Quick & Quirky Questions with Robert Duncan

After publishing some poetry and some horrible horror stories, and a spell writing for Theatre About Glasgow with the Citizens’ Theatre, Robert Duncan spent over thirty years as a TV producer. In 2018 he won the Wigtown Scots Poetry Competition and was Highly Commended in the main (English) Competition. In 2019 he was runner-up in the Wigtown Scots Poetry Competition, and he won it again in 2020 and 2021. 

In 2020 he was Jynt Rinner-up in the Poesie Section o Sangschaw 2020 and had several ither poems highly commendit. In 2021 his translation o Sappho’s ‘Ode tae Aphrodite’ was highly commendit by Sangschaw. These and ithers hae been published in Lallans,The Journal o Scots Airts an Letters. He is workin tae reclaim his Scots language ruits. 

He’s had ither poems publisht in Poetry Wales, Magma and Searchlight. In 2020 he was yin o six winners o the Federation of Writers (Scotland) 20 Words for 2020 competition.


Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:

  1. I was born in Glesca and brocht up in Lumphinnans, Fife.
  2. My wife is Deif and we hae twa bairns, yin Deif and yin hearin.
  3. I’ve spent mair than 30 year producin TV programmes in British Sign Language (BSL) Nae regrets, but …
  4. Gin it had been possible tae produce TV programmes in Scots, I would hae dune that.

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

I wouldnae pit a number on it. 

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

Robert Paterson (1716-1801) – Walter Scott’s ‘Old Mortality’. No strictly an active character, but the putative source o the stories in the novel o the same name. In the 18th Century, he traivelled Lawland Scotland kervin inscriptions on the unmarkit graves o Covenanters. A man efter my ain hert, in my favourite Scott novel.

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?

It would hae tae be my laptap. Sae mony memories and picturs saved on it.

What’s your favourite creative pastime?

Ettlin tae retrieve and write Scots.

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

Fae the age o 12 tae about 16, I attendit meetins o Jehovah’s Witnesses, selt their buiks and magazines roun the doors, wi accompanyin presentations, and gied talks on Biblical subjects at their meetins. This was a uisefu pairt o my education.

Our monthly flash theme for February is Love Languages

Our flash competition this month honours our ‘love languages’ theme. If you are aged 60 and over, and want to write a short piece about your own love of language, we’d love to hear from you! This could be a poem, flash fiction or flash memoir about any language at all (that might even include computer languages!). We’re especially keen to hear from you if you are an older person new to the UK, and have learned English or one of the UK’s other spoken languages for the first time. We’re also keen to hear from people who have discovered a love for learning languages for the first time as a person over 60.


Entries will be accepted until midnight on February 28th, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive a copy of Chuckies Fir The Cairn. This is a collection of poems in Scots and Gaelic, edited by Rab Wilson and kindly donated as a prize by Luath Press.

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