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.


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


Scottish PEN is governed by a board which meets roughly every six weeks. The board plans campaigns and programmes of events. It is currently composed of:

Carl MacDougall, President

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.

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.

David Manderson, Secretary

David Manderson is a writer and former academic.  He is currently chair of the Writers for Peace committee. He has published short stories, essays and poems in a wide variety of small magazines and anthologies. His novel Lost Bodies (Kennedy & Boyd) was published in 2011. He ran the Real to Reel Short Film Festival at the Glasgow Film Theatre in Glasgow until 1999 and Nerve Magazine until 2001. Later, a creative practice PhD took him into academia where he published articles and textbooks on Scottish films, creative writing and walking, and Scottish Miserablism. His poem Expedition, animated by Samantha Hendry, won a Royal Television Student Award in 2019. In 2017 he was the recipient of a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust. He is currently completing a book on the work and life of Alan Sharp for Peter Lang publishers. 

Jenni Calder, Membership Secretary

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.

Jane Archer, Chair of the Writers At Risk Committee

Jane’s short stories have been shortlisted & commended in the Bridport Prize, The White Review & Manchester Fiction prize. She had been published in New Writing Scotland and Mslexia. She is currently working on a novel ‘Cutting the Roses’, which has been longlisted in the inaugural Deborah Rogers New Writers’ Award, Lucy Cavendish Prize and the Blue Pencil Award. Jane was awarded a Luminate bursary to complete the book. Jane is on the board of Scottish PEN and co-chair of the Writers at Risk Committee.

Ricky Monahan Brown

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.

Drew Campbell

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 and Treasurer from 2017-18.

Lady Joyce Caplan

Joyce Caplan is the chair of the Poetry Association of Scotland and a Lecturer at Edinburgh University specialising in Scottish Contemporary Writing. She is also the President of Friends of Edinburgh University Library and the Chair of the Scottish Poetry Library for 6 years. As well as this, she is a Board Member of the Muriel Spark Society, the Burns Council and Jewish Literary Society.

Professor Gerard Carruthers FRSE

Professor Gerard Carruthers FRSE is Hutcheson Professor of Literature at the University of Glasgow. He serves as an area regional champion for the Royal Society of Edinburgh as well as being official honorary advisor on Robert Burns to the National Trust for Scotland. He convenes the ‘Burns Scotland’ nationally recognised partnership (archives, galleries, museums and local authorities which have Burns holdings), and is a longstanding supporter of social and cultural justice campaigns including those involving East Timor and CND. He is a member of Christians Against Torture and is Convenor of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association.

Emma Doherty

Emma Doherty is a recent graduate in media studies and creative writing, from Glasgow. Last year she took part in Scottish PEN’s Talking Doorsteps, a collaborative project between Scottish PEN, English PEN, PEN Honduras, Roundhouse and PEN International that brought together young aspiring poets. Through her writing, Emma works towards expressing the issues related to the stigma surrounding mental health. Her poetry creates space for others to not only feel safe but to be heard.

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.

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. 

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

Rebecca Sharp

Rebecca Sharp is a writer with a specialism in interdisciplinary practice; originally from Glasgow, now based in Fife. Plays include The Air That Carries The Weight with Stellar Quines theatre company at the Traverse theatre (2016). Prose includes Little Forks / Forcan Beaga ­– a publication and performed reading which toured the UK in English and Gaelic (2012-14). Poetry includes Unmapped (2013), a publication and exhibition with artist Anna King at StAnza poetry festival and the RGI Kelly Gallery. In 2020 she received a Literature Matters Award from the Royal Society of Literature. She co-organises Platform poetry and music sessions in Fife. In 2017 Rebecca coordinated Scottish PEN’s 90th anniversary touring exhibition, before joining the board. She co-edited the Scottish PEN anthology Declarations on Freedom for Writers and Readers (Scotland Street Press 2020).

Andrew Tickell

Andrew Tickell is a lecturer in law at Glasgow Caledonian University, focusing on constitutional law, criminal law, and fundamental rights. He is also a freelance writer and commentator whose bylines include the Times, Scotland on Sunday, the Daily Record and the National. He contributes regularly to BBC Scotland on legal and political questions.  

There are currently vacancies for the board, and we would be pleased to hear from you if you would be interested in participating. If you would like to join one of the sub-committees (Women Writers, Writers at Risk, Writers in Exile and Writers for Peace) please do get in touch as well – we would love to have you on board.


Project Manager: Lisa Clark

Finance & Administration Worker: Caroline Whitham

You can contact the Scottish PEN office in Edinburgh at info@scottishpen.org

Committee members

Writers at Risk

Writers for Peace

Writers in Exile

Women Writers