Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
Sgrìobhadh ùr à Alba agus an Àird a Tuath Twitter Facebook Search

Autumn-Winter 2020

What’s new in the north

by Kenny Taylor

This homepage, for starters. With support from our funders – Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig – and careful work by Garve Scott-Lodge at Plexus Media – we’ve re-designed the look of this website and introduced a range of new features. Together, these changes should make the site more useful and enjoyable, whether on casual visits or as a resource to help you delve into our growing archive of new writing from Scotland and the wider north.

As before, you can read each issue of Northwords Now (twice a year) and Tuath (annually) as both .pdfs and as files linked to each writer.  Open a .pdf version, and you’ll see the pages as they look in the print edition. Click on the writer files, and you can enjoy individual works of poetry and prose, including essays and reviews. Print them if you wish, to share with in writers’ groups, with students, or to make your own store of favourites.

Parts of this homepage will be refreshed from time to time between issues, with a gently rolling programme of new poems and stories. As funds allow, we’ll also be featuring more audio and video material. This will be an ideal way for us to showcase work in all of Scotland’s three languages, including regional variants.

We’re launching these aspects of the website in grand style here, thanks to James Sinclair, Mary Blance of Radio Shetland, Christopher Whyte and Jennifer Morag Henderson. Sail north with the whaleship Diana in the epic Shetlandic poetry by James below and hear the resonance of Christopher’s poem in both Gaelic and in English translation. You can, for reference, read the text of these works in our online archive, the Gaelic as part of Jennifer’s featured interview. In that e-archive context, we’ll also be walking along its shelves to select work that might encourage you to further exploration, beginning this month with a haunting short story by Olga Wojtas.

To keep in touch with occasional news from us, such as public events, you can now join our email list by filling in your name and email address through the ‘Subscribe’ tab at the top of this homepage. We won’t swamp you with messages, but this could be useful way for people that don’t use Facebook and Twitter to stay informed about our news. If you do use these platforms, go to the buttons at top right to move across to them, including to apply to join the fast-expanding Facebook group.

We hope that the changes and new features will keep boosting the usefulness of Northwords Now and Tuath for writers and readers across Scotland and the wider north. Distribution of our print editions has been constrained by the pandemic in the past year, though we hope to restore wide availability as soon as national regulations allow. But with this re-vamped web presence, a lively social media community and possibilities for online gatherings from time to time, we feel that we’re in good shape, and ready to develop further in future.

Now read on, watch, listen – and enjoy.

Issue 40 Cover

Issue 40

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For the second time in a row, most of you will be reading this issue online, rather than in print. As with the wider world right now, the situation’s not ideal.

But the good news is: we’re still here; still making plans that will allow us to adapt to ever-changing circumstances; still attracting interest and warm support from writers and readers across Scotland and the wider north; still supported by our funders, who value the breadth of our reach in both language and geographical coverage. Advice from staff in Creative Scotland’s Literature and Creative Industries teams has been an invaluable aspect of that support in recent months.

The diversity of voices and content in this issue gives a sense of vigour. That’s reflected both in how we’ve grown from 32 pages to 40, plus the spring ‘Tuath’ supplement, in 2020, and in the energy of the work included. In turn, that reveals the current strength of new writing across the Scottish literary community.

I hope that what’s gathered here will give you pleasure and inspiration now that winter has passed and spring days are lengthening. With a hard-working Northwords board, a community valuing the publication both on- and offline and vital support and advice from our funders, Northwords Now is still flourishing. Enjoy this harvest from last autumn, and look out for the new shoots of spring from us in May, when Issue 41 will be unveiled.

Back fae da Edge

A Shetlandic epic by James Sinclair.

Audio is courtesy of Mary Blance and John Johnston at BBC Scotland and Radio Shetland. Illustration is Whaling ships Diana and Anne in the Arctic. Oil painting by James H. Wheldon. Text versions.

Japan Poems

by Kevin MacNeil


by Eòghan Stiùbhart

Lorna Moon

by Kay Clive

Zen and the Art of Lady Bird

by Loretta Mulholland


Aiteal Bhom Rothar

by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

A’ Ghràineag ‘s an Sgòth Dhorch’

by Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

Issue 39 Tuath Cover

Issue 39

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From the Archives

The Vanishing Point

by Olga Wotjas

Copenhagen Bicycles

by Jon Miller

The Board and Editor of Northwords Now acknowledge support from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
ISSN 1750-7928 - Print Design by Gustaf Eriksson - Website by Plexus Media