to follow. Email Mairi McFadyen for more info.

AGM Announcements

At our AGM it was agreed to elect Mairi McFadyen as Assistant Director, Rachel Clive as Chairperson, Dave Francis as Treasurer, Nanon McManus as French Correspondent and Norman Bissell as Director. Other Council members elected were Ulrich Kockel, Jim McCarthy, Gordon Peters, Elizabeth Rimmer, Mark Sheridan, Bill Stephens, Bill Taylor and Julie Ann Thomason.

Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter

At our AGM we also agreed to become one of over 80 organisations supporting Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter 2018 – 2023. The image to the left is just one reason why we need the Charter –  from next to Fingal’s Cave on Staffa this year. Read about the Charter here.

Hugh Miller Writing Competition

We are again supporting the Hugh Miller Writing Competition as a partner. The competition aims to honour the legacy of geologist Hugh Miller by inspiring new, original prose and poetry on the theme of Scotland’s rich fossil heritage. The competition is organised by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, The Friends of Hugh Miller and other partners. Open to all ages. Closing date 15 April 2018. Full details here.

Katharine Stewart Bursary

In celebration of the life and work of Abriachan-based Katharine Stewart, who was a former member of the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre Moniack Mhor are offering the prize of a place on either the Nature Writing or Historical Fiction course to a writer in 2018. Open to unpublished/published writers living and working in the Highlands who have or would like to have a piece of work in development. Read more here.

Music: ‘Sandwood’ by Duncan Chisholm

Fiddler and composer Duncan Chisholm has just released a stunning new album of music inspired by the landscape at Sandwood Bay, North West Sutherland. This follows his Strathglass trilogy, inspired by landscapes of Farrar, Canaich and Affric. Read more.

Members’ News: Elizabeth Rimmer

Elizabeth Rimmer‘s new poetry collection Haggards, based on her work on herbs, from Red Squirrel Press will be launched at the Scottish Poetry Library on Saturday 10 February 2018. Read more.

Members’ News: Norman Bissell

Norman Bissell has a new Island Writer website with pages on poetry, fiction, essays, geopoetics, media, collaborations and more. His latest blog post points out that bullying and harassment can take place in social enterprises as well as in Hollywood, Parliaments, local Councils and workplaces.

Welcome to the many new members who have joined the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics since the Expressing the Earth Conference in June and to all the new subscribers to this Newsletter. 

The Scottish Centre for Geopoetics is a membership organisation which relies on members’ subscriptions to fund its activities which are carried out by volunteers. Its purpose is to raise awareness of geopoetics as a crucial way to approach and respond creatively to the natural world of which we are part.

By joining us you will support the development of geopoetics. You will also receive a free copy of Grounding a World: Essays on the Work of Kenneth White.

Annual membership costs £10 waged/£5 unwaged.

Read more about membership here

Download membership form here

Please feel free to circulate this Newsletter to friends who may be interested. Thank you.

H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R !

Norman Bissell

Director, Scottish Centre for Geopoetics
Mo Dhachaidh
51 Cullipool
Isle of Luing
PA34 4UB

tel. 01852 314322
t: @nbissell

Slate, Sea and Sky


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