Aiming to nurture home-grown talent

The organising group - Lilian Kennedy Brzoska, George Sinclair and David McDonald - with poet and novelist Tom Hubbard.
The organising group - Lilian Kennedy Brzoska, George Sinclair and David McDonald - with poet and novelist Tom Hubbard.

Fife already has a wealth of famous authors but there is a lot of hidden talent still waiting to be discovered.

For those who like to write poems, prose, music or songs, the group ‘Fife Writes’ provides an ideal vehicle to write, perform and network with like-minded people.

Launched last February with support from Create in Fife, the group now has grown from having 50 members to 170.

Organising team member George Sinclair explained that the group aims to hold free writing events, one per month, across all of Fife, and to actively encourage networking.

He said all events are open people across Fife who are on the membership list and are interested in writing and performing, their friends and the public.

He added: “Apart from our members coming from every corner of Fife, we even have members in Aboyne, Alloa, Blairgowrie, Broughty Ferry, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Poland and USA. We welcome you wherever you are.

“Many of our members are professional or budding writers, comedians, editors, musicians, performers, photographers, playwrights, poets, publishers, one actor, one artist and one composer – so a broad range of talent. And, of course, our other members just like to be entertained.”

Fife Writes’ first event, held in The Woodside Hotel in Aberdour in April, attracted 38 people. Poet, novelist and international lecturer Tom Hubbard was the speaker/performer and treated everyone to his ‘Parcel of Rogues’.

For the second meeting the group moved to Betty Nicols pub Kirkcaldy where an audience of 32 enjoyed twelve people giving exceptional Open Mic performances that would rival any theatre. Rachel McAlpine also provided mesmerising music.

In June the event took place in Freuchie’s Lomond Hills Hotel where an audience of 44 enjoyed performances from Lindsay McGregor, StAnza director Eleanor Livingstone and Helena Nelson, as well as music by Sonny Carntyne.

The group returned to the The Woodside Hotel for their fifth meeting where the audience was entertained by Tom Hubbard, Suit and Pace, and Joel Mason. The Sairbanes provided unique songs – their music written with the words of poems by local poets.

Since then the group has met in Kirkcaldy and Anstruther and also created the ‘Fife Writes does Book Week Scotland’ wordcraft workshop held in the activities room at Kirkcaldy Galleries in November. Tom Hubbard shared many tips and insights on the art of writing, all in an interesting and amusing atmosphere.

A week later the group held another ‘Fife Writes does Book Week Scotland’ event which was entitled ‘A Night of Stars’. The audience enjoyed brilliant performances from Brian Johnstone, Dawn Wood and Billy Kay while Sonny Carntyne provided enchanting music.

Although the December meeting had to be cancelled due to the weather this year’s events are up and running.

The next gathering will be held in the St Clair Tavern in Kirkcaldy on Thursday, February 12 at 7.30pm.

The faces behind Fife Writes

Lilian Kennedy Brzoska is a qualified drama teacher, performer and theatre director. She was senior co-facilitator of Fifeshed Inclusive Theatre for two years and Trustee on the Board of Attention Fife, doing therapeutic drama with ADHD children. She is currently engaged in gathering her writings of various genre, artworks and songs and is a member of the Scottish Region of the International Theosophical Society, for whom she delivers lectures and meditations. She has strong connections with the West Coast and is a Trustee member of the Core Group of An Tearman, a sanctuary for writers, musicians, artists and seekers of inspiration on the Isle of Bute.

Lilian has many happy childhood memories of holidays in Crail, Anstruther and Pittenweem where her Polish father and Scots mother brought the family every year. She has been writing poetry and drama sketches since 1984. She wrote for BBC Scotland’s programme ‘Hopscotch’, before leaving Glasgow, where she was co-director of Roughcast Music Theatre. In 1995 she toured Scotland performing ‘Freedom Song’ with Howard Purdie, a borders poet and playwright.

At festivals Lilian also improvises, sings and connects with Scotland’s sacred sites. She has an ongoing creative relationship with Alan Jackson with whom she has shared the stage in Edinburgh on a variety of occasions.

Poet, writer, music producer and performer David McDonald has been writing for 36 years and has had several works published. A silver prize winner in a 2002 worldwide competition for poetry, with the poem placed in the collection of the National Library of Congress in Washington DC. Currently, he has five pamphlets and three books awaiting publication, and a screenplay in progress. Several EP’s and albums are in the work and some are nearing release.

David has a degree in in Philosophy, Literature and History and a diploma in Management Systems. He has worked as an IT Consultant, but due to illness decided to concentrate on writing and performing, and helping others to be creative. He is also a Member of National Collective and a YES Scotland Ambassador.

David likes to be known as ‘Un poète noveueau situationiste, écrivain, et un agent Provacateur, constamment au bord du chaos un pas loin de l’anarchie. Vive la revolution de independence’.

George Sinclair had many years experience of designing electronic products and, later, as a Bid manager writing technical and business proposals for customers across the five continents.

Now, he is a fiction writer and has published his first novel ‘The Secret of Gold’ as an Amazon Kindle version, where you can read a few chapters free.

He has plans for a further four novels and three non-fiction books. George likes to think of himself as being a writer, travel photographer and adventurer.

Plenty of support for group

Fife Writes may have only been going for less than a year but has already secured the support of many friends including Aberdour Cultural Association, Create in Fife, Cultural Enterprise Office (CEO), Edinburgh City of Literature, Fife College, Fife Cultural Trust, Fife Libraries, Literary Dundee, Publishing Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, St Andrews University, and Stanza, as well as Stuart Hepburn – writer, actor, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Contemporary Screen Acting at University Of The West Of Scotland, Anstruther Improvements Association and Yap Audio Production.

For more information visit the website - or follow the group on Twitter - and Facebook -