At Least My Friends Are Talented

At Least My Friends Are Talented

John Donne was right: No man is an island. We are wrongly shaped for a start, though, if we were, I'd probably get Unst while everyone else grabbed a share of Jersey.

Seriously, though, I think ' ol' Donney boy', had a point. Friendships are generally acknowledged to be pretty good things.

I have had the good fortune to meet a lot of people. Lots of different shapes, sizes, some quirky and some with fascinatingly varied habits and vices. I've also had the very good fortune to meet some who happen to be very talented. It just drips off them. I am hopeful that, if I stand next to them for long enough, some of it might rub off on me but the jury's definitely out on that one.

Anyway, here are two who happen to be doing some pretty nifty stuff at present.

I am grateful to have met, known and been hugely encouraged by a highly talented wordsmith I first knew of when reading- and admiring- her journalism in the 'Hootsmon' (Scotsman).

It was a great stroke of luck, for me and many other writers in the Perthshire area, when Ajay Close was appointed Writer In Residence in Perth several years ago and her influence continues to extend to all of those who met and read, under her guidance, in the house belonging to Perth poet, William Soutar.

Anyway, Ajay's new novel 'Trust' is a great read and, personally, because I know she draws on a lot of her journalistic experience of the miners' strike, these bits are my fave. From striking workers to the banking system, it is a novel covering the whole span of life in Britain in the past few decades, seen through the eyes of some very compelling female characters. You can learn more about it here: and read an extract, here:

Ajay will be reading and discussing 'Trust' this Friday (8th) at 3pm at Fringe By The Sea in North Berwick and at 6pm to 8pm at Blackwells at the Fringe, South Bridge Edinburgh, on Thursday 14th August. If you are in either place or have a car, access to public transport, legs, etc, it would be well worth rucking up.

Similarly, another talented writer from Perth, Iain Mackintosh, is grabbing a piece of the action in Edinburgh. Prophecy, written by Iain, Ken Sutherland and Ian Turnbull is a full length stage musical based on the life of the 'Gaelic Nostradamus', the Brahan Seer.

Imagine the amount of 'maddie' remarks he must have encountered in his lifetime? Still, he couldn't have been that nuggets because he predicted Culloden, the Clearances (not like the end of season sales), World War 2, Piper Alpha and the Scottish Parliament. They never let him near Ladbrokes, though.

Get all the lowdown on Prophecy here:

The premiere is 9th-13th September at St Bride's Centre, 10 Orwell Terrace, Edinburgh. Tickets are available from the Usher Hall booking office. 0131 228 1155.

Writing Biography

Kenneth Paul Stephen

Kenneth Paul Stephen is an award-winning short story writer, journalist and PR consultant.
In 2010 he won the David Toulmin short story prize.
In 2011/2012 he won a Scottish Book Trust New Writer award.
In 1977, he won a drawing competition at Butlins (his proudest career achievement to date).
His short stories have been published in leading literary magazines and anthologies.
He is the founder of Heartland Media and PR. His clients include Scotland’s gamekeepers, Penguin UK and crime authors James Oswald and Ed James.

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