Spotlighter Mini Meet Up StAnza

L-R Me, Sandra Ireland, Stephen Watt
As you may remember, there were 12 new writers selected for "Crime in the Spotlight" slots at Bloody Scotland last September. We've kept in touch and managed a mini-meet-up on Thursday, to support Stephen Watt at StAnza (Scotland's International Poetry Festival, held in St Andrews).

Sandra Ireland (author of the fabulous book "Beneath the Skin") lives not all that far from me, so I collected her from the train station and we headed to St Andrews on a gloriously sunny day. She was going to another event before Stephen's so I dropped her off at the Town Hall and headed for The Byre Theatre to see if I could find Stephen. He was indeed there and we had a natter and a walk around St Andrews (managing to freak out The Byre Theatre in the process who thought they'd lost him!).

I left Stephen to make his way back to The Byre Theatre, met Sandra and we headed for the Studio Theatre at The Byre. Stephen's event was over lunchtime and there was a 'pie and a pint' included in the show - macaroni pies (a truly Scottish thing! Macaroni cheese in an open pie... see here for an article on them!) or scotch pies (same kind of thing but with meat instead of macaroni cheese) and a pint of Peroni or orange juice.

Stephen, in full flow
Macaroni pies and pints of orange juice sorted, we sat down. The venue is a lovely little theatre which seats about 100 and looked pretty full to me. Stephen's session was shared with another amazing poet, Katherine McMahon. Safe to say it was a fantastic event, with at least one of Stephen's poems bringing a tear to my eye (his poem "Umbrella Knighthood" about dementia, from his collection Optograms).

Sandra and I caught up with Stephen once he'd finished signing books and had a coffee together. It was wonderful to catch up with their news and hear more about what they'd been up to since last September when we met. As well as allowing us to steal 3 minutes as 'warm-up acts' to the big stars at Bloody Scotland, the "Crime in the Spotlight" initiative has been an opportunity for us all to make new friends. Long may we keep in touch!

If you want to buy a copy of Optograms (and I heartily recommend that you do!) it's available to buy for just £7.95 (+ £1 P&P). DM @StephenWattSpit on Twitter if you wish to purchase a copy.