Catriona Yule

Catriona Yule

I first started writing poetry in the early 90s whilst studying at Dundee University. I had originally been accepted to study for an MA in Politics and Social Policy but by 2nd year, was so inspired by the English Literature course, I pursued the English Honours route.

At Dundee, I got the chance to see Liz Lochhead for the first time and Tag Theatre's production of A Clockwork Orange which still rates as one of my most awesome experiences! Other works that influenced me were Kafka's Metamorphosis, Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and, in particular, American writers Tom Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut and John Updike.

My rather bizarre poetry met with very mixed approval by publishers, so it took me until 2001 to take the scary step of joining a poetry group. The feedback I received from members at Spring Tides in Aberdeen is probably the main reason I am still writing today. This is also where I met Haworth Hodgkinson and so began my involvement with Lemon Tree Writers.

Not only have I received constructive feedback on my writing, but the Lemon Tree group has enabled me to link up with a vibrant community of writers who are proactively ensuring that Aberdeen plays a major part in the literature circuit. It is an invaluable source of information for new writers and gives them a platform for performing their writing. I am now a regular performer in Aberdeen and have also read at festivals in Pennan and Shetland.

In 2004, I attended an Arvon Playwriting course led by Liz Lochhead and Alan Plater. This will go down as one of the most inspirational weeks of my life. Alan Plater told me to finish my play – needless to say I'm now the biggest hero worshipper that ever lived! This experience gave me a lot of confidence to pursue my writing and to tell myself that hearing voices is not just crazy! In 2005, I was lucky enough to have the same play, Kitten Heels produced as a rehearsed reading at Aberdeen Arts Centre alongside Gráinne Smith's Vibrations. Gráinne has been a constant source of advice and inspiration and continues to bowl me over with her amazing enthusiasm.

I am currently aiming to develop my fiction writing by studying Storylines, a creative writing course in the Open College of the Arts programme which has allowed me to explore narrative techniques, and to develop characterisation. The one-to-one feedback I have received has been immensely useful and I continue to learn all the time.

Together with Knotbrook Taylor and Haworth Hodgkinson, I find the idea of experimenting with music, visual imagery and poetry very exciting and see the Blue Salt Collective as a vehicle for dabbling in a number of creative forms.

Photo of Catriona Yule by Sally McIntosh

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