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Mary Smith - Author, Poet and Journalist

Biography

I was born on Islay. My family moved to the mainland when I was seven and I grew up in Castle Douglas in south west Scotland.

I worked for ten years with Oxfam in Lancashire, fundraising and campaigning on development issues. The next ten years were spent first in Pakistan, then Afghanistan, where I worked for a small health organisation primarily concerned with leprosy and mother and childcare. My experiences living in those countries inform much of my writing.

I returned to Castle Douglas when my son was five years old so he could have somewhere to put down his own roots.

I have always written. As a child I wrote adventure stories in my own books made from wallpaper off cuts and as a teenager I wrote very bad love poetry. For most of my life I’ve kept a journal. While still working in Afghanistan I began submitting features to various publications including The Herald and The Guardian Weekly.

When I settled back in Scotland I began to realise there might be a possibility to earn my living as a writer. As a freelance journalist I published articles in national and local newspapers and magazines covering a variety of topics from Afghanistan to local history to disability issues. At the same time I decided it was time to complete my education, having had possibly the longest ‘gap year’ ever and studied for a degree in Liberal Arts: Health and Social Studies at the newly opened University of Glasgow Crichton Campus.

On a creative writing module at Glasgow University Crichton Campus, Tom Pow, ignoring my protests, made me write poetry and I am so glad he did. Since then I have had poems published in a number of literary magazines, broadsheets and anthologies.

In 2006 I graduated with an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University.

The novel on which I was working during my course was published in 2009. No More Mulberries is a story of love, loss and divided loyalties, set in Afghanistan.

I work part time as a reporter/feature writer for Dumfries and Galloway Life, which allows me some free time to focus on other writing projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Smith