Wigtown Festival Company sponsors three literature ambassadors, who work across Dumfries & Galloway to support the development of the region’s writers and creative practitioners in their local areas.
All local writers themselves, the team works independently and collaboratively to improve local and regional networks and to support the text-based work that takes place across the region.
Ambassador for Annandale and Eskdale
Vivien has lived and worked in Scotland for forty years, working as a teacher in alternative education, and now lives on the north Solway shore. She then became a mature student at the Crichton Campus of the University of Glasgow in Dumfries, where she took a creative writing course under the direction of Tom Pow. She is now writing in all the genres that she once taught to others, and is a member of Crichton Writers.
Vivien writes prose, drama and poetry, which she also performs in readings and at collaborative events with musicians. Her prose work is usually in the form of short stories, exploring the small rebellions that happen in everyday life that sustain a sense of individuality, particularly in the lives of women.
Vivien leads on a number of projects and workshops throughout the region, most recently Undiscovered Treasures in Stranraer and the Records of War Writing with D&G Museums. Vivien also co-founded Buskers, a spoken word and performance company celebrating the creative processes of women writers, performers and storytellers, and is also involved in the Playwrights at Theatre Royal writing group. Vivien is one of three editors of Southlight, the region’s literary magazine.
Vivien is also an accomplished musician and is a founding member of the renaissance music group, The Galloway Consort. Find out more about Vivien and her work by visiting her website, or contact Vivien via email.
Eryl Gasper Dick
Ambassador for Nithsdale
Formerly known as Eryl Shields, Eryl Gasper Dick is a writer and educator who has facilitated creative writing workshops across the region. Eryl, who believes the creative process is the key to a better life, has had work published in a variety of media, set up a poetry group in Moffat, and is currently working on a collection.
Eryl studied creative writing under Tom Pow, Jules Horne and David Borthwick at the University of Glasgow and graduated with distinction in 2010. From autumn 2010 to summer 2012, Eryl facilitated creative writing workshops for D&G council in Moffat, Gretna and Annan. Eryl also co-founded Brave New Words with Martin O’Neill and Sindigo, a monthly performance poetry and spoken word event that takes place at The Stove.
Eryl now divides her time between writing, teaching writing (both on a one-to-one basis and in group workshops), and supporting writers and readers in Dumfries & Galloway by promoting their books and events. She is also in the process of starting a series of writing workshops, called Café Stories, starting at Brodies in Moffat.
Eryl also writes a blog about opportunities for writers, sharing insights gained from her own practice as a creative writer and teacher, and testing some of the theories out there about how to make it as a writer. From December 2018, Eryl has also been attempting the One Short Story a Week challenge.
Ambassador for Wigtownshire
Jayne has lived in Galloway for more than 20 years, and is now based in Wigtown where she runs Curly Tale Books and is also a children’s book publisher.
Jayne initially worked as a journalist, with a detour into yoga teaching, before finally returning to writing and publishing several books including historical non-fiction and children’s fiction. She has since gone into a multi-portfolio working life combining writing, editing, publishing, bookselling and yoga. She also facilitates the Open Book Writers group, which meets monthly in Wigtown.
Jayne regularly gives talks and readings on her work. She has mentored a number of writers, helping them with writing projects and advising on publishing options, and has adjudicated for writing competitions. She regularly works with pre-school and primary groups as well as adult organisations including historical societies, rural U3A groups and writers’ groups. She has also given workshops/talks/readings for Dumfries & Galloway Library Service, The Wickerman Festival, Wigtown Book Festival, Kirkcudbright Literary Society, Stewartry and Wigtownshire U3A, Dunoon Book Festival and Ilkley Literature Festival.