Orkney Science Festival

I’m returning to the Orkney Science festival in a few weeks, to take part in an event with Matjaz Vidmar about the exploration of outer space.

Some facts and maybe some fiction…

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Journey to outer space from Edinburgh this August

Lots of rather wonderful outer-space themed events on at the Edinburgh festivals this year.

Here’s one that I’ve been involved in – Transmission‘s immersive theatrical experience is running throughout August, and listen to their podcasts to get a taster.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (organised by Beltane) is running a series of stand-up comedy/discussion events and I’m doing one (with Matjaz Vidmar) about outer space and whether it’s a Good Idea for humans to boldly go there. What’s to stop us destroying alien life? What rules apply in outer space? Is human space travel more science fiction than science fact? (On August 5th at 1:50pm in the New Town Theatre.)

And I’m chairing one of a series of events at the Book Festival programmed by Ken MacLeod about science fiction: come and listen to him, Charlie Stross, Nalo Hopkinson and Ada Palmer talk about hopeful futures on 18 August at 6:30pm.

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Best Scottish Poems 2016

My poem ‘Physics for the unwary student’ has been chosen as one of the 20 Best Scottish Poems for 2016! This selection is made each year by a different editor, this year’s was Catherine Lockerbie. My poem was published in the House of Three anthology, volume 2 (editors Kevin Cadwallender, Annie Kelly)

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The Big Bang is scheduled to happen in Wigtown!

I’m taking part in a weekend of women talking about science at Wigtown. The Big Bang weekend is happening on 27-29 January and there’ll be talks on dark matter, astronomy and literature, deep sea exploration, the search for life on other planets and lots of other stuff. Also talking are Dr Amy Hofmann and Dr Maya Tolstoy, and the whole extravaganza is the brain-child of Jessica Fox (of ‘Three Things You Need to Know about Rockets‘ fame).

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‘Umbrellas of Edinburgh’ anthology

I have two poems, ‘Nowhere special’ and ‘Getting lost in the physics department’, in the new anthology ‘Umbrellas of Edinburgh: Poetry and Prose Inspired by Scotland’s Capital City’ edited by Russell Jones and Claire Askew, and published by Freight.

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Poetry at the Lit and Phil

I’m reading from the House of Three poetry anthology at the Lit and Phil on Wednesday 23rd Nov, with other terrific poets including Margorie Lotfi Gill, Tessa Berring, Nalini Paul, and Katy Ewing.

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Diary piece in Scottish Review of Books

I wrote a diary piece for today’s Scottish Review of Books, about my recent trip to Orkney to speak at the science festival there.


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Autumn events

Here’s a round-up of some events I’m doing over the next few months:

  • As part of the North Lanarkshire Encounters festival, I’m running a workshop on science as an inspiration for fiction writing – on 4th October in Airdrie Observatory (one of the few public observatories in the UK).
  • I’m giving a talk on the hidden lives of scientists as part in the Hearth festival at Gladstone’s Library over the weekend of 29-30 October.
  • I’m reading my poetry at the launch of the ‘House of Three’ anthologies at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle on 21 November.
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My poems in House of Three anthology

A selection of my poems (including lots of previously unpublished ones) have just been published in a new anthology from House of Three (edited by Kevin Cadwallender). The other two poets in the anthology with me are Logie Fielding and Nalini Paul and there are two other volumes published at the same time. We’ll be doing launch events this autumn – more info soon.

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We would like you to listen to our hearts

Over the past year I’ve been an unofficial writer in residence at STIS – the science, technology and innovation studies unit in the University of Edinburgh. Most of the time that I’m there I spend quietly in an office, working on the novel-to-be. But I’ve also been talking to Dr Gill Haddow about her research on heart implants and their emotional impacts upon the people who receive them. These implants are both biological (such as valves from pigs) and mechanical (ICDs; implantable cardiac defibrillators). Do these devices make their recipients ‘cyborgs’? Are we made more or less human by non-human additions to our bodies? As a result, I wrote a short story ‘We would like you to listen to our hearts’ (as well as a commentary on the process of writing the story), and these are now posted on her blog; Animal, Mechanical and Me.

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