Steering group

Autumn Voices is working towards becoming a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and has recently conducted an open recruitment process among its members, friends and interested individuals to form a Steering Group. Our new volunteer members of the Steering Group have been engaged based on their skills and experience, and will meet quarterly to develop the overall strategic direction of the new charity. It will also monitor the organisation’s progress and results and act as a sounding board for the Autumn Voices paid staff team.

We are delighted to welcome the following members:

Bob Bennett

Bob was born in Hull during the Second World War in 1941. He went through a science- based grammar school education then on to Bradford University to study chemistry, following which, he worked in the chemical industry.

In 1979 Bob coauthored and edited the first winter climbing guide to the Lake District and contributed articles to climbing magazines. He was involved in mountain rescue from 1967 for 10 years and was a founder member of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team. In 2018 Bob wrote a history of the team along with another younger member to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s existence.

This led him to look for other opportunities to write, culminating in the self-publication of a book entitled Wasdale Head and the Inn-A History in January 2020. The book has sold well, and he has now embarked on a new project to record the History of Mountain Rescue in Lakeland.

Bob currently lives in Lockerbie with his partner Gill, and to this day is an active participant in mountain walking, mountain biking, rock climbing and landscape photography.

Christine Hamilton

Christine Hamilton is a recently retired Glasgow-based freelance consultant in cultural policy who worked in the creative and cultural sector for 45 years. 

After graduating in Drama and English from University of Glasgow, she gained a Diploma in Arts Administration from City University. Her career began in theatre as House Manager at the Citizens’ Theatre, then as Administrator of 7:84 (Scotland) and TAG. She was Arts Officer for the Scottish Trades Union Congress then worked at the Scottish Arts Council as Director of Planning and Development and subsequently as Depute Director, Cultural and Leisure Services of Glasgow City Council. Christine joined the academic world for ten years during which she founded and ran the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow and then the Institute for Creative Enterprise at Coventry University where she supported creative graduates into business. 

Christine served for ten years on the board of Glasgow School of Art and until 2020 was chair of the Touring Network supporting performing arts in the Highlands and Islands. She is chair of the theatre company, Untitled Projects, and Company Secretary for Critics’ Awards for in Theatre in Scotland (CATS). She has undertaken a range of consultancy projects, principally in theatre and festivals, and published on areas of cultural policy including the place of women in creative roles in Scottish theatre. She is a volunteer tutor in English for Glasgow ESOL Forum. 

Kriss Nichol

Photo of Kriss Nicholl

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.

Larry Butler

Larry Butler was born in Illinois and grew up in Northern California. Before coming to Glasgow in 1981, he was the founder and warden of the Diorama Arts Cooperative, director of PlaySpace Trust and Matchbox Theatre, and co-director of the Drama Therapy Centre. He collaborated with Graham Hartill in setting up the Poetry Healing Project, then, inspired by Survivors’ Poetry, he developed Survivors’ Poetry Scotland and became one of their first paid workers. SPS eventually morphed into Lapidus International. For the last 40 years in Glasgow, he has worked as a movement and tai-chi teacher especially in hospitals, day centres and nursing homes. His many projects have included a feasibility study called Arts on Prescription, commissioned by the Greater Glasgow Health Board, Move on Up – stories of hope and recovery from addiction, commissioned by the Addiction Team at Greater Glasgow Health Board and Better Health for Men – men, emotions and relationships – a feasibility study throughout Scotland commissioned by the Health Education Board for Scotland. 

A self-employed writer and editor, Larry is managing editor for PlaySpace Publications, which published Autumn Voices. A trainer for Lapidus Scotland, Larry teaches courses for people to learn how to lead creative writing/reading groups within health and social care settings; he facilitates expressive writing/reading groups for Maggie’s Centres with people affected by cancer and a Writing for Wellbeing group in the Kibble Palace of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens (The Kibble Scribblers). He was also involved in MindRemind Remember, a collaborative project with sculptor and letter carver, Ian Newton, writing epitaphs and warnings for extinct and endangered plants and animals. In 2021, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk and took the name of Sukhema.

Liz Niven

Liz Niven is an award-winning Scottish poet. Her collections include: Stravaigin, Burning Whins, The Shard Box (all published by Luath Press, Edinburgh). Her public art collaborations include text in stone and wood, and she has participated in poetry Festivals in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Formerly a teacher and Cultural Coordinator, Liz has facilitated poetry sessions to the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Book Trust and the London Poetry Society, as well as to galleries and museums.

She has written a wide range of Scots education resources and is the author of Scots Dossier for European Bureau of Minority Languages. She has edited a wide range of literature including three years of New Writing Scotland (published by ASLS). Awards include the McCash Poetry Prize, the Saltire/TESS, and she is an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies and convener of Scottish PEN’s Writers-in-exile committee.

Writing residencies across Scottish schools and arts bodies includes Poet on a Plane, based in Inverness Airport and the focus of a Channel 4 documentary. Most of her working life has been focused on encouraging creative writing in Scots and in English.

Mark Daws

Mark graduated from Queen Mary College, London, with an MA in English and American Literature in 1984 and an earnest aspiration to be a writer. This did not materialise, primarily due to a pressing need to earn an income. After several false starts, he found himself working as a Compliance Officer within one of Mrs Thatcher’s newly launched financial services regulators, undertaking front line investigations into fraud and mis-selling within the City of London. This experience opened the door to his subsequent professional career. Over the years Mark has been a Director at PWC and KPMG, and a Managing Director at Accenture and Navigant. He has held senior roles on large international investigations into money laundering and rogue trading and advised senior management at a range of financial institutions on anti-money laundering compliance and technology.  

Worn out and with the advent of COVID, he took early retirement with a passionate desire to reconnect with his writing. He is married to Cas (who is providing excellent editorial input on the stories he has written to date) and has two children: Charlotte, 23, and Christopher, 21. In addition to writing, he enjoys sailing, mountaineering and scuba diving.

Mary Irvine

Mary is proud of being born in Yorkshire into a working-class family. Her Dad was a bobber on the fish dock, and her Mam a stay-at-home mam who had worked in service and the woollen mills. She got lots of support from home and a strong sense of values instilled. She passed the Eleven Plus and went to a prestigious all-girls’ school. She enjoyed the academia there but not the classism, and that’s probably one reason she went into working with/fighting for the disadvantaged. Told, at school, she was rubbish at writing stories, she set about collecting the ‘important’ bits of paper so revered by some. She no longer has those bits of paper.

Mary reached success in work and life generally but left it all behind and went to work in Greece for a year, first in Athens and then on Spetses. She returned to the UK sixteen years later and came to live near her son on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. She took a series of courses on American history at Glasgow University. Aged sixty-five, Mary added a one-year course in Creative Writing for beginners. At the end of the year, she was advised to apply for the M. Litt (CW). She chose not to go to the degree ceremony. It was the knowledge she wanted, not another bit of paper! Mary has had minor successes in writing but, most of all, she enjoys the process and, hopefully, improving the finished product. She finds ‘sharing’ in writing mutually beneficial.

Life has been good and continues to be so…

Miller Caldwell

Miller Caldwell was born in 1950 although was not registered as intended as John Miller H. Caldwell because John Caldwell (no relative) was hanged for the killing of two women at Barlinnie prison. 

Miller attended Kirriemuir Primary, Glasgow Academy and the University of London’s SOAS. He became a Regional Reporter to the Children’s Panels. He retired aged 53 on health grounds and is now the author of 31 published books.

His notable moments include meeting Usama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2006, bringing President J J Rawlings to tears in Accra, Ghana, and becoming the camp manager at Mundihar in the NWFP of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Miller returned to Ghana to show the president a picture of his Scottish father and where he was.

A direct descendant of the Bard, he is President of The Robert Burns Club of Dumfries (established in 1820) and Chairman of Dumfries Probus.

You can find Miller and his books at

Simon Berry

Simon Berry was born in the Midlands, educated in Yorkshire, and worked for many years in Glasgow as a journalist and writer. He is the former President of Scottish PEN and the book pages editor on The Scotsman. Has also lived in Sicily and Cyprus. Simon now lives in the Highlands, asking questions. He had his first collection of poems, A Mask for Grieving & Other Poems, published by FTTR Press in 2014.Has also written a biography of Victorian city poet Alexander Smith(Applauding Thunder, published in 2013). He is currently working on a pamphlet collection entitled Anger Man Age.

Sue Oxley

Sue Oxley is a writer, quilter, and retired teacher from London, but now lives in the northeast of England. She has had five different careers, but the one that fitted her most comfortably was as a funeral celebrant, officiating in over 150 funerals, including very different ceremonies, from Buddhist to Punk.  

Sue now writes things other than rituals and eulogies and hopes to be teaching quilting again as soon as church halls open up for business.