Recent and Upcoming Events

Speaking live on BBC Radio Scotland to Fiona Stalker about Mary Queen of Scots and my historical novel FOR MY SINS.

I’m currently delivering a series of 10 creative writing workshops to Braidhurst High School as part of their Drive to Literacy. I work them hard, but they are enjoying themselves, honestly. Here they are writing their first ever prose poem, and unearthing gleaming results. They’re a quiet bunch, but as you can see, they are allowed to stand up sometimes.

I’m also working as a Creative Writing Mentor as part of the Scottish Book Trust’s What’s Your Story programme, mentoring two exceptionally gifted young people, during which I’ve had to learn sign language. Our surroundings at Moniack Mhor were very conducive to creative writing. We had the cottage to ourselves, complete with roaring stove and the entire collection of the Scottish Poetry Library on the shelves.

For World Book Week, I’m in Sandaig Primary for two Art of the Ghost Story workshops on 6th March, and on 7th March (World Book Day itself,) I’ll be appearing in the Mitchell Library, the Burns Room at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm as part of the Aye Write/Wee Write’s schools programme. Last week I was in Wishaw Library for two sessions with local school children, who prepared for the visit by reading Chill, designing covers and drawing pics of what they thought I should look like.

Then on Tuesday 12th March I’ll be in the auditorium at the wonderful YayYA Festival, which draws in schools from all over Glasgow and beyond, curated by… who else? Grand Master of Design, Kirkland Ciccone.


Breadalbane Academy, Macbeth and Weird Sisters

Had a fabulous day yesterday visiting Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy. The pupils were delightful, and they were very eager to buy books – unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of the pupils themselves, just an empty auditorium before the event itself… so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The early morning drive to Aberfeldy was stunning, the sun touching the hills through the mist. There were pockets and hollows of mist exactly like Macbeth country. I kept expecting to see the Weird Sisters. The only weird thing was my PowerPoint though… Saw a loch with reeds which had a perfect mirror-like reflection. Crossed over a moor, then dipped down  into the valley which was full of mist, exactly like a bowl of cream with mountains showing through the far side. Honestly, it was breathtaking…

Treated myself to lunch in The Watermill afterwards, bought myself two books – THE WOLF WILDER by Katherine Rundell and WOLF WINTER by Cecilia Ekback – then drove to Kenmore and walked around the loch where the crannog sits out on the water. Used this for inspiration later with my creative writing pupils, then I dashed out to Drama in the evening (we’re doing Treasure Island… don’t ask!!!!!) then finally washed up by the fire, where it’s best.


Newcastle is Nice!!!!

Yes it is. I had a fantastic day out yesterday with fellow author and obsessive drinker of tea, Kirkland Ciccone. Here we are on the train feeling very excited about our booked seats down to Newcastle from Edinburgh. Literally one second later we were escorted off the train. Not literally… exaggeration. Our seats were double-booked so we politely conceded to a group of elderly ladies, but not before Kirkland accidentally upset one of the strident-looking members of the group by calling them ‘pensioners.’ She didn’t like the word, but we all laughed it off in good cheer, while helpful members of the public showed us where we had gone wrong with our tickets. on-our-way

Then we had to walk through the drunk carriage (I ask you, it was 9.30 am!!!!) Then we found seats where we could cause less trouble.  Arrived in Newcastle and was amazed at how beautiful it is. The buildings showing its mercantile and industrial heritage, the buzz, the sunshine. My father’s forebears were shipbuilders on the Tyne in Newcastle, came over from Ireland, and one of them – great grandfather Chris Gollaglee died saving another man’s life. His younger friend slipped and fell, so he reached out and saved him, but lost his own life. It took him six weeks to die in hospital and he was in all the papers in Newcastle, and I still have the letter his descendant wrote to my dad saying “No greater love hath man than to lay down his life for his friend.”

Kirkland was very excited to be down in England, and I felt quite at home amongst my own again, after 25 years of living north of the border amongst all ye Scots and Pictish people… aye…

Here we are at the UKYACX in Newcastle. The Two Ronnies.cskeubtxyaaoqn2

Had a fabulous time listening to lots of authors, eating cake. This was our panel. I really enjoyed being on stage again, I think I mentioned Wuthering Heights a few times (and Kate Bush), how Chill was chosen for First Minister’s Reading Challenge, (thank you Nicola), and how I won the Royal Mail Award (before it was privatized). They laughed, they listened, they looked keen, while I was mean and lean (or not so lean, after eating 5 of their cakes). I had a sugar rush afterwards. Kirkland upstaged us all with his cat-walk, where he took the audience by storm and showed them what a real fake fur looks like. He’s a born performer…


Out into the sunshine, and I saw fellow author Lindsey Barraclough , author of Long Lankin, sitting outside reading my book – so had to beg a photo. Love it when fellow authors soak up books – especially when they’re your own… but seriously, we’re not just there to promote our own but to learn from others, so I now have a much longer reading list.


Then it was home again on the train – booked seats this time – BUT… in the drunk carriage again with some football supporters who regaled us with loud and incomprehensible chants while I tried to nod off, and thought wistfully of the pensioners on the morning train. Kirkland and I wondered what it would be like if authors chanted when they’re on a day out.

I love Newcastle, and I’m going back again some day……..


UKYACX 2016 in Newcastle

I’m delighted to be heading down to Newcastle this morning to be taking part in this. For those of you who don’t know – it stands for UK Young Adult and Children’s Extravaganza and is taking place in the City Library.

A whole day of events is planned, and it’s an exciting opportunity for readers to meet with authors, there will be talks and panel discussions, and all sorts of other stuff…. I have yet to find out myself, but I’ve got to dash now for the train….




Interview with Alex Nye #UKYACX

Luna's Little Library

alexnyeAlex Nye is an award-winning children’s author. She grew up in Norfolk by the sea, but has lived in Scotland since 1995 where she finds much of her inspiration in Scottish history. At the age of 16 she won the W H Smith Young Writers’ Award out of 33,000 entrants, and has been writing ever since. Her first novel, CHILL, won the Royal Mail Award.

She divides her time between walking the dog, swimming, scribbling in notebooks in strange places, staring at people without meaning to, and tapping away on her laptop. She is also a Creative Writing Mentor with the Scottish Book Trust, and delivers candlelit workshops featuring live ghost stories to thrill her young readers.  She studied at King’s College, London more years ago than she cares to remember.

Alex Nye’s Author Page on Facebook
@AlexNyeWriter on Twitter


Interview with Alex Nye

Your books fuse Scottish…

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It was great to be invited to the Teen Titles Party in Edinburgh’s beautiful reference library on George IV Bridge. This is always my favourite author event of the year – the snacks are good, and the company is so relaxed. Authors, pupils, librarians and teachers all mingle over the canapes (yes, canapes), and I try to sip politely from a tall flute of presseco while balancing pens and cardigans (because it’s always hot). The young people are always so enthusiastic and friendly.

However, my phone died so I have no current pics of that event – you’ll just have to imagine how wonderful it was.

I then made a quick dash with Gill Arbuthnott across Edinburgh to the Kelpies Award Ceremony in Charlotte Square, which did involve annoying one Edinburgh bus driver – whom Gill apologized to several times, as if she was used to it. Charlotte Square was all lit up with lanterns in the star-filled darkness (again no photos, so make do with wordy description). However, I have got photos of my feature interview in the Teen Titles magazine.


FOR MY SINS: A Summer Summary

So, what have I been doing all summer, other than the usual? Well, I’ve put my head down in my new writing room, and have nervously sent off the final edits for my historical adult novel about Mary Queen of Scots called FOR MY SINS.

There’s a bit of a story behind this title. It was one of the first novels I ever completed back when I lived in Edinburgh when I was about 24 years of ago – so… about 5 years ago now!!!! I lived in a little bedsit and wrote like fury, visiting all the places covered in the book, and the title I gave it back then in 1990 was FOR MY SINS, same as now. When Fledgling expressed an interest in it last year, I rewrote and revisited a project that I’d always had a soft spot for – despite the fact I had hidden it in a secret drawer for all those years, with the dust and the cobwebs. When I moved house, the typed manuscript moved with me, and so did the ideas.

My premise is that Mary is sitting in a prison cell at the end of her life, stitching her tapestries, while being haunted by the ghosts of her past. 

My life is a web on which sorrow and pain stitches itself

she says… among other things, like 

I was wrapped in shadow and there were cold, stone flags beneath my feet. I could smell the solid oak, the dust on the air. 

What else? I’m nervous about it, hoping the finished version won’t disappoint, and I will be inviting all and sundry to a book launch at some point in the future.

The book starts with this.

Royal brother, having by God’s will, for my sins I think, thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered much for almost twenty years, I have finally been condemned to death by her and her Estates…

Today, after dining I was advised of my sentence: I am to be executed like a common criminal at eight in the morning… The Catholic faith and the assertion of  my God-given right to the English throne are the two issues on which I am condemned…”

From the last letter of Mary Queen of Scots,

Fotheringhay Castle,

8 February 1587

In other news, I’ve also been busy writing another children’s novel. (Top secret – can’t discuss the Muse).

And I’m delighted to have been asked to be one of the authors at the UKYA and Children’s Extravaganza in Newcastle on 17th September. We’re going South of the Border – that was a song that my grandmother (who was from near Newcastle) sang while she was painting walls in her house, apparently… back in the 1940s.