cal in salopettes

Since I went freelance I have been concentrating on features, reportage 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
  • nature writing and the outdoors more generally (horses! dogs!)
  • memoir
  • neuropsychology (brain and behaviour), and
  • the brave new world being summoned in by new technologies: cloning, artificial intelligence, cryonics, and so on

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:

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


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