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Mary Irvine

Mary Irvine

Author biography

Having been told by teachers in primary and secondary schools I was no good at writing stories because I had no imagination I didn’t start writing creatively until some six years ago following completion of the M.Litt. (CW) at Glasgow University. I am passionate about my writing and love experimenting with different styles. The freedom that gives me complements the discipline required. For fun I entered a few competitions and was pleased with the ensuing success, with poems being published in magazines and anthologies in the UK and short stories in Greece, in both English and Greek. One of those stories was placed third in an International Short Story Competition. My latest publication, an article about the Scottish island of Iona, is in the ‘Scottish Correspondent’ online magazine. My first venture into the commercial online world was a booklet of ‘Memories of Spetses’ I put on KDP - just to see if I could! An on-going project is a collaboration with local illustrator, Anne Marshall. Together we have produced four booklets (proposed series of ten) with local tales of history, sometimes accompanied by a flash fiction to complement the history. I do have a degree in History.

As with most writers I have always been a voracious reader, being introduced by my parents to the joys of reading. My reading is eclectic depending on my mood. It can swing from English writers of the eighteenth century such as Laurence Sterne to Spike Milligan, from Ancient Greece to twenty/twenty-first century. I love live music and attend gigs whenever possible. I do have a collection of around one thousand vinyl LPs - another eclectic mix.

Born in Hull, Yorkshire, of working class parents and considered ‘clever’ at school I passed the 11+ exam and attended a girls’ grammar school. Thence to a Church of England Teacher Training College to study Theology. I began teaching that subject but eventually took an interest in children and adults with differing needs. My last post in the UK was in a Sixth Form College i/c Special Needs, also teaching ‘A’ level English Literature. During my career I collected several degrees/diplomas and a masters, all pertinent to my jobs. This ‘new’ life as a writer contrasts with my previous one of teaching and administration in both compulsory and Further/Higher education.

Taking a year’s leave of absence (I resigned halfway through the year!) I moved to Greece with no specific employment but was offered a post as Directress of Studies of a Language School in Athens. I travelled extensively round the mainland and to fifteen different islands. I loved the life, especially the nightlife. Five years later I went to live on the island of Spetses as a private tutor of English. Spetses was an entirely different life-style from Athens but equally as enjoyable. It was whilst living here that I took up tai chi (Yang style). I had always been interested in forms of keeping fit, gyms, judo, walking, even learning to swim at the age of thirty. When I returned to the UK ten years later I continued the tai chi and added Sword Form and Kung Fu Fan as well as a variety of Chi Kung. I now live near Loch Lomond.

During my creative writing life I have belonged to several writers’ groups. I regularly go up to Glasgow to attend courses on various aspects of writing, read at open mics and meet up with writers there. Particularly enjoyable is the freedom afforded me by Pat of patsguidetothewestend. Pat and I met on the M.Litt. course. Her website allows me contact with a wide audience all round the world.

Recently I have spent time promoting, advertising and setting up opportunities for local writers, especially those who find going up to Glasgow difficult. These include workshops, ‘Meet the Author’ and Open Mic which has attracted authors from Glasgow and beyond. At the moment I am in discussion with a small group to set up ‘Six Authors in Search of an Audience’ (apologies to Pirandello) to promote our work. Pilot studies will begin in the New Year.
I am presently working on a prequel to my first book as well as compiling a memoir of the peace campaigner, Margaret Harrison, after some five years of research.

Bibliography

The Wind Whispers Her Name

Erik Hofstatter

Erik Hofstatter

Leo Kane

Leo Kane