Oor Authors Sheena Blackhall Ali Christie Matthew Fitt Angus Glen Hamish MacDonald Ann Matheson Where were you born? OVERTOWN IN LANARKSHIRE Where did you grow up? OVERTOWN Where do you live now? BIGGAR Which schools did you go to? OVERTOWN PRIMARY AND WISHAW HIGH SCHOOL When did you start writing? ABOOT 14 YEAR AGO WHEN I WIS INVITIT TAE WRITE A LOCAL HISTORY. Lydia Robb James Robertson Gregor Steele
I wis born in Aiberdeen and hae fower bairns – twa loons, Morven an Ross, and twa quines, Kenna and Morag. I hae twa rattons as pets Jessie an Mrs Jingles. I eesed tae hae a futterat caad Fergus bit he deed, an a wheen rubbits. There's a wee pet kirkyaird in the bakkie.
Ma schules were Mile End Primary an Aiberdeen High Schule for Girls. I liked ma history teacher fa gied me the role o Benjamin Disraeli, a Prime Minister fae Victorian times, an I got tae gie a speech as if I wis him! It wis boss! I sterted drawin fin I wis auld eneuch tae haud a pencil. I could lose masel for oors in picturs. I sterted scrievin fin I wis echt.
Ma grunny spoke the maist Scots in oor family and the Scots word I like the best is scunner. An I like ferfochan, blooter and minnie-minnie-mony-feet (grunny's wird for ‘centipede’). I like aa Robert Burns’s poems an sangs, especially Up in the Mornin Early which I ken bairns like, tae. An Charles Dickens and Rene Magritte were big influences on me as writer as weel. Jenny Watson o the Aiberdeen Readin Bus has been affa supportive o ma wirk an the Readin Bus is jist braw.
Ma favourite poem I’ve written for Itchy Coo is Granda’s Teeth which is fae ma favourite Itchy Coo book King o the Midden. I love the poem in Blethertoun Braes cried The Dugs o Deid End Street by Kirsty Grieve. Baith books are hotchin wi Bob Dewar’s brilliant illustrations.
When I’m no scrievin, I’m singin an storytellin. An I’ll no say ony mair as I'll hae bored the breeks aff ye lang eneuch.
I was born and live in Dundee with my man, Frank. I have three grown-up bairns and a bonnie grandchild, Niamh. My school nickname at Eastern Primary and Grove Academy was Ally. In my last year at school I won a special prize in a Scots writing competition which was judged by Hugh MacDiarmid who was ‘impressed by the talent shown by a 16 year old.’ I worked on comics and magazines for girls for many years, writing for the Bunty, the Mandy, the Jackie and others.
Favourite Itchy Coo Book: The Eejits. The Itchy Coo Scots translation is downright hilarious. Favourite Itchy Coo poem I’ve written: The Museum in Blethertoun Braes. Favourite poem by someone else: Mrs Nae Offence by Gregor Steele. A child I’m impressed by is Molly Burns from St Boswell’s Primary whose story The Wounded Hare for an Itchy Cool’s Burns competition was beautifully written. She is a talented young writer.
My father and one of my aunts spoke the most Scots in our family. A lot of the Scots words I use in my writing were learned from them. Favourite Scots word: numptie. It sounds funny but use sparingly if you want to have ony freens left. Favourite Scots animal word: coo - easy to remember, and spell! Favourite Scots adjective: bonnie. We live in a bonnie country with a bonnie language of our ain. Favourite verb: haver. My father would say ‘Stop haverin, wumman!’ when my mother’s blethers were too much for his lugs. Favourite illustrator: Karen Sutherland. Writer who most influenced me: My great-great grandfather, William Beharrie, a Dundee poet. I feel at home writing in Scots because I am a Scot.
Eh wis born in Dundee and eh bide noo in Lanarkshire. Meh wife is cried Mirka (she made this bonnie website). Gerry Baird wis the best dominie eh ever had. He taught me aathin eh ken aboot Scots Literature. Eh sterted scrievin in P6. Meh favourite Itchy Coo book is Hercules and meh favourite Itchy Coo poem is Nae Fizz Izzie by Hamish MacDonald fae Blethertoun Braes.
Nethermains PS in Denny, Georgetown PS in Dumfries, St Bride’s PS at Ballachulish, Inverallochy PS in Aiberdeenshire, Carrick Knowe PS in Edinburgh, St Elizabeth’s PS in Hamilton, Netherlee PS in Glesga and Baldragon Academy in Dundee are braw schules. Heid Teachers Christine Wilson at Greenmill in Cumnock and Mary Connolly at Nethermains are brilliant dominies that can speak baith Scots and English. Melanie West and aw oor friends at the Education Resource Service in North Ayrshire are affy guid supporters o Itchy Coo.
Meh grandfaither spoke the maist Scots in oor faimlie. Meh favourite Scots word is basically aa o them but eh’m affy fond o bubblyjock, barkit and jink. Michael Rosen, England’s greatest Makar, aye inspires me tae read mair and the writers wha influenced me the maist are meh mither, Robert Fergusson and William Gibson.
When eh’m no scrievin or daein work for Itchy Coo, eh like tae read books aboot Scottish history, sweem up and doon a pool and kick a futba aroon the gairden trehin no tae brek onybody’s windaes.
Born? Alyth in Perthshire. Brought up? Alyth tae I wis ten, and efter that Perth. Where do you live now? Believe it or no, in a glen in Angus. The motto o Angus is ‘Lippen on Angus’ which really means ‘Trust in Angus’ or ‘Depend on Angus’. Dinna lippen on me, though. Check it oot yersels. Wife’s name? Daisy (but I aye cry her Gowan). Bairns? Jist the ae dochter, cried Kirsty. She’s mairrit on a man cried Grieve. I hae seeven grandchildren though. Which schools did you go to? Awfie guid anes. Did you have a nickname at school? Lugs, on accoont o ma muckle lugs. Favourite teacher? ‘Gantin’ Gillfillan. That’s whit we cawed him because he wis aye gantin and yawnin and fawin intae a dwam, and that meant we didna hae tae wark ower hard. He taught us history and in fact he wis a gey guid teacher when he wis awake.
When did you start writing? At aboot seeven o clock, efter I’d had ma tea. What got you into writing/drawing? A sherp pencil.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? Katie’s Ferm – I read it tae ma grandson Chae. Favourite Itchy Coo poem you’ve written? ‘The Reverend Mr “Soapy” Sheen’ in Blethertoun Braes. He’s based on a minister I kent in Perth wha wisna the triggest man I ever met. Favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? I like yon James McGonigal’s poems – ‘Doon Needle Street’ and ‘Mrs Moon’. They’re awfie fine.
Which person in your family spoke the most Scots? Masel, definitely, although the collie has a guid Buchan accent. Favourite Scots word? Spaghetti, as in ‘shooglie spaghetti’.
Animal? Puddock. Adjective? Crabbit. Verb? Breenge. Any pets? The collie’s no really a pet but he’s the nearest thing tae it. His name is Clootie. What do you do when you're not writing? Sleep.
Born Dundee, grew up no faur frae Kirriemuir in Angus, bide noo near Aberfoyle
Merried tae Wattie Grieve and oor bairns are Walter, Kirsty, Gus, Shug, Dinah, Dennis and Chae.
School nickname? Curly Kirsty, because I had gey curly hair
When did you start writing? When I wis at the primary scuil. What got you into writing? I liked tryin tae mak folk laugh.
What's your favourite Itchy Coo book? The Eejits. What's your favourite Itchy Coo poem which you have written? ‘The Dugs o Deid End Street’ What's your favourite Itchy Coo illustration? I love Bob Dewar’s illustrations in Hercules
Which one person or people in your family spoke the most Scots? Ma faither, Angus Glen.
What's your favourite Scots word? Heelstergowdie What's your favourite Scots animal word? Horniegolach Favourite Scots adjective? Glaikit Favourite Scots verb? Hirple
Favourite Burns' poem or song? ‘Willie Wastle’ because it’s fou o brilliant tongue-twistin words. Writer that's most influenced you? William Soutar
What do you do when you're not writing? The haill faimly’s intae karate.
Alan Grant Born? Bristol. Grew up? Newtongrange (Nitten in Scots). Spent much of my childhood playing on the banks of the River Esk, in the Red Woods and the Newbattle Abbey grounds. Live now? I live in Moniaive, with my wife, Sue, a graphic designer who works mainly for charities like the Red Cross. My daughter, Shalla, was named after Shalla Bal, the girlfriend of Marvel Comics character the Silver Surfer. She now has 4 kids of her own.
Which school or schools did you go to? Newtongrange Primary, where the favourite game was a version of British Bulldog called Cocky-Dunty. And Dalkeith High School, which had a swimming pool, a bronze statue of a ballerina, and a history teacher called Jesse James. Did you have a nickname at school? I always wanted to be called Johnny, but nobody ever called me that. So no, I had no nickname. But now that I have 4 grandkids, I get them to call me Johnny instead of Grandad. Cool. Favourite teacher? At primary it was Mrs Sawicki, who was the first teacher ever to suspect that I was clever and not just a troublemaker. At secondary, it was Miss Burns, the maths teacher, who was only 5 feet tall but was also a terrifying force of nature.
When did you start writing? I'd always loved drawing, especially comics characters from the Beano, Dandy, Hotspur etc, and wanted to become a comics artist when I left school. But my art was total rubbish. I started writing stories in my spare time at nights. About a year later I landed an editorial job with DC Thomson’s in Dundee and while working for them I first learned the business of proper storywriting.What got you into writing/drawing? Comics. My parents bought a stack of comics every week for me and my two younger brothers - Beano, Dandy, Topper, Beezer, Buster, New Hotspur, Boys' Own Paper, and more. I loved comics, and I count my lucky stars that I finally ended up writing comics.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? The Eejits. Is there a child currently in school whose work has impressed you? Dozens of them! My cousin just sent me a load of comics written and drawn by his 6-year-old grandson Dylan. Based on one of my favourite cartoon characters, Spongebob Squarepants, they were excellent for one so young. Is there a teacher currently teaching who has been extra supportive of your work or of Scots? The librarian at Peebles High School, the teachers at Clydebank High School, one of the tutors at RADA in Glasgow, a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art...the list goes on and on. Which one person or people in your family spoke the most Scots? My mother. She was from Tattie Raw in the Midlothian village of Arniston, and used to sing the song "Wha Saw The Tattie Howkers" to me and my brothers. Now I sing the same song to my own grandchildren. When my Auntie Jean came to visit, we had to really listen to what she said - she spoke in very broad Scots.
Favourite Scots word? Tattie Howkers, bawbee and bumbaleerielaw. Favourite Scots animal word? Dug. Favourite Scots adjective? Bonnie and braw. Favourite Scots verb? Pauchle. Favourite Burns' poem or song? To A Moose and A Man's A Man For A' That.
Favourite illustrator? Frank Quitely, the Glasgow comic artist who drew my Batman story "The Scottish Connection." He also draws Superman for DC Comics in New York.
Writer/artist that's most influenced you? John Wagner, who created Judge Dredd and taught me almost all I know about comic writing. Do you have a pet? A black and white cat called Pieface.
What do you do when you're not writing? I love to walk in the Galloway hills, the lonelier and quieter the better. There are always standing stones, stone circles, ancient fortresses and abandoned villages to discover.
Anything else you want to say? I lived in the south-east of England for many years (Suffolk and Essex). I really liked it there...but the day I moved back to Scotland was one of my happiest ever.
Born? Helensburgh. Grew up? Clydebank. Live now in Inverness with Kim and twa wee lassies, Kenna and Colla. Which schools did you go to? Elgin St. and Clydebank High. Did you have a nickname at school? Aye, Hamish. Ma real name’s Ian, but no a lot o people know that. Favourite teacher? An English teacher called Wullie Barr, they ca’d um Buzz. He was a wee bearded hippy in the 1970s, he gave us stuff tae write aboot we could identify wi, like the difference between life in the tenements and the high-flats and so on, and he spoke like us tae. He started an after-school creative writin group, which I attended, and which seemed unheard of then. He went away tae teach in Plockton, and we never heard o him again eftir that.
What got you into writing? Later in life? i.e. teens, it would’ve been the inspiration o the Kilpatrick Hills, its wildlife and landscape, the funny characters at work (I liked writin parodies), the language, and I think listenin tae music played a big part tae.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? The Eejits. Favourite Itchy Coo story which you have written? The Girnin Gates. Favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? Mrs Nae Offence by Gregor Steele When I read this oot at schools, it ayeways gets a great laugh. Which person in your family spoke the most Scots? My faither. He grew up near Glasgow (he was born in Barlinnie!) and his mother was an auld Aberdeenshire lady wha spoke the Doric, so he wid sometimes yaise a wee bit of that and had a guid Scots vocabulary, he used tae yaise the words wi a certain a kind o relish.
Favourite Scots word? Stravaig. Favourite Scots animal word? Hoolet. Favourite Scots adjective? Shilpit. Favourite Scots verb? Howkin. Favourite Burns' poem? The Vision. Favourite illustrator? Bob Dewar. What do you do when you're not writing?
Think aboot writin. Anything else? That’s me.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? THE HOOSE O HAIVERS Favourite Itchy Coo poem you have written? GRANNIE BASHIN Favourite Itchy Coo story by someone else? HERCULES What are you writing at the moment? RICHT NOW, I'M DAEIN A HISTORY O BIGGAR KIRK: FU O MURDERS, MYSTERIES , AULD BANES AN AMAZIN LINKS TAE THE HAILL WARLD
Which one person in your family spoke the most Scots? MA FAITHER Favourite Scots word? SMEDDUM Favourite Scots animal word? CUDDIE Favourite Scots adjective? CALLER Favourite Scots verb? SLAIGER Favourite Burns' poem? HOLY WULLIE'S PRAYER Favourite illustrator? KAREN SUTHERLAND Writer that's most influenced you? HUGH MACDIARMID
Any pets? BAITH MA CATS HAE DEID OAN ME. THEY WERE CRIED FELIX AN WEE CAT What do you do when you're not writing? HOOSEWORK, CROSSWORDS, GAIRDENIN, READIN, TRANSCRIBIN AULD 17TH CENTURY SCOTS TESTAMENTS - AN I REVIEW BUIKS FUR LALLANS MAGAZINE
Janet Paisley Born? In my Norwegian grannie's house, Ilford, Essex. Grew up? In ma Scottish Grandad's hoose, Avonbrig, near Falkirk. Where do you live now? In ma ain hoose, in a wee place cried Glen Village near Falkirk. Bairns? Six laddies - Michael, Jonathan, Mark, Laurence, David, Matthew. Twa grandsons - Lewis, Laurence. Yin granddochter - Erin. Which schools did you go to? Avonbridge Primary, and Falkirk High School. Who was your favourite teacher? The first yin, then the heidie. They thocht I was smert and that felt guid. Then ma English teacher - she inspired me wi Shakespeare.
When did you start writing? When I was a wean, aboot 8 year auld. What got you into writing? It was somethin I could dae, hud tae dae, a place I could go by masell and be happy. Favourite Itchy Coo book? Katie's Coo - first book I read tae ma first grandson.
What's your favourite Itchy Coo story which you have written? ‘Vampire’ in Pure Ghosters.
Do you have a school/library/community project you've enjoyed visiting or working with? Aye, loads, but yin I mind best was in the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, workin wi a printmaker and loadsa weans every day fur twa weeks making pictures wi words aw aboot an exhibition, then hingin then oan oor ain waw. Is there a pupil currently in school whose work has impressed you? Aye, just judged Fife creative writing competition 2009 and the bairn that won the 11-15 comp is a genius poet awready, wha wrote a braw sonnet in the Doric.
Which one person or people in your family spoke the most Scots? Awbody at hame - grandfaither, mither, uncle, and me an ma sisters till we were taught different at school. I never spoke it again till I had to relearn it as an adult and writer, about age 35, when I realised English didn't do what was needed to write drama and voices from Scottish people.
Favourite Scots word? Dunderheid the day, dreich the morra. Favourite Scots animal word? Mowdy. Favourite Scots adjective? Dour. Favourite Scots verb? Dicht. Favourite Burns' poem or song? The Deil's Awa wi the Exciseman. Writer that's most influenced you? Shakespeare was an early influence, but there are so many who can raise me when I'm down - Dylan Thomas, TS Elliot, DH Laurence, Hemingway, Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, Henry Moore, Bob Dylan, Dory Previn, Otis Redding ...
Do you have pets? Twa cats - Shadda [nicknamed Radge], and Maggie. What do you do when you're not writing? Gardening, wood sculpting, reading, walking, bletherin wi pals but I'm always writing in my head, even asleep. Can't be with folk without writing their stories, can't read or watch anything without rewriting it, except when engrossed in those rare works which need no reworking. Anything else you want to say? Am still angry that I had no education in Scots to match the excellent education I had in English. I should be equally literate with both, and am not - a great regret and dreadful waste of early linguistic knowledge that it's thrown away and not built on.
I was born in Arbroath and now live near Kellas in Angus. Ony bairns? Wilma, Dougal and Mairi. Schools? Ladyloan Primary and Arbroath High School Who was your favourite teacher? Mr Reid the art teacher who encouraged me with my art work. What got you into writing? Always enjoyed writing from school age onwards.
What's your favourite Itchy Coo book? King o the Midden Favourite Itchy Coo poem which you have written? Furry Hat Favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? The Fat Wifie's Knickers. Is there a library you've enjoyed visiting or working with? I work with Ann Lolley, Broughty Ferry Environmental Project Manager on a regular basis at Broughty Library
Which one person or people in your family spoke the most Scots? My Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters Favourite Scots word? Smirr Favourite Scots animal word? Puddock Favourite Scots adjective? Braw Favourite Scots verb? Dingin Favourite Burns' poem or song? My Luve is like a Red Red Rose
Writer that's most influenced you? Norman MacCaig. What do you do when you're not writing? I'm an artist as weel.
Where were you born? Sevenoaks in Kent, in the Sooth o England. Where did you grow up? The Brig o Allan, near Stirling. Where do you live now? In a village aboot ten mile north o Dundee married to Marianne. Any children? Nae bairns, forbye the yins in ma books! When did you start writing? When I was aboot five. I aye wanted tae write books.
What got you into writing? I wis mad keen on the Wild West and wanted tae write novels aboot the Indians fechtin the U.S. Cavalry. We had an auld typewriter in the hoose and that wis whit I sterted tae write on.
What's your favourite Itchy Coo book? It changes aw the time. Mibbe Blethertoun Braes or mibbe Winnie-the-Pooh or mibbe Geordie’s Mingin Medicine or mibbe The Smoky Smirr o Rain. What's your favourite Itchy Coo poem you’ve written? ‘Sergeant Snoddy’ in King o the Midden. What's your favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? ‘Mrs Nae Offence’ by Gregor Steele, in Blethertoun Braes. Favourite Scots word? Breeks. Animal? Tod. Adjective? Lown. Verb? Stravaig. Favourite Burns’ song? The Deil’s Awa wi the Exciseman. Favourite illustrator? E.H. Shepard. He did the pictures in Winnie-the-Pooh.
Ony pets? Nae pets, but I really like dugs. What do you do when you're not writing? Go for lang stravaigs up in the hills.
Where were you born? Motherwell Where did you grow up? Have you READ my poems? I haven’t grown up yet. OK, proper answer - I grew up in Carluke where I live with my wife, Kathleen and our two weans, one girl, one boy. I went to Carluke Primary and Lanark Grammar.
Did you have a nickname at school? Big G, because my first initial is G and I wasn’t very big. Kind of sarcastic nickname but I liked it. Who was your favourite teacher? Why? Miss Thomson, the English teacher. She encouraged me when I did well but pulled me up when I tried too hard to be funny, and Mr Gilkes the physics teacher. He was great at teaching the subject and built up a brilliant relationship with our class.
When did you start writing? Probably when I was about ten. I wrote the poem Miss McCurdie (King o the Midden) when I was thirteen but it never appeared in a book until I was about forty-three. If you like writing, don’t give up! What got you into writing? I was a bit of a daydreamer at school and I loved reading. I think my first stories were just daydreams written down. At high school, I tried to make my friends laugh by changing the words of pop songs to make them be about our teachers.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? King o the Midden. Favourite Itchy Coo poem you have written? Probably Mrs Nae Offence from Blethertoun Braes because it seems quite popular. I also like to hear people sing Bacon Roll, and I love when children screw up their faces when I read Boggin Beasties. Favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? The Department Store o Nae Fires by Brent Hodgson makes me laugh. I’d also like to mention The Twa Cuddies by James Robertson, a poem isn’t in an Itchy Coo book. If I’m reading my mingin poems to people, I often read this too to show that the Scots language isn’t just about Bahookie Dugs and budgies that boak.
Is there a school you've enjoyed visiting?I really enjoyed my day at Carelton Primary in Fife. I was interviewed by their radio station. Can you mention a teacher who has been extra supportive of your work and Scots? My friend Derek Hotchkiss of Caldervale High School in Airdrie does a great job. Who in your family spoke the most Scots? My grandparents. Favourite Scots word? Glaikit… I’ve been told I’m glaikit more than once. What do you do when you're not writing? I work for the SSERC (Scottish Schools Equipment Research Centre) that helps make school science more interesting. I get to try out loads of experiments! My hobbies are walking, cycling, being a bit nerdy with computers and video cameras, and messing about with old cars.
Margaret Tollick Born? Glasgow -as in "I belong tae". Where did you grow up? Auld Reekie.
Where do you live now? Aberdour, wee Fife village. Partner's name? Frank. Three children, Alison, David, Martin. Which school or schools did you go to? Grantown-on-Spey Primary as a 5 year old evacuee in World War II; Wardie P.S. and Broughton Higher Grade in Edinburgh. Did you have a nickname at school? Skinnymalink. Who was your favourite teacher?- Auld John, Head of English at Broughton - made stories, poems, writers come alive - encouraged me in writing stories - and gied me the privilege of editing the School Magazine in 5th Year.
When did you start writing? I cannae mind - but wis writin wee stories and poems as a bairn, and as a teenager, fir masel, ma family, ma pals. What got you into writing? It got into me!! I'm a twin -my sister is the blether - I'm the scribbler.
Favourite Itchy Coo book? King o the Midden. Favourite Itchy Coo poem which you have written? ‘O Ye Cannae Shove Yir Granny aff a bus’. Favourite Itchy Coo poem by someone else? ‘The Legend o the Lady Richmondis’ by Tom Hubbard.
Do you have a school you've enjoyed visiting or working with? Pitreavie Primary, Dunfermline, two terms, Infant - P.7 classes, offering oral poems, stories, and working with children to encourage their own writing skills. Is there a child currently in school whose work has impressed you? Yes, Catriona, my 8 year old grand-daughter, who seems to also have the writing bug - but is also good at illustrations, which always defeated me. Is there a teacher currently teaching who has been extra supportive of your work or of Scots? Yes, lots, especially in this year of Homecoming when I've been doing lots of oral Storytelling as a member of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and doing readings from my recently published book of poetry in Scots for bairns "Tapsalteerie".
Which one person or people in your family spoke the most Scots? Granddad Campbell - if I was being stupid, he cried me a "dunnert Cuddy" and always called lemonade "skoosh". Favourite Scots word? Huntiegowk. Favourite Scots animal word? Todlowrie. Favourite Scots adjective? Widdershins. Favourite Scots verb? Shoogle Favourite Burns' poem or song? O my Love's like a red, red rose. Favourite illustrator? Bob Dewar. Writer that's most influenced you? Lots, but in terms of writing in Scots, you'll surely have heard o James Robertson and Matthew Fitt.
Do you have a pet? Did - but now deid! A bonnie cheetiepussie cried Jess. What do you do when you're not writing? What do I not?! 6 Grandchildren, nuff said!; local Drama group, acting, directing; Kirk Elder; visiting Orkney once a year; having lived in Edinburgh till marriage, then Airdrie, Springfield, Port Glasgow, Glenrothes, and now Aberdour, keeping in touch with old friends, making new ones - and this year, busy with the publication of "Tapsalteerie", published by a small publisher in Kelty.
Where were you born? OVERTOWN IN LANARKSHIRE Where did you grow up? OVERTOWN Where do you live now? BIGGAR Which schools did you go to? OVERTOWN PRIMARY AND WISHAW HIGH SCHOOL When did you start writing? ABOOT 14 YEAR AGO WHEN I WIS INVITIT TAE WRITE A LOCAL HISTORY.