PENning, the Writers in Exile Committee’s biannual online journal, presents work by Scottish PEN’s member-writers alongside writing from people living in Scotland who are from other parts of the world.

Read PENning magazine

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PENning Water (July 2023)

This magazine has been guest edited by Charlie Gracie and our featured writer is Dina Nayeri. It features creative non-fiction from Loretta Mulholland, Harry Watson, fiction from Tom Murray and Alec Macaulay, and poetry from Xinyi Jiang, Gazelle Buchholtz, Jim Aitken and Beth McDonough.

PENning Making (January 2023)

This magazine has been guest edited by Robin Lloyd-Jones and our featured writer is Elena Marinicheva. It features poetry from Ruth Aylett, A C Clarke, David Hunter, Brian Hill, Julian Colton, Vyacheslav Konoval and Tom Murray. Prose is shared by Loretta Mulholland.

magazine cover, image of a gift

PENning Gifting (June 2022)

This issue, guest edited by Leela Soma, and our featured writer is Rizwan Akhtar. It includes fiction, poetry and non-fiction by Loretta Mulholland, Barbara Wysocka, Susan Elsley, Tom Murray, Lizzie Eldridge, Jane Archer, Kate Hendry, Jenni Daiches, Xinyi Jiang, Julian Colton, A C Clarke, Joe McGurk, Severiano Gomes, Fidan Meikle, Julie Sheridan, Elaine Webster and Daniel Pukkila.

Past editions

PENning Diary (December 2021)

PENning Renewal (July 2021)

PENning Truth (Dec 2019)

PENning Smeddum (July 2018)

PENning Messages (Dec 2016)

PENning Joy (Dec 2020)

PENning Dignity (July 2019)

PENning Shelter (Dec 2017)

PENning Peril (April 2016)

PENnings (January 2015)

PENning Patience (July 2020)

PENning Letters (Dec 2018)

PENning Walls (July 2017)

PENning Celebration (Oct 2015)

PENning Powers (April 2015)

Submitting your writing to PENning magazine

The theme for the next edition of PENning magazine is ‘Nature’ and the submission deadline is Sunday 31st March 2024.

Please send us up to 3 poems of no more than 50 lines each or one prose or non-fiction piece of no more than 2,000 words.

Submissions may be in any language, provided that they are accompanied by a translation into English or Scots. This translation can be the author’s or the work of another writer. Collaborations with those writing in other languages are very welcome..

Writing may not have been previously published.

How do I submit?

Please send your submission to and make sure that you complete and attach our downloadable submission form to your email.

Please do not include your name anywhere on your submission. Your name should only appear on the submission form. This allows our editorial team to consider entries anonymously.

Who can submit to PENning?

Any member of Scottish PEN, and all persons living in Scotland whose first language is not English, Scots and Gaelic.

History of PENning

From its start in 2009, each themed issue of PENning includes a selection of poetry and prose from this rich mix of writers. Each issue also includes a featured writer with links outside Scotland. These have included poet Ak Welsapar from the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan who was forced into exile in Sweden, and Ali Cobby Eckermann, an Australian writer removed from her Aboriginal family as a child.

We offer a literary community to established writers exiled from their own countries. We also welcome those who have come to live in Scotland and have an urge to write. We work with community refugee organisations and TESOL groups, encouraging work and organising peer to peer translation. This furthers intercultural dialogue.

Conflict or clampdown on freedom of expression in other parts of the world can make it necessary for a writer to leave their home. Being exiled can cause personal and professional suffering, endangering access to the usual sources of writerly support, publication and readership. We try to make that experience a little less lonely.