Since I went freelance I have been concentrating on expanding my repertoire of ‘long form’ features, reportage, memoir and narrative non-fiction. I enjoy having the time to immerse myself in a subject, read everything I can get my hands on, ring up experts and people with personal experience, and ask them as many stupid questions as they’ll allow.
I am always looking for more opportunities in this area. (Have a suggestion? Get in touch.)
I write across all subjects, but have particular interest in:
- indigenous peoples, and their struggle for self-governance
- Scottish independence, and all cultural aspects including Gaelic
- colonialism, especially the legacy of the British Empire
- writing about landscape and nature, in my native Highlands and abroad
- psychology and neuroscience (my undergraduate degree was in experimental psychology – and I continue to be fascinated by all aspects of brain and behaviour)
- animals and animal behaviour, particularly: wildness vs. domestication
I tend to post my cuttings online as I go along (the features will be gathered here automatically), but find a few of my favourites below:
· New Humanist, July 2017
Culture essay on the appreciation of ‘beautiful’ mathematical equations
The Last Duchess
· Avaunt, March 2017
An essay on the Slate Islands, off the coast of Argyll, and on finding beauty in post-industrial and other ‘anthropogenic’ landscapes.
· The Guardian, Dec 2015 to present
I contribute irregularly to this lovely regular feature of short seasonal postcards from around rural Britain. I write from the Highlands and islands, and my dispatches include accounts of sighting otter pups, seals, puffins and ravens.
Who wants to live forever?
· New Humanist, July 2016
Once the preserve of eccentrics and cranks, cryonics is entering the mainstream. Is eternal life possible – or even desirable?
The Tree Farm
· Granta, January 2016
Hiking through the Flow Country of Sutherland, in search of the plantation forests created considered one of the most reckless environmental experiments in UK history.
My left leg
· The Sunday Times Magazine, 14 September 2014
I was born with one leg shorter than the other. My only option was years of radical orthopaedic surgery. Here, I recounts a childhood spent in wheelchairs and hospital wards.
Springtime for Gaelic
· New Statesman, 28 February 2014
A burst of enthusiasm for Gaelic-medium education looks set to halt the language’s centuries-old decline – and my two-year-old nephew is amongst the new intake.
The last supper
· Aeon, 24 December 2013
Wild mushrooms are for culinary daredevils. Care to play Russian roulette with your dinner?
The call of the wild
· Telegraph Magazine cover story, 21 December 2013
A diary of my winter spent working on a husky farm in the Arctic Circle.
Contemporary Scottish Friction
· The New Inquiry, 10 December 2013
The coming Scottish independence referendum has given new energy to the would-be national literary scene.
The Bot Wars: how the computer whizzkids are beating you to everything
· New Statesman, 6 August 2013
Enterprising programmers are creating bots to snap up everything from restaurant tables to eBay goods before humans can even get a look in.
Land of the never rising sun
· Prospect, 5 February 2013
Nothing can prepare you for living through a polar night