Words of Hope
Writers and Poets - What makes you hopeful for the future?
born in Egypt, came to the UK in 2010 and made his professional stage debut in the National Theatre of Scotland show Adam, based on his life story, which won numerous awards and has since been adapted for television.
I dream of a world, where our differences..
Are the binding power of our communities.
Raised in Falkirk, has written 13 plays and four acclaimed novels and, also writes for film (including multi award-winning short film The Shutdown) and TV (including River City). He has performed across the world and won or been shortlisted for numerous awards.
During the pandemic, while anti-vaxxers,
lockdown protestors, raged,
the rest of us, somehow umbilically attached
to an ancestral past,
helped the isolated, the infirm, the aged.
Ali Smith was born in Inverness and is the author of many works of fiction, most recently Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer, the last of which won the 2021 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Her work has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize four times.
Let hope lope alongside you like the wolf we thought
had died out, teeth and claws and howl and all. You
thought you were alone. But there it is, so untamed
that the fact it's walking so peaceably alongside you
is what folk used to call a bloody miracle.
Amy Liptrot is a Scottish journalist and author who grew up on Orkney and won the Wainwright Prize for her best-selling 2016 memoir The Outrun. She has written for the Guardian and the Observer as well as numerous magazines and journals.
A kingfisher, on the day my son was born last summer.
A flash of bright blue that stayed with us. Society changed
for a virus so we can do it for the planet. Recovery has
been possible in my own life and I want it for the world.
Andrew O’Hagan was born in Glasgow in 1968 and grew up in Ayrshire. He has three times been nominated for the Booker Prize, and has won the Glenfiddich Writer of the Year Award, the Lost Angeles Times Book Award, and the E.M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Tomorrow is a wonderful vision you had today. It begins in contemplation and in courage, it meets the light of Glasgow past and present, and is somehow sharpened by it, joining with the vision of others to make a brand new way of seeing.
Angie Dight is co-founder of the Glasgow-based outdoor performance company Mischief La-Bas. In recent years her work has explored serious issues such as mental health and depression; she also directed the critically acclaimed site-specific show Nursery Crymes.
The Spirit of Optimism in the young and their fresh ways
of seeing the World - so many chances to regenerate.
Beldina Odenyo, aka ‘Heir of the Cursed’, was a vocalist, guitarist, poet and writer creating work between the fields of music and theatre. Born in Kenya in 1990, she died in November 2021.
We dedicate this poem to her memory.
Perpetual presence of momentary joys.
Eternal love in all its forms.
A home for all and softer places to fall for the fallen
and gentler lands as promised for the journeying.
The broodiness of our own revolution.
Chitra Ramaswamy is an award-winning journalist who writes for a range of publications including the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday. Her first book, Expecting, won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award 2016.
The more I live, the more I feel like past, present, and
future are unfolding all at once, and there is no time to
waste. This fills me with responsibility, despair, and hope.
Colin McGuire is an Edinburgh-based poet and performer who has performed across the U.K., winning the Shore Poets Quiet Slam in 2014 and the Luminate Slam in 2015. His most recent collection is Enhanced Fool Disclosure.
We should be thankful we are alive
despite the broken headlights
despite the long, exhausting dying.
We should be amazed. We are all held
together by 700 skeletal muscles.
We should thank them each individually
for holding us calmly in their company.
Debi Gliori, born in Glasgow in 1959, has been writing children’s books since 1976, including the series Witch Baby and Pure Dead, and has won or been shortlisted for numerous awards.
Hope will find us.
Knocking on our armoured hearts.
Startling as a blackbird’s song in winter.
Each note a shaft of light to make the dust dance.
Douglas Stuart, born in Glasgow, is a Scottish - American author whose debut novel, Shuggie Bain, won the Booker Prize. His second novel, Young Mungo, will be published in April 2022.
Don’t doubt the flicker of hope.
Great flames are sparked by little pilot lights.
Duglas T Stewart
Duglas T Stewart has been leader and main composer of much-loved Glaswegian band BMX Bandits since they formed in 1985. He has worked with the Pearlfishers, Alex Chilton, and Eugene Kelly, among many others.
When I feel like the world is drowning in hate and injustice,
just witnessing one little act of kindness can make the
darkness crumble away.
Once more, I can see light shining through the clouds.
And once more, there is hope.
Emma Pollock, born in 1972, is a Glasgow-based singer-songwriter who has released three albums as a solo artist. She previously released five albums as a member of The Delgados, including the Mercury-nominated The Great Eastern, and was a founder member of the Burns Unit and the Fruit Tree Foundation.
Suddenly we stopped, looked up, and realised that we
already had it all, right where we stood.
Jackie Kay, born in Edinburgh in 1961, is an acclaimed poet, novelist and writer of short stories. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to literature and was appointed Scottish Makar in 2016.
Hope is Black Lives Matter.
Hope is MeToo. Hope is my son
and my daughter. Hope is a girl called Greta.
Hope is the colour of the future.
Graham Campbell is a cultural producer, musician and dub poet, and a veteran community activist who was instrumental in Glasgow City Council holding its first ever official Black History Month event. He is a regular public speaker on Black Politics, African Caribbean History and Public Affairs.
Inspiration floating - no style - strictly routes outta scotjam
Pillar beacon – fragile – bend or break - which way's up?
Planetary wrapping over cracks - never mek nah plan-yet
Stop carbon nightmare – suckin’ it in?
Eb’ry breathing space unclogs yuh mind, yuh lungs
Cloud-surfing in mild skies -
High stone altar jooks.
Jenni Fagan is an award-winning Scottish novelist, poet, screenwriter and artist, described by the New York Times as ‘the Patron Saint of Literary Street Urchins’. She was named a a Granta Best of Young Britain Novelist for her debut, The Panopticon
Hope is an unseen light.
It is fearless, even when we
are afraid. It lights crevices. It waits.
Hope has patience.
It will appear.
It doesn't need us to know it's there.
It knows for us.
It doesn't need us to look for it,
just that we don't look away.
Jenny Lindsay is one of Scotland’s best-known spoken word performers, and has published two full poetry collections. In 2020 she won a John Byrne Award for Critical Thinking.
Amongst all of this necessary life
ours is a small, humble time,
a slice of forever to use well.
Jo Clifford is a writer, performer, poet and teacher based in Edinburgh who has written around 80 plays, many of which have been translated into various languages and performed across the world.
I somehow know I'm right to feel this delicate unfamiliar
Fluttering so gently in my heart
This so fragile thing we have almost all forgotten
This exquisite evanescent beautiful thing called hope
Kirstin Innes is a Scottish novelist and short story writer whose debut novel, Fishnet, won The Guardian’s Not The Booker prize in 2015. Her widely acclaimed second, Scabby Queen, was published in 2020.
Me: old aching earthbound muscles, worrying you would fall.
You: laughing, grabbing for higher branches
Calling “I used to be a monkey!” from the topmost leaves
The sun shining through your hair.
Marcas Mac An Tuarneir
Marcas Mac An Tuarneir is a critically acclaimed and award-winning writer, working through Scottish Gaelic, English, and Polari. He has published three collections of poetry - 'Deò', Gracenote, 2013; 'Lus na Tùise', Bradan Press, 2016; 'Dùileach', Evertype. 2021 - and the co-authored pamphlet 'beul-fo-bhonn' (Tapsalteerie, 2017).
An Taigh Gorm
Gach latha, ghabh i seachd cuairt dhen làr,
na ballachan a’ càrnadh, na h-uinneagan meallach
ach, ann an oisean a’ mhullaich, bha an damhan-allaidh
pràmhach, a’ guidhe gun toireadh i an taigh gorm oirre.
(The Blue House
Each day, she paced the floor seven times,
the walls piling like cairns, the windows enticing,
but, in the corner of the ceiling, was a spider,
drowsy, hoping that she’d embrace the blue house.
Gaelic has various types of house denoted by colour. An taigh dubh, the black house – the traditional house in the Hebrides. An taigh geal, the new house – often with a conservatory. An taigh dearg, the red house, is the brothel. However, loveliest of them all is an taigh gorm, the blue house, the great outdoors where the roof is a great expanse of sky.)
Nick Brooks is a Glasgow born novelist and poet and despite many stints abroad, he keeps going back. He is the author of 3 previous novels and a collection of haiku. He is currently working on a 4th novel.
Your finger points up to the living
broiling, an eternal gyroscope in
quantum spin, a ticking minute hand,
a blistering valve of light, light, light.
If we keep a stiff eye focussed, don’t stare
directly into it, we won’t be blinded.
There will be no
FADE TO BLACK.
Rodge Glass is a Glasgow-based novelist whose work has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Authors’ Club Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Frank O’Connor Award and the Saltire Award. He won a Somerset Maugham Award for Non-Fiction in 2009.
Try, whistles the wind. Try, sings the sky.
Try, howls the mountain. The newborn calls.
It sounds like, Try.
The burn cries, Try. The loch cries, Try.
The tree, the bird, the fish, the bell. Try, try, try.
Sean Lìonadh is a poet, writer, filmmaker and musician from Glasgow, known for his visual poem Time for Love which won a 2019 Royal Television Society award and was translated into five languages. His short film Silence premiered at Torino Film Festival 2020 and won Capri Hollywood Best European Short Film Award 2020.
The streets will be full again
The music good again
The gentle will rule again
And the lover will be human
The fools will be found out
The lies will be drowned out
The sun had its practise
A lifetime of rising
Tawona Sithole - better known as Ganyamatope (his ancestral family name) - is a storyteller, musician and teacher as well as a widely published poet, playwright and short story author who uses both Shona and Ndau in his work.
the mouth of this river is running out of words
despite despair discreet elders sit gently among us
vakuru vakati muromo hauzarirwi nerwizi
wangu ngauyambuke mhiri kwemhirizhonga
mangwana kunonaya chete
From Local Children - What makes you hopeful for the future?
“Creativity and being part of a major project like the Hope Sculpture can be amazing for young people’s wellbeing – and it’s been amazing to see the poems produced by the young people feature on the sculpture alongside some of Scotland’s most well-known artists,”
Mental Health Foundation Scotland.
Bi dòchasach! Na coimhead
air na duilgheadasan a tha
ri thighinn, ach an fheadhainn
a tha sinn air ceannsachadh.
(Have hope! Don’t look
on the troubles
facing us, but on those
we have conquered.)
Carson a tha sinn dìreach
nar suidhe an-seo, an dòchas?
Feumaidh sinn rudeigin
(Why are we just
sitting here, hoping?
We need to do
A h-uile duine toilichte
air glan shaoghal uaine.
in a clean green world)
I want to see lots of people with lots
of animals and none sick or have
no mums or dads
I would like to live on a farm and have dogs,
cats, chickens, llamas and donkeys
I want to have lots of friends and we can
go to the big fields and play all day
There's only one Earth
We won't get another chance
Please look after it
When life is dim and you realise the damage done to
our planet, just look around and you will find caring
people who are able and willing to help. I always
remember that anyone can make a difference.