Zoë Strachan


Zoë Strachan is an author and creative writing teacher at the University of Glasgow. Her most recent novel, Ever Fallen in Love, was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize and nominated for the London Book Awards. Her debut, Negative Space, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award. She was the coeditor of New Writing Scotland, and edited Out There, the first anthology of LGBT writing from Scotland in twenty years. She has held residencies as UNESCO City of Literature writer-in-residence at the National Museum of Scotland, a Hermann Kesten Stipendiaten, a Hawthornden Fellowship, a British Council visiting fellowship at the University of Iowa, and won a Robert Louis Stevenson Award. She has also written short stories, essays, plays, and operas. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland with her partner.

The village of Skara Brae, which overlooks the Bay of Skaill, was built around six and a half thousand years ago. I went there first as an archaeology undergrad, drawn to the possibility of telling stories around our preliterate past, and have returned time and again in the twenty years since. At the center of each of the houses, surrounded by stone box beds and a shelved stone dresser, there is a hearth. It takes an instant to recognize where people slept, where they placed their belongings, where they knelt to touch flame to kindling. Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown imagined their “small fires and pots.” Even on the wildest day, when the site is about to be closed to visitors for safety, it is possible to conjure a low roof, a smoky coziness.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard