Quick & Quirky Questions with Donald Adamson

Donald won our flash competition for September on the subject of Dementia and Memory. He’s also kindly taken the time to answer our infamous Quick & Quirky Questions so you can get to know this awesome Autumn Voice a little better.

Donald Adamson is from Dumfries. He was educated at Dumfries Academy and Edinburgh University. He worked as a teacher of English in France, Finland, Iran and Kuwait, then spent several years working for Longman Publishing. In 1996 he returned to Finland to work as a lecturer in Finnish universities. He currently lives in Tampere, Finland, where he still occupies himself as a poet, editor and translator. He is married to Riika, and has two grandchildren, Tess and Magnus.

Donald has translated Finnish poems for How to address the fog: Finnish poems 1978–2002 (Carcanet/Scottish Poetry Library, 2005), and A Landscape Blossoms Within Me, translations of the Finnish poet Eeva Kilpi (Arc Publications, 2014). His collection All Coming Back was published by Roncadora Publications (2019) and a collection in Scots, Bield, was published by Tapsalteerie in 2021. His awards include first prize in the Herald Millennium Competition (Adjudicator Edwin Morgan), the 2019 Scottish Federation of Writers Competition, and the Sangschaw 2022 Scots Translation Competition.Donald Adamson’s childhood home looked towards Criffel, which rises almost directly from the Solway coast. A poem arising from that background was recently published in The Earth Is Our Home (ed. Gerry Loose, PlaySpace Publications, 2022).

Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:

  1. I’m Scottish
  2. I have a Scots accent that I try to keep in my poems
  3. I have Finnish citizenship as well as UK citizenship (post-Brexit)
  4. I’m married to a very special woman

What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?

I’ll take two ages: 2014, aged 70, when my granddaughter was born and I found I could bond with her, and my present age – 79 – when I’ve maybe acquired a wee bit of wisdom, if that’s not presumptuous.

Who is your favourite fictional character or famous person over 60?

I can’t think of any fictional character or any truly famous living person I admire wholeheartedly. The people I admire most play their part on a smaller stage. I admire plenty of folk from the past – composers, writers, scientists …

You are alone in your house (no pets). You have three minutes to get out before the house collapses and burns to the ground. What one possession would you grab and take with you?

Has to be my computer, with all my creative work and drafts.

What’s your favourite creative pastime?

Definitely writing – poetry and translation.

Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.

At least to me it’s a surprise to have written the piece for which I received the Autumn Voices flash prize. It’s actually the first prose fiction I’ve written since primary school – opening up new paths, perhaps?

Annual Poetry Competition

Theme: ‘The Environment’
Deadline: 31st October 2022 – Entries now closed

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