Alan Jamieson

Senior Lecturer


Alan was born in Shetland in 1958, where he grew up. After publishing two novels and a collection of poems while in his twenties, he attended the University of Edinburgh as a mature student. Subsequently he held the William Soutar Fellowship in Perth, was co-editor of Edinburgh Review from 1992 till 1998 and writer-in-residence at the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde from 1998 until 2001. Since 1993 he has pioneered the teaching of creative writing at the University of Edinburgh, initially through the Office of Lifelong Learning, from 1998 at undergraduate level and, since 2002, he has convened the post-graduate Masters in Creative Writing. His third novel A Day at the Office (1991) was placed among The List's '100 Best Scottish Books' in 2006, while his poetry in Shetlandic Scots, as published in Nort Atlantik Drift (1999/2007) and Ansin t'Sjaetlin: some responses to the language question (2005), has been translated into Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Scots Gaelic, Spanish, Ukrainian and Welsh. As a result of his work with the organisation Literature Across Frontiers, he has translated the work of over thirty contemporary European poets into Scots and English. He has also written for the stage, and collaborated with the composer David Ward and the painter Graeme Todd. He is currently a Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Arts Council Literature department, a member of the Scottish International Summer School committee and one of the advisory board of Edinburgh Review.

Research summary

Alan’s main interest is contemporary Scottish literature, in which field he includes the work of writers living in Scotland now, regardless of place of origin. His early study was the work of the Scottish Renaissance - MacDiarmid, Gibbon, Gunn, Muir, Soutar - and Scots literature/language writing generally. Currently, his main historical interest is the ‘lost’ literature of his native Shetland, while his work as a translator of contemporary European poetry has encouraged a growing interest in this vast and varied field.

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