Robin Lloyd-Jones: Project Manager
Robin lives in Helensburgh with his wife Sallie and their cat Orlando. He has lived in Scotland for most of his adult life and has three children and three grandchildren. After a childhood spent in India and the west country of England, he graduated from Cambridge University with an MA in Social Anthropology and was a teacher before becoming an Education Adviser in Strathclyde Region. He took early retirement in 1989 to focus on writing. His other main interests have been mountaineering, sea kayaking, photography and chess.
Robin at 86 can confidently claim to have ‘insider knowledge’ about later life! His two most recent books – Autumn Voices (PlaySpace Publications, 2018) and The New Frontier (Thunderpoint Publishing, 2019) – are both about people who lead active, creative lives in later life. Robin was a Tutor in Creative Writing at Glasgow University in the nineties and subsequently served in an executive capacity for the Society of Authors in Scotland (SOAiS) and Scottish PEN International. He is also an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, non-fiction and radio drama. His other publications include:
- The Sweet Especial Scene (Two Ravens Press, 2014)
- The Sunlit Summit (Sandstone Press, 2013)
- Argonauts of the Western Isles (updated edition, Whittles Publishing, 2008)
- Red Fox Running (Andersen Press, 2007)
- Fallen Pieces of the Moon (Whittles Publishing, 2006)
- Fallen Angels (Canongate, 1992)
Kriss Nichol: Social Secretary
Kriss Nichol is a retired teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from Northumbria University. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous small presses, magazines and anthologies, won prizes and been shortlisted in competitions. As a member of Scottish PEN, the Federation of Writers (Scotland), the Scottish Writing Centre and Dove Tales, (Poets for Peace) some of her work has appeared in their publications or on their website. She loves sharing her knowledge and insight with others and runs a writing group in her hometown.
Kriss has self-published three poetry pamphlets: The Language of Crows (2012), Between Lands (2013) and A Suggestion of Bones (2017). She has also published two novels: In Desolate Corners Shadows Crouch (2012) and Monsoons and Marigolds (2017). Her most recent publication, Ancient Anchors, marks an innovative departure for her. It is an extended sequence of poetry and prose in the style of Haibun (a prosimetric literary form originating in Japan which combines prose and Haiku), that charts the story of the relationship between the Earth and all her inhabitants from the Big Bang to modern day. Its release date is August 2020.
Clare O’Brien: Marketing and Competitions Administrator
Originally a Londoner, Clare graduated in English and American Studies from the University of East Anglia in 1979 and gained her PGCE in London two years later. She worked for two decades in teaching, journalism and arts administration before moving with her husband and two young sons to the Scottish Highlands.
As part of a crofting family living on the rugged north-west coast, she has since combined her interest in horticulture with freelance work in writing/editing, PR and social media management for clients around the world as well as helping to run the family tourism business. She has taught local creative writing courses and workshops and for many years she was part of a team promoting professional live music and theatre events in village halls via Creative Scotland-funded organisation West Coast Arts.
Clare’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction has appeared in print and online in various magazines, newspapers, literary journals, anthologies, podcasts and competition shortlists. (It’s also won a few!) She has just completed a themed poetry collection called Huginn & Muninn, named after Odin’s ravens, and having put it off for years, at the age of 63, she is finally writing a novel – Light Switch.
Susan Garnsworthy: Fundraising and Development Coordinator
Susan has enjoyed a varied working life and interests. She worked in the Netherlands for 7 years in publishing before moving to Scotland in 1990 and has subsequently worked in book businesses, local government, the voluntary sector in arts and culture and as a freelance arts and heritage fundraising consultant. She started Gaelforce in 1997, a cross art form festival across Dumfries & Galloway, which grew to be the largest community arts festival in Scotland. She was the creative producer for Burns Light in 2009, the Creative Mackintosh Festival 2012 – 2014 and the 2017 Borders Heritage Festival.
She has been a volunteer trustee for Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 1997 – 2004 and 2008-11 and Alchemy Film and Arts 2014 -2019 and is currently a trustee of the Saltire Trust and the Saltire National Council.
She loves cooking, eating and drinking wine. She gardens in a rather haphazard way, inspired by writers like Vita Sackville-West, Jamaica Kincaid and Mirabelle Osler and challenged by the climate in Scotland. She loves reading and travelling in Europe and hopes to be able to do this again before too long.
Ken Cockburn: Projects Coordinator
Ken Cockburn is a poet and translator based in Edinburgh. After several years at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, he has freelanced since 2004, working in schools, colleges, care and community settings, and collaborating with visual artists on book, exhibition and public art projects. Since 2019 he has worked as Creative Projects Manager with Lapidus Scotland.
His most recent collection is Floating the Woods (Luath, 2018). He also runs Edinburgh Poetry Tours – guided walks with readings of poems in the city’s Old Town. His new pamphlet, Edinburgh: poems and translations, appears from The Caseroom Press in summer 2021.
Ken will be overseeing Autumn Voices’ funded projects.
Gillian Hamnett: Content Editor & Consultant
Gillian makes up for what she lacks in relative age by bringing other experience to Autumn Voices! She has an MA and MSc in Scottish Literature and History from Edinburgh University and has worked with books, readers and writers for twenty years. She has predominantly been a bookseller and bookshop manager, but has also worked on events, projects, administration, marketing and development for a national reading charity, a tertiary training organisation and a poetry library.
Since completing editorial training with The Publishing Training Centre, Gillian now works with publishers doing proofreading and copyediting work. She runs a sole-trader business called Dark Sky Pages offering commercial and editorial services to the creative sector on a freelance basis. As well as working with Autumn Voices, she is the Bookstalls Manager for StAnza and founder of Stellar Words – a new annual Scottish Publishers’ Fair. She is also an ad hoc bookseller for The Bookshop in Wigtown, where she lives (the town, not the shop) with her husband and cat. She loves books.
Craig Hamnett: Website Developer & Technical Support
Craig is banned from entering any Autumn Voices competitions on account of being the youngest person in the Autumn Voices team, at just 34 and a half years old. Craig, a former child, is a full stack web developer, and after winning Time Person of the Year in 2006 (with some others), he has built websites for people across the world. Craig works part time on Autumn Voices and has redeveloped the website from the ground up – so if you notice any bugs or errors on the website, they’re probably features.
Coincidentally Craig has the same surname as Gillian, which seems statistically improbable were it not for the fact that they are married to one another. In his prime, Craig was a thrifty cycle tourist and biked across America just to get a cheaper flight to New Zealand. He has subsequently been rehomed and enjoys growing older with Gillian in Wigtown.
Craig’s top tip for anything tech related is to turn it off and on again – 90% of the time it works 100% of the time. Craig is also allergic to most cats.
Orlando: The Autumn Voices Cat
Actually, I’m boss of the whole show. Being democatically minded, I let the others think they’re running things. I take particular interest in our Mewsletter and in generally catering for the litter-ary purrsuits of our members.
Marmalade is how I like to describe myself, rather than ginger. Other descriptions that apply to me are handsome, brave, clever, modest.
I like sitting on the mat next to the log-burning stove and watching TV, especially in the travel category. Programmes about places like Kathmandu, Catalonia, or Los Gatos in California leave me feline good.
On the creative side, I’m an expert in the ancient Japanese art of Tangcho (unraveling balls of wool and making a beautiful tangled chaos); and also Chinese black and white brush work. There’s nothing more intoxicatingly fulfilling than dabbing your paws in soot and walking across clean white sheets.