Who we are

Scottish PEN is a membership organisation governed by a Board of Trustees. Find out more about our Trustees, staff team and committees.

We are the Scottish centre of PEN International, a not-for-profit organisation that champions freedom of expression and literature across borders. We work with a range of writers, campaigners, activists and communities across Scotland and around the world as part of the PEN International network. Find out more about our work by visiting our Committee and Project pages. Latest news from Scottish PEN is published on our blog.

Members

Our writer and reader members shape our work, run events and contribute to our campaigns. Find out more about membership and join us here.

Staff

Lisa Clark, Project Manager

Lisa is Scottish PEN’s Project Manager. She leads on campaigns, projects and communications, including our events and the day-to-day management of operations. She also supports Scottish PEN’s committees and Board of Trustees. Prior to joining Scottish PEN, Lisa worked with several other Scottish charities, including Children in Scotland, Scottish Commission for Learning Disability, Zero Tolerance and LGBT Youth Scotland. She is passionate about literature and the defense of human rights. 

Caroline Whitham, Finance & Administration Worker

Caroline Whitham is Scottish PEN’s Finance & Administration Worker, fielding membership enquiries as well as maintaining the charity’s office administration and bookkeeping. She studied publishing at Robert Gordon University before working as a production editor in Edinburgh for many years, eventually moving into administration. In addition to her role at PEN, she is the Deputy Editor of Foodies magazine. 

You can contact the Scottish PEN staff team at info@scottishpen.org

Board

Scottish PEN is governed by a Board which meets roughly every six weeks. The Board leads strategic decision making of the charity and oversees the work of staff. It is currently composed of:

Ricky Monahan Brown, President

Ricky Monahan Brown is the author of the memoir Stroke: A 5% chance of survival from Sandstone Press, which was one of The Scotsman’s Scottish Books of 2019. He is the co-founder and curator of the multiple award-winning irregular night of live spoken word and musical entertainment, Interrobang?! which has served as a vehicle to facilitate one of the strands of Scottish PEN’s Many Voices project and has supported Scottish PEN’s work in opposing pervasive surveillance.

Fiona Graham, Vice-President

Fiona Graham is an editor, researcher and writer having worked for publishers such as Calder and Boyars, Quartet and Canongate and then researched and written projects for organisations such as Nova Scotia Marketing Agency, the Edinburgh International Festival, the National Library of Scotland and the University of Edinburgh.

Drew Campbell, Treasurer

Drew Campbell is a novelist, playwright and poet whose work has appeared in many publications and various media.  An SAC Writing Fellow from 2002 – 2005, he was Writer-in-Residence for schools in Argyll & Bute 2007 – 2011, and held a Scottish Book Trust reading residency in 2013 – 14.  He was the Scottish PEN President between 2010 – 16.

Keira Brown

Keira has an in depth understanding of the commercial side within the book trade and the long-term impact of book events. She has a local knowledge of the writing and spoken word scene in Scotland and experience developing and spearheading the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for Booktrust, as well as the work she does for book festivals and events.

Jenni Calder

Jenni Calder was for 23 years with the National Museum of Scotland, as education officer, Head of Publications, script editor for the Museum of Scotland (opened 1998) and Head of Museum of Scotland International. She has published widely on literary and historical subjects and writes fiction and poetry as Jenni Daiches. She has been an active member of Scottish PEN for over 30 years and president from 2007-11. Her latest book is The Burning Glass: The Life of Naomi Mitchison.

Colin Donati

Colin Donati is a Scottish-born poet and musician of thirdgeneration Italian descent. He gives regular public readings of his work, including extracts from his Scots translation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and performs his songs and song-settings as part of the duo Various Moons with cellist, Robin Mason. In 2014, he edited the collected dramatic works of Robert McLellan, Playing Scotland’s Story (Luath Press). He lives in Edinburgh.

Lizzie Eldridge

Lizzie is a writer, actor, teacher and activist. After 15 years as a university lecturer in theatre, she moved to Malta in 2008. Her novel, Vandalism (2015), was shortlisted for a National Book Prize in Malta and it was here she became involved in the fight to get justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia. She continued campaigning when she moved back to Glasgow in 2019 and is an active member of Occupy Justice (a women-led pressure group) and Repubblika (an anti-corruption NGO). Lizzie’s other novel, Duende (2014), focuses on political issues in Spain before the civil war and she publishes regularly in PENning as well as producing journalistic work.

Bashabi Fraser

Bashabi Fraser is an award winning poet, writer and academic. Her awards include the 2015 was ‘Outstanding Woman of Scotland’ conferred by the Saltire Society and the Word Masala Foundation Award for Excellence in Poetry in 2017.. She has authored and edited 22 books and been widely anthologised. Her recent publications include Rabindranath Tagore, a biography (2019), The Homing Bird (2017), Scottish Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: the Continuum of Ideas (2017), Thali Katori: An Anthology of Scottish & South Asian Poetry (2017), Confluence of Minds: The Rabindranath Tagore and Patrick Geddes Reader on Education and the Environment (2017). She is Professor Emerita and  Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University, an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh and a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Dundee. She is the Chief Editor of the international academic and creative e-journal, Gitanjali and Beyond. 

Carl MacDougall

Carl MacDougall has written three prize-winning novels, four pamphlets, four collections of short stories, including two for children, five works of non-fiction and edited four anthologies, including the best selling The Devil and the Giro. He has written and presented major television series for BBC 2 and BBC 4 and held a number of residencies and fellowships.

Mario Relich

Mario Relich’s book of poems Frisky Ducks was published by Grace Note in 2014.   His poems have appeared in Poetry journals, and in the ‘Poem of the Day’ section of The Herald. He is also a retired academic who was a lecturer on Post-Colonial Literature and Film History at the Open University, both in Scotland and London, for many years. At present, he writes regularly literary reviews, and an annual Edinburgh International Festival Diary for Scottish Affairs

Leela Soma

Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Her poems and short stories have been published in several anthologies, publications. She has published three novels, short stories and two collections of poetry. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2020 and was longlisted for the Erbacce Prize 2019 out of 9000 entries. She has been appointed Scriever 2021 for the Federation of Writers, Scotland.  Her name is on the Scottish Poetry Library’s online guide of poets. She is the chair of the Bearsden Writers Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.  

Committee members

Writers at Risk

Writers for Peace

Writers in Exile

Women Writers