A writer, artist and storyteller from Lewis, Ian worked for 15 years in the coastguard service, based in Stornoway. Since 1995 he has worked full-time in the arts, after winning the inaugural Robert Louis Stevenson award. The practice of navigating through the geography of stories has been a key element of his work across the arts since a Creative Scotland Award in 2002. Ian was the first artist in residence at StAnza, Scotland’s annual poetry festival, creating a verse-blog from a winter voyage to Orkney in the week preceding the festival. Since then the poem as a track-record of your way through water or overland has also been a key element of his work.
His poetry and short fiction have been published in numerous UK journals, and in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA. His St Kilda lyrics were published in Berlin and a parallel text new and selected poems, in the Czech Republic. In 2016, Saraband published Maritime his selection from 35 years of making poetry from observing seaways and shorelines.
After the success of his first novel, the much-lauded A Book of Death & Fish, this return to poetry evokes the dramatic waterscapes, rocky shores and wind-blasted textures of his native Hebrides.
‘Absorbing and riveting… dense, compelling and wildly idiosyncratic… splits the form open like a fresh catch, glistening and raw and singing with the sea’ – Kirsty Gunn, Guardian