My writing encompasses poetry, fiction and playwriting. Currently my main focus is playwriting. I love collaborating with directors and actors to bring my imagined worlds to life on stage.
As well as plays I have collaborated with a number of artists including producing text for ceramics and characters and text for graphic stories.
Whichever form I work in I aim to explore the contemporary world. Whether set in the present as in my play Sins of the Father--a story of a two people bound together in their suffering by the fact that a father of one of them killed the mother of the other when they were both children; or the world of celebrity in the form of fairy tale in my play Snow White: The Untold story; creating comic story super hero characters no longer needed in the everyday world or achieving a contemporary resonance when commissioned to write community drama bringing to life the history of Lauder through the ages.
For me the emotional life of the characters drive the story.
From my earliest writings to the present day I strive to achieve a clear narrative with emotional resonance.
I have experimented with various ways of telling a story not only to challenge myself but to discover clearer and more vivid ways getting to the nub of the story. I have worked and continue to do so to make connections that will stay with a reader or audience. Not by writing for them but uncovering the layers of my own imagination in the process touching something in them they recognise.
Recently through the Reader In Residence post I have worked at interactive storytelling for all ages and families. This element of performance combined with driven narrative and striking characters has fed into my own writing not only with further storytelling tales but also in my approach to playwriting. I am currently developing ideas for plays young people.
LINKS TO WORK.
Blog: Postcards From Borderland @ http://tommurrayborders.blogspot.co.uk/
Link to me reading one of my stories Soulmates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zib_kVAFQgM
Video of one of my plays (five minutes) By Its Nature Uncertain.http://vimeo.com/98533961
Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers to April 2015.
Scottish Book Trust Reader In Residence to Scottish Borders Libraries 2013-2014
Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers 2013-2014
Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers 2010—2012.
Writer In Residence Clackmannashire Council 2006--2010
Writer In Residence Peebles High School 2006--2007
Writer In Residence Galashiels Academy 2005--2006
READER IN RESIDENCE--DETAIL
I worked in close partnership with the Scottish Borders Library service to achieve the stated goals for the residency.
· increase reading and the awareness of the liberty service in teenagers.
Started readers groups in majority of High Schools in the Borders. These are now self functioning run by the young readers in partnership with the library service and the schools.
· promote reading and use of the libraries across the generations.
Through interactive storytelling events and creating the idea of The Treasure Train I laid the foundations for active family involvement in reading and the use of the library. These events continuing beyond the residency.
The Treasure Train has proved particularly successful not only in the Borders but in other library services in Scotland with events held during Book Week Scotland. It has also been adapted for local schools. The event involves families of adults and children connecting through their love of books read as children. They write or draw their favourite characters and scenes and discuss why they loved particular books when growing up. In the process the children see adults whether their parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles as enthusiasts for reading. They were once children like them and travelled their own imaginary childhood world through books.
· promote reading and library use in the wider community.
Worked with family centre to involve parents and children in storytelling and family events that encouraged reading and library use through storytelling and The Treasure Train.
Other activities included working across the Borders with adult reading groups from Peebles to Eyemouth to encourage more awareness and partnership with each other. This culminated in a Readers Group Day which brought together members of groups from the four corners of the Scottish Borders to discuss books and future joint events.
Working with local writers to discover and use the full resources of the library in their writing.
Travelled the length and breadth of the Scottish Borders not only during the above activities but as part of the Mobile Library making connections to local communities.
I was also Doctor Who for a packed out event at Melrose Library during Book Week Scotland!
TYNE AND ESK RESIDENCIES
In my Tyne and Esk residencies I work with eight writer groups across Midlothian and East Lothian from Dalkeith to Dunbar. These groups are part of the umbrella organisation Tyne&Esk writers. I also do outreach work forming and facilitating writers groups in the community based in health and recovery organisations.
· Chaired group meetings leading feedback and providing writing
stimuli for future meetings.
· Provided feedback on writing for individual writers out with the
groups, as well as advice on possible routes to publication.
. Ran workshops for Tyne&Esk members both two hour and all day.
. Judged the annual Young Writer of the Year Competition.
During my residencies at Peebles High School and Galashiels Highs School I worked with all years from 1st year to 6th Year primarily in prose but also drama.
In the main I worked with 1st to 3rd year. This involved working with each English class over a three week period on a piece of fiction from idea to completion. As part of this I took over the class for the time I was there working with the whole class many times of variable abilities and confidence. My aim was to encourage the growth of that confidence by the use of imagination.
As part of Clackmannanshire residency:
· I worked with a number of individuals and organisations including
local libraries where many of my workshops and events where held.
· Worked with local hotel business where events were also held.
· Facilitated discussion events on such topics as publication leading me
to establish contacts with agents and publishers.
My main remit was to facilitate and encourage creative writing in as wide a community base as possible. I formed and ran writers groups in the community
· Young Writers group.
· In mental health organisations.
· Physical disability groups.
· Family centres.
I also initiated in partnership with community education the Youth Theatre in Clackmannanshire writing two plays for them. One of which we took to the Edinburgh International Festival Frnge. This was very much a community based theatre company. The ideas for the plays came from the young people.
I also organised two writing festivals during the residency one of which included a writing competition and publication of a local anthology of writing which I was one of the editors.
EILDON TREE EDITOR
Co Editor Eildon Tree Literary Magazine 2000-2011
As co editor.
· Organized the regular production of the magazine working
in partnership with my fellow editors on content, and with arts
development staff at Scottish Borders Council on design and
· Working with various venues in the Borders to coordinate festivals
and events to promote cultural activity and raise awareness of
opportunities in the Borders not only for cultural participants but in
the wider community.
· Developed contacts throughout the Borders writing community and
further a field in Scotland.
· co organised two writing festivals.
· .co editor of writing anthology for Eildon Tree writing competition.
· co producer of Border Leaves CD an anthology of stories and poems.
During my residencies and as CABN Mentor:
· I have mentored over sixty individual writers ranging from those
starting out writing, to others more experienced.
COLLABORATIONS WITH OTHER ARTISTS.
Kerry Jones and Jane Gaze on the Windows to the Future Project. An exploration of the changing nature of Galashiels Town Centre over the previous 100 years and creative speculation on the next 100years. Working with pupils from five primary schools in Galashiels. 2013.
Long poem Gala Water. Published Tweed Rivers Book. Luath Press/Platform Projects. Worked with artist Rob Hain who produced artwork for the poem.
During Clackmannanshire Residency worked with artists Bobbi Vetter and Kenny Bean in the Arts Shop a drop in/workshop space. With Kenny Bean digital artist produced the Story Box. This involved working with local writers to record their stories and poems/uploading and editing the stories and poems for sound files/worked with Kenny to produce and edit short videos to accompany the stories/poems. Visitors to the Art Shop and other locations when it went on tour could listen to the stories/poems via headsets while watching the accompanying video. 2008—2010.
Artist Bill Brown and Irene bell of Glasgow School of Art. Wrote text to go with ceramic sculpture. Now on permanent display as part of garden in Sunnyside Cemetery, Alloa. 2008.
As part of the Clackmannanshire residency worked with various artists at the Arts Academy. This was a summer school of arts activities for young people . My workshops included song lyrics and writing for comics. After the comic script workshops producing superhero characters and storylines we worked with artists to produce a comic script. 2007.
· workshops over three days as part of Pitlochry Festival
· workshops working with Advanced Higher pupils as part of Creative Writing conferences at Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities.
· A member of the Scottish Borders collective 'Page To Stage' for playwrightsd/actors/directors and others interested in work for the stage.
· A founding member of the Borders Writers Forum.
· Founder of the Galashiels Writers Group
I have membership of organisations Scottish Pen, Scottish Pamphlet Poetry, Scottish Society of Playwrights, Borders Writers Forum, Scottish Poetry Library, NAWE.