Valerie Gillies

Biography

"Born in Canada, brought up in Lanarkshire, and educated in Edinburgh and India... Gillies writes a richly varied poetry which celebrates life."

Douglas Gifford, Scottish Literature

Valerie Gillies is an internationally known and highly regarded poet. She was the Edinburgh Maker, poet laureate to the city, 2005 - 2008.

Her poetry collections include Tweed Journey (1989) which has been described as ‘a key text in contemporary writing’ (SB Kelly). Other award-winning volumes include Each Bright Eye (1977), The Ringing Rock (1995) and The Lightning Tree (2002). She is a regular contributor to major anthologies.

Valerie writes in regions from the Borders to the Highlands, from the Inner Hebrides to the Angus glens, from Orkney to Galloway.

She often works collaboratively with visual artists, notably in a series of poem-inscriptions with different sculptors at sites in southern Scotland. The book Men and Beasts: Wild Men and Tame Animals of Scotland (2000), together with the touring exhibition of the same name, was the result of a year-long collaboration with the photographer Rebecca Marr.

She received a Creative Scotland Award in 2005 to write The Spring Teller, a book of landmark poems inspired by Scotland’s wells and springs (Luath, 2008).

Valerie is an inspirational teacher of creative writing in schools, colleges, and universities, and she has held several writing fellowships across the country. She is a literary arts practitioner in psychiatric and general hospitals with Artlink. She has edited the Scottish Poetry Library’s first-ever Poetry Map of Scotland, which maps locations and living poets on their interactive website.

Valerie lives in Edinburgh with her husband, the Celtic scholar Professor William Gillies. They have a son and two daughters.

'Best Loved Poems'

A few poems to sample:

'The Wedding Reel'

'Maeve in Manhattan' (Audio from The Jewel Box CD)

'Surf-Speak'