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.
Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:
- I come from the Northeast of England and was born in Durham
- I lived and worked in the Netherlands for 8 years in the 1980s and speak reasonably good Dutch
- I always wanted to live in Scotland and in 1990 my dream came true ☺
- Despite never intending to marry or have children, I have been married for 30 years and have 3 children ☺
What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?
Now, at 65 years old, free of many responsibilities. I also liked being 50 and enjoyed being 20 too. There were times in between which were very tough.
Who is your favourite fictional character or famous person over 60?
Sadly, many of them are dead. (I’m not sure if this is allowed.) I’ve loved the music and songs of Leonard Cohen since I was 17 and first heard them on the album Songs of Love and Hate.
For many years I was devoted to the writings of Freya Stark (also now dead), a traveller in Asia. My daughter Freya is named after her.
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?
A painting titled ‘Killingworth Path’ by my husband Jack.
What’s your favourite creative pastime?
Cooking – probably because I enjoy eating so much!
I once read (in an Elizabeth David book I think) that if you can read and are greedy, you can learn to cook.
Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.
I speak reasonably good Dutch.