Readers in Residence

Readers in Residence is part of Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures programme: promoting, connecting and developing Scotland’s creative practitioners.

‘Creative Futures’ is an ambitious programme of residencies and related activities designed to promote the professional development, vision, connectivity and ambitions of Scotland’s creative practitioners and organisations. It is the largest co-ordinated residency programme in Europe, and includes residencies that are single discipline, interdisciplinary, cross sectoral and international.

The Readers in Residence will divide their time equally between working on behalf of the library services and the communities they serve, in order to encourage reading and enhance the experience of library service users.

The five residents are Ian Stephen, Jen Hadfield, Margot Henderson, Maureen Sangster and Zoe Strachan. Each one will take up a residency with a library service in Scotland.

Ian Stephen will work with Western Isles Library service based in Stornoway; Jen Hadfield will be resident with Shetland Library; Margot Henderson will work with Highland Council Library Service; Maureen Sangster will be Reader in Resident at a mental health facility library; and Zoe Strachan will work with East Ayrshire Libraries.

For more information contact:

Donald Anderson, Literature Development Officer, Shetland Arts Development Agency

01595 743 740

The Readers in Residence are:

Jen Hadfield has published two collections of poetry with Bloodaxe Books. Her second, Nigh-No-Place, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2007 and won the T.S.Eliot Prize for poetry in 2008. She lives in Shetland, working as a writer and writing tutor and sometimes artist. She has recently completed the first draft of a fiction, Tied Island, which is set in Depression-Era Canada.

Audio samples of Jen reading her work are available at She also blogs intermittently at

Ian Stephen was born in Stornoway and still lives there. He studied Education, Drama and Literature at Aberdeen University graduating with a B Ed (hons) with distinction.

Ian worked for the Coastguard Service for many years but has been a full time writer and artist since winning the first Robert Louis Stevenson Award in 1995. His project of navigating through the settings of traditional maritime stories was funded by a Creative Scotland Award and this has remained a key element in his work. He travels widely to tell stories.

Work in drama includes the play Seven Hunters – a touring production, directed by Gerry Mulgrew for Communicado, The Highland Festival and Tosg. His first collection of poems Malin, Hebrides, Minches was published in Aarhus Denmark, in 1983 and his new and selected poems Adrift were published in the Czech Republic in 2007. Poems and short-stories were gathered in the pocketbooks/Polygon series in Green Waters (with Graham Rich and Ian Hamilton Finlay) and Mackerel and Creamola (with Donald Urquhart).

Margot Henderson is a Scots -Irish Poet, Storyteller and Community Artist. Much of her work is site specific, celebrating our connection to the natural environment. She was Artist Educator for the Tate Galleries for many years and was Storyteller in Residence for Coral Arts, a site-specific participatory arts theatre company.

Since returning to Scotland in 2002 she has been storytelling Fellow for Aberdeen and Writer in Residence for The Cromarty Arts Trust. She leads creative writing workshops for LAPIDUS Words for Wellbeing and currently teaches expressive writing at Maggies Highlands. She practices Mindfulness meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

The central themes of her work as a Community Artist, developed over the last 15 years, are: encouraging creative self expression, exploring roots and heritage, deepening connection to place, developing community and generating a sense of belonging. Much of her work is environmental, site specific, participatory and intergenerational, using story, poetry and the performing arts to bring older and younger people together in ways that are mutually satisfying, stimulating and beneficial, where elders are valued as an essential community resource whose life experience is invaluable to young people to help develop a sense of and belonging in a rapidly changing world and young people provide a sense of continuity and regeneration.”

Margot Henderson is a nationally acclaimed poet, storyteller and community artist. Her uniqueness lies in her ability to draw on her range of skills in poetry, storytelling, movement and voice to work with people of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds to create and inspire. Her work takes place in diverse settings ranging from schools, hospitals, community centres, prisons and homeless shelters to museums, theatres, galleries and international conferences.

Maureen Sangster is a writer and poet in Scots and English. She was shortlisted in the Second Annual James Kirkup Memorial Poetry competition 2011 and won The Callum MacDonald Memorial Award for pamphlet poetry publishing in 2007. Her poetry collections are Menopausal Bedtime Rhymes, The Unseen Hospital, and Out of the Urn. Collaborative work can be seen incorporated in The Beadle’s Stone, a poetry stone at Auchtertool Kirk near Kirkcaldy and in filmpoems Echoes of Voices and Timeline.

She’s communicated her passion for reading and the written/printed word as a writer, workshop facilitator and tutor in schools, care homes, community centres, art galleries and hospitals. Via Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature programme she has delivered creative writing sessions in a mental health facility where she will now take up her Reader in Residence post.

She lives in Fife. She’s a member of Edinburgh based Pomegranate Women’s Writing Group. Other interests are singing and art. She exhibited in Scrapbox Challenge St Andrews 2010.

Zoë Strachan is an award-winning novelist who also writes plays, libretti, short stories and essays. She was born in Kilmarnock in 1975 and is now a Patron of the Imprint Festival in East Ayrshire. In 2003 The Independent on Sunday listed her in their top twenty novelists under 30, and the Scottish Review of Books selected her as one of their new generation of five young Scottish authors in 2011. She has been awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship, the Hermann Kesten Stipendium and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. Her latest novel is Ever Fallen in Love, which has just been longlisted for the Green Carnation Prize, and in autumn 2011 she was British Council Writer in Residence on the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

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