Rebel – A Free e-Book

Last week was Book Week Scotland and to mark the occasion the Scottish Book Trust published a collection of short stories called Rebel, and one of them was by a Nethergate Writer.

Roddie McKenzie, writing as Docboy, had his story ‘Beer, Loathing and Air Piracy’ chosen for inclusion from amongst the many submissions.

One hundred thousand copies have been distributed across Scotland through public libraries and bookshops, but if you haven’t managed to grab one yet, you can download the e-book or audiobook versions free from the Scottish Book Trust website here.

If you go for the audio option, you’ll even get to hear it read by Roddie himself!

50 Shades Of Tay – The Launch

On Thursday the 23rd of August, 2018, the Nethergate Writers launched our latest collection, 50 Shades of Tay, in Waterstones Dundee, and the evening was a great success. Over 50 friends, family, and curious members of the general public came along to hear readings from some of our members, as well as taking the chance to buy copies of the book, with a few even asking to get them signed.

We began with an introduction from Craig, who explained a little bit about how things have changed for the group over the past few years and gave some background about how we came up with the idea for 50 Shades of Tay. Then Abby was our first reader of the evening, reading her piece ‘For A Tour Of Dundee, You Could Do Worse Than The 22’ and pointing out that she’d taken full advantage of the fact that the titles didn’t count towards our fifty word limit!

Roddie was next, telling us he was working on his Dundonian despite being from Glasgow, and giving us an amusing example of it by reading his piece ‘Eh Fought the La… an the La Won’.

Fiona was our third reader, explaining how she had decided to focus upon Mary McGonagall, and the all-too-real effects that her husband’s concentration on his poetic endeavours had on their day to day existence for her piece ‘Food or Fiction’.

Aileen then told us how the traumatising effect of having one of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail statues appear right outside her house overnight had inspired her to write ‘Oor Wullie’s Revenge’, so at least some good had come out of it, and her reading produced the biggest applause of the night.

Rosie had to follow that, and did so admirably, drawing on the same performing skills which she’s put to good use when singing at karaoke nights, and it was watching some of the regular performers which had lead to her writing the final piece of the evening ‘The Club Bar”.

All in all, it was a great evening, and we as writers all enjoyed the chance to present our work to a wider audience. If you weren’t able to make it along, however, don’t worry. Copies of 50 Shades of Tay can still be purchased in-store at Waterstones, or directly from our website here.

50 Shades Of Tay Launch Night – 23rd August 2018

Come along and join us at the official launch of our latest collection – 50 Shades of Tay – in Waterstones Dundee on Thursday 23rd of August.

We’ll be launching the book, reading some of the pieces and may even be available to sign copies, too!

The event starts at 6pm, and further details are available on the Waterstones Dundee Facebook page here –

Tender Age

One of our members, Craig A. Mudie, was inspired by recent news stories to write this short piece for our last meeting.

Tender Age

I want my blanket back.

My Abuela made it for me. It is blue, which Abuela says is because my eyes are blue. Mama’s eyes are blue, too, but Abuela said I’m the first boy in our family to have them. She’s says they are a gift from the saints.

My blanket is warm and soft. Abuela says it is as soft as my hair. I have long, golden hair, just like Mama. Abuela says I’m the first boy in our family to have golden hair. She’s says it is a gift from the saints.

Abuela stitched a big letter J onto my blanket. It is for my name – Jesus. Mama picked my name. She says she chose it because I am a gift from God. I like my name, but some people here laugh at me when they hear it. They do not say it right. They call me gee-zus, and then they laugh. I do not like it when they laugh at me.

Mama and Papa have been gone a long time. I do not know how long, but I have been given food for lunch. It is not nice food, not like we eat at home. It comes in plastic pots, and smells too sweet. I miss the food that Mama makes for me. Abuela always makes us give thanks to God before we eat. They do not do that here, but I have said it quietly to myself, even though I do not like the food.

I do not know where I am. Mama and Papa woke me up during the night, and we got into the car and drove out of the town. I was still tired, and I fell asleep again. When I woke up, Mama was telling me to be a brave boy, and that she would be back soon. She was crying, and she was taken away by a big man with a gun. I do not like the man and his gun.

There are other children here, too, but I do not know who they are. Some of them are crying, like Mama was. My friends Julio and Sergio are not here. We were going to go to the park today to play baseball, but we did not go to the park. I wanted to bring my glove when Mama told me we were going out this morning, but she wouldn’t let me. I thought we might go to the park later, without going back home, so I wanted to have my glove with me. We haven’t gone to the park yet. Maybe we will go after I have dinner. I hope the food for dinner is better.

My shoes keep falling off my feet when I walk about. Mama took the laces out of them before the man with the gun took her away. I do not know why, as she always tells me to make sure they are tied up tight when we go out. We went to a big building with trampolines in it for Sergio’s birthday, and we had to take our shoes off there. Maybe I will get to play on a trampoline later?

I want my Mama and Papa. And I want my blanket back.

50 Shades of Tay

50 Shades of Tay, the Nethergate Writers new publication, is now available.

This compact, pocket-sized collection contains fifty 50-word stories and poems, all relating to Dundee, the River Tay and the surrounding area.

Inside its 52 pages you’ll find a variety of voices, styles and subjects, from the last thoughts of the Tay Whale and memories of the Fifie to the tale of a sledging disaster on the Law and the delights of karaoke at the Club Bar.

Click below to order now, for only £5 per copy, with free postage and packing in the UK.


A Nethergate Writer’s Success.

Dundee Rep, in association with the University of Dundee, launched a creative writing competition to accompany its ensemble production of “Deathtrap”, its first production of the year. It’s an ‘edge of your seat murder mystery play.’

The task was to write an original piece of fiction in no more than 500 words. The subject was writing about writing.

A very large entry was received, so it is gratifying that one of our Nethergate Writers is a prize winner. Craig A. Mudie was one of two runners up.

We’re delighted for him. It’s well-deserved. We’re also pleased that one of our Nethergate Writers has been recognised in this way.

Further details can be found here –

David Carson
Chair, NW

Whatever The Weather

Here’s a short piece by one of our members, Fiona Pretswell, taken from a writing exercise we did in one of our recent classes.

Whatever The Weather

It’s a Wednesday morning. 10.13 am. Not quite tea break time and I’m bored. No customers since we opened. I look up from my spreadsheet. Angie is filing her nails as per usual. Neil has his head buried in his desk. Could there be an more obvious way to use your phone at work. I really hope it isn’t porn again and if it is that he’s got the sound turned down. Unlike the last time.

I stifle a yawn behind a smile and rearrange my business cards.

The shop darkens. I look up to check the lights but the darkness has come in from the window. The sky is now almost black and huge hailstones are bouncing off the pavement. I stand up and walk over to watch. It’s like the world has changed to monochrome. The high street is deserted, shoppers scurrying for the nearest shelter. Our bell rings, I turn towards the noise and an elderly couple enter, scattering hail as they shake themselves off.

“We’d like to book a holiday” he says.

“A cruise” she adds “a long one”.

I smile again.

“Yes of course. Please, take a seat. A window cabin, a balcony?”

The commission is clocking up in my head. This global warming is good for us – sometimes.


Ah I think. Where fools rush in.