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March 1, 2018

I have been thinking quite a lot recently about writing and how we support it. I know that we all buy lots of books and that helps – as does going to festivals, book launches etc. But what if you are a poet, or a new writer looking for a publisher? How do we support these folks when we lack the resources to become philanthropists?

Well, one way is to support a new writing magazine. And the one I want to discuss today is Gutter, a magazine of new Scottish writing.

Gutter is an award-winning, high quality, printed journal for fiction and poetry from writers born or living in Scotland and featuring literature from around the world. The editors believe there is a need for an energetic, ambitious magazine dedicated exclusively to the best in new Scottish creative writing. Gutter exists because the team behind it (and it is a worker’s co-op) believe in the power of writing to surprise, to challenge, to move and to enliven.

We nearly lost this magazine when Freight Books went into liquidation, but although it’s been a tough few months Gutter will be continuing as an independent co-operative company. This is such good news, because it provides one of a very few outlets for new Scottish writing and good quality ideas.

The current issue, No 17, just happens to be a Crime and Punishment issue with work from Lin Anderson, Louise Welsh, Claire MacLeary, Jackie Kay and numerous others. Prose, poetry and book reviews populate the pages in a paean of praise to good writing.

From concrete poetry to a poem about Scotrail and poetry that recognises the devastation, loss and conflict that was the First World War, Gutter is a cheeky wee number whose heart is in just the right place.

Gutter isn’t cheap at £8 an issue, but it comes substantially cheaper if you subscribe for a year or two – there are 2 issues a year.

So, go on, buy a subscription; gift one to a friend and do something lovely for new Scottish writing. I promise you, you won’t be sorry.


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