Things are happening in Dumfries and Galloway and it's great to be a part of is, even in a small way. When I moved here twenty one years ago, first to Dumfries and then to Wigtownshire, it felt as if I was moving to the wild west. I'd always lived in small towns near cities, Leeds and Bradford, Hull, Nottingham and Edinburgh among them, so moving to a very small village more than two hours (by car or ferry) from the nearest city came as something of a culture shock. Perhaps just a shock, never mind culture.
But being part of a small community has given me space and opportunities that I probably would never have had in an urban environment. I'm delighted to be a member of a writing group that has become a real force in Wigtownshire. In the last three years Book Town Writers has established itself as a group providing support for anyone wishing to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) for the first time whilst also arranging workshops with leading authors and creating a respected short story competition. I joined the group with little confidence about my writing despite being the author of a non fiction book. I have recently published a new non fiction title whilst also developing my creative writing with work published in Southlight magazine, The Fankle, Running Out of Ink and guest slots in other blogs.
Wagtongues, a new initiative founded by a writers' collective in the east of the region, was launched with a pop up bookshop at Wigtown Book Festival last weekend. The group plan to provide further pop up shops in order to support and celebrate the growing number of excellent writers living in Dumfries and Galloway. With the imminent launch of a new monthly writers' salon at Reading Lasses cafe bookshop, creative types will be able to meet up over a lovely meal and chat, network and bond. It's all good and it's great to be a small part.