Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy looking around the various sections to find out more about me and my books and other writing work. I love hearing from readers so please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, would like me to visit your book group or run a creative writing workshop.
I write non-fiction – both full length and features for a variety of publications – fiction and poetry.
I enjoy working in collaboration with artists from other art forms and have worked on projects with print maker and visual artist Silvana McLean and sculptor Matt Baker. I have also enjoyed working on a number of community-based oral history projects and exhibitions for Dumfries and Galloway Women's Forum, Community Learning and Development, Poverty Alliance and the National Theatre of Scotland's inaugural 'Home' project.
My novel No More Mulberries, set in Afghanistan, was published in 2009 and is available in both paperback and eBook formats.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women (Indigo Dreams Publishing) is a non-fiction account of my time in Afghanistan and provides a unique insight into the lives of Afghan women before and immediately after Taliban's rise to power.
My poems have been published in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies and my first full length poetry collection, Thousands Pass Here Every Day was published in 2012 by Indigo Dreams Publishing.
There are lots of exciting things going in the diary already this year.
Still time to vote for Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni in the People’s Prize book award!
On February 21 I’ll be in Glasgow for an event called Hidden East, the joint launch of my latest book, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women, along with Bashabi Fraser whose latest publication Ragas and Reels, which offers an insight into the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures in Scotland today. Organised by conFAB, there’s a great line-up of other writers who have written a specially commissioned group poem for the evening.
Rupinder Dulay has invited me back to the Nail Factory, her gallery in Dalbeattie, south west Scotland where I did a couple of poetry readings last year. This time it’s for an Afghan evening. I’ll be reading from Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni and bringing along some artifacts and images from Afghanistan. The event is on Saturday, March 9.
I am delighted to be tutoring a residential creative writing workshop with Margaret Elphinstone, one of Scotland’s leading writers. This will be held from March 25 to March 29 at Durham Hill, Kirkpatrick Durham in southwest Scotland. The stunning setting is guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing: glorious landscape, great accommodation – and even llamas in the field. The course is suitable for writers at all levels.
Red Rose-White Rose has been booked for further performances. We will be at Paxton Hall in the Scottish Borders on May 5 and Wigtown Book Town Spring Book Festival on May 6.
I’ll also be appearing at The Old Bank bookshop in Wigtown on May 4th with Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni.
Happy New Year!
I’m very excited about my book Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women being nominated in The People’s Book Prize in the non-fiction category. Rather than a panel of judges, the winner is chosen by public vote. You can vote here on The People’s Prize website where you can also download a short extract from the book. I hope you will take a look and vote for Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni. Voting is open until February 28. My book is up against some tough competition so every vote counts and it would be fantastic if a book from Indigo Dreams Publishing, which is a small independent publisher, won a prize.
In a total departure from the kind of thing with which I usually become involved I have been performing in Red Rose-White Rose, a wonderful combination of scripted drama and music. The script is by writer and musician Vivien Jones who, along with Richard Jones play glorious 16th music on traditional instruments. Set shortly before the Battle of Flodden, Red Rose-White Rose tells the story of two women in the life of James IV – his queen and his mistress. We’ve been playing to sell-out audiences in Dumfries & Galloway. You can read more here.
Dumfries & Galloway Standard September 28th, 2012
Woman of words for someone who says she "never wanted to write poetry", Castle Douglas author Mary Smith has been forced to eat her words.
Since being compelled to write poetry in order to complete her Creative Writing Degree at Glasgow University in Dumfries, Mary fell in love with verse and has never looked back. She said: "When I started the course, I was a journalist and a prose writer and wanted to develop my writing along those lines ... full article
I am delighted to announce my first full length poetry collection, Thousands Pass Here Every Day, has been published this month (September 2012) by Indigo Dreams.
I am very honoured three wonderful poets provided some lovely comments for the back of the book after reading the collection.
Tom Pow: “Mary Smith's poems are trim and supple. They have to be because their missions cover many landscapes - from the wilds of South West Scotland to the dramatic - and peopled - landscapes of Afghanistan. Her poetry is immediate and vivid...poetry that remembers cruelty and humiliation but which remains measured and humane.”
Andrew Forster: “The poems in Mary Smith's substantial first collection are wide-ranging in subject matter: from the landscape of her home region of Dumfries & Galloway to memories of childhood and youth, from her time living amidst conflict in Afghanistan to her experience of family loss. Driven by warmth and compassion, the poems balance what we may have lost to the march of history, with what it is we have managed to retain.”
Sheila Templeton: “From her marvellous, sensual descriptions of the earth's movement millions of years ago, forming the topography of her native Dumfries and Galloway – to her tender, clear-eyed observation of present day Afghanistan, Mary Smith brings a questioning, yet an acceptance of the human condition which runs right through this fine collection.”
My diary is now being filled for the next few months with a series of launch events and readings taking place throughout south west Scotland from Wigtown to Sanquhar. I am also taking part in a shared launch in Glasgow in November at the Scottish Writers’ Centre.
I’m happy to do readings to book groups/writing groups so do get in touch if you would like to book a visit.
Thousands Pass Here Every Day can be purchased directly from the publisher’s online bookshop or from Amazon as well as bookshops. If it is not in stock ask them to order it!
Look out for more news coming soon about the publication of a narrative non-fiction title.