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The poetry community behind The Scribbler’s Union Vol. 1

A writing and support group led by author Kevin Gilday has released their first poetry anthology.

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The Scribbler’s Union has come together to release their first poetry anthology.

The group was founded by Scottish writer Kevin P. Gilday, who created the group to continue writing and performing with others throughout lockdown. He did not expect their writing sessions to be such a resounding success.

“These writing sessions have become a lifeline for everyone in the group – providing company, routine and a place to nurture their creative spirit”, wrote Natalie Clark, the co-editor of The Scribbler’s Union Vol. 1. “Most who joined the group were new to writing and performing.

“[Kevin] has nurtured their talents over the course of nearly 40 sessions. Most of the members of this group had never dreamed of doing something like this. Now their work is in print.”

Brig interviewed Kevin and Natalie on their personal experiences working with likeminded individuals within the intriguing Scribbler’s Union.


Kevin, you run The Scribbler’s Union. Has this been beneficial to you on a personal level?

Kevin: “It was a big deal just having a project at the start of lockdown. All my gigs were cancelled, I had an unbelievable amount of shows lined up, full tours will my band, Edinburgh fringe runs. They all disappeared overnight which was hard to deal with. I was like, ok, this has happened, now what do we do?

“There are lots of isolated people out there. What is it I can do to help?”

~Kevin Gilday

Image of Kevin Gilday, founder of The Scribbler’s Union

“I was really aware that there were a lot of people in a similar situation, and realised there are lots of isolated people out there. What is it I can do to help?

“At the same time, it’s not completely selfless. I get to connect with people as well. I get to feel like I’m useful. I get to feel like I’m contributing to the world. I get to feel like I’m not just sitting about during lockdown writing in my wee notebook and feeling disconnected from the rest of the world”.

Natalie, did you write much poetry before joining The Scribbler’s Union?

Natalie: “I had written poetry here and there over the years – I’ve got quite a lot in my teenage diaries – but I’ve never put in a real concerted effort to do it. Me and my friend (who is also part of The Scribbler’s Union) had started sharing poetry with each other before we joined the group.

“It was a great reminder for me of what poetry could be”.

~Natalie Clark

Image of Natalie Clark, co-editor of The Scribbler’s Union Vol. 1

“This group is really structured and coherent. My first poem was… passable. When I came to performance I was so nervous, but over time Kevin has really built us up, giving us the toolkit to use our voice and to experiment with lots of different styles.

“It was a great reminder for me of what poetry could be and contain, and how we can experiment with it”.

Has vocalising your poetry and sharing it with other members been beneficial?

Natalie: “Definitely. I think sharing is a big thing because poetry is quite personal, and I think a lot of us did tap into some personal issues. But we have this lovely group ethos, and it feels good to share.

“Hearing other people’s poetry is quite an intimate thing. It’s lovely. It increases my empathy.

“Because you have created something, asking someone to critique it is a big thing to do”.

How many members does The Scribbler’s Union currently have?

Kevin: “We have 30 members across two groups, all learning on a weekly basis.

“It is an absolute cross-section of society in every way, in terms of age, social class, background and experience. I couldn’t have foreseen or manufactured that. It happened entirely organically.

“Everyone has really come together, not only as performers but as a social hub – a little poetry family, actually. They’re always looking out for each other. My phone is going off every two seconds because I’m part of WhatsApp chats that we’re all in. They’re all sharing and helping each other”.

Do you see The Scribbler’s Union continuing after lockdown?

Kevin: “Yeah, I would like it to continue in some form or another. There are a lot of directions it could grow. And it would be lovely, lovely, after all this is over, to have some live in-person performances and get our members up in front of an audience. That’s a whole other part of my career and a skillset I can teach: how to use a microphone, deal with an audience, and all that great stuff that comes with performing live”.

“Everyone has really come together, not only as performers but as a social hub – a little poetry family, actually”.

~Kevin Gilday

Image of Kevin Gilday, founder of The Scribbler’s Union

What were your motivations for publishing members’ work?

Kevin: “It was just a case of, can we do it? Yes. Should we do it? YES! It wasn’t over-contemplated. None of this project had been planned. It all just fell into place. Natalie told me she was studying publishing at the University of Stirling and asked, “should we do a book?” and I was like, “yeah, let’s do a book!” Suddenly, we have a book!

“It felt like a really natural way to commemorate and capture the work we’d been doing, but also to just share it with people. We’re doing these great classes but they’re in a little Zoom call. Nobody can see the magic that’s happening. Nobody can see the beautiful words being shared. We wanted to capture the spirit of what’s going on in these Zoom chats and export it out into the world”.

Can we look forward to a volume two?

Kevin: “I think we will at some point but we need to get over the first volume first! It was definitely left open for a reason. There might be a future in making some more of these.

“It’s only once you practice writing and see your words on the page that you realise how capable you are”. 

~Natalie Clark

Image of Natalie Clark, co-editor of The Scribbler’s Union Vol. 1

Top tip for anyone interested in writing some poetry?

Kevin: “Trust yourself. Trust your own voice. Follow your instinct. Don’t try and write the way and one else does. People see through it right away. It’s boring. It’s been done. It’s a real turn-off for your audience.

“Be authentic. Be yourself and find your own voice, because that’s the thing that’s going to make you special, and that’s the thing that’s going to make you stand out”.

Natalie: “The only difference between someone who’s a writer and someone who’s not is that a writer writes. So just write it. Don’t keep thinking about it. Just write it down. Even if it’s just notes in a notebook or a small addition to a Google Doc, start just by getting it out.

“I didn’t realise how much I could write until I actually sat down and wrote.  Kept putting it off. It’s only once you practice writing and see your words on the page that you realise how capable you are”.


You can order The Scribbler’s Union Vol. 1 on Amazon UK.

Featured image credit: Emma Halliday/Brig Newspaper

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