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Issue 15

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Selection of contributions for publication in Issue 16 is now complete

Selections for Issue 16 of Pushing Out the Boat are now complete and successful contributors have been notified by email. Once again, the standard of submissions was very high, giving the selection panels a difficult (but enjoyable) task. So, congratulations to all successful contributors and commiserations to those who were unsuccessful – we had many fine entries but not enough space to include them all.

If you made a submission to Issue 16 you can check the details, including confirmation of whether or not it has been chosen for publication, by logging in and visiting the My POTB page.

The hard work of editing and design is currently underway, with publication due in April.

POTB would like to say a huge thank you to all who submitted, both those who were successful and those who were not. We hope you will enjoy Issue 16 when it is published and be inspired to submit again to future issues.

Further details on submission and publication process.

Seasons Greetings from Pushing Out the Boat

Welcome to Pushing Out the Boat’s newsletter, our round-up of 2020 and a hopeful look forward to 2021.

This has to be the strangest year yet for us. As November came and went, we were reminded of Thomas Hood’s poem – ‘No sun – no moon!/No morn – no noon/ … November!’ Or in our case – no meetings, no events, no retail outlets open …

Our Covid challenges were minimal compared to those who have suffered isolation or worse. But like everyone we too had to adapt.

In March we bid farewell to Freda Hasler and Martin Walsh, who were our driving force for many issues. Our intention to hold an evening of readings to celebrate their contribution has been thwarted by Covid, although we will return to it when we can. By way of compensation, we were pleased to publish a brief tribute to Martin and Freda on our website.

Following Martin and Freda’s departure we welcomed two new colleagues on board, editor Lily Greenall (an introduction to Lily appeared on our website) and magazine designer Claire Martin. Both bring youth and important new skills to our team.

Claire’s arrival was a first for us. Rather than our usual chat over coffee and a fine piece with new volunteers to see if we were suited for each other, we met via Zoom. Which leads us neatly to another impact of the virus – all our team meetings since March have been online. We miss the friendliness of getting together but our virtual meetings have been surprisingly effective and efficient.

Of course, our meetings are mainly there to help plan and launch our next magazine. There’s always a decision needed as to whether we have the resources to publish another issue and Covid added another uncertainty this year. But we were pleased in June to make the decision to go ahead with Issue 16. Our call for submissions has had a record number of contributions, all now being evaluated.

Pushing Out the Boat 16 will be launched in Spring 2021, if not at our traditional afternoon of readings, then virtually.

Our usual live events and a more active approach to sales have been necessarily limited this year. We did take part in one evening of readings at Aberdeen University’s online WayWORD festival. Many of the retail outlets who stock our magazine have been closed or operating under restrictive conditions. But if you need any last minute Christmas gifts or stocking fillers, you can purchase Issue 15 in our online shop at the special price of £5 including free postage and packing to the UK, plus a free gift message.

As always, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, certainly a more positive one than we’ve all just experienced.

Pushing Out the Boat Christmas offer

The ideal gift for friends and relatives near and far.

To celebrate Christmas and the approach of 2021, we’re pleased to make this special offer of our latest issue, with nearly a hundred pages of great prose, poetry and art:

  • Only £5 per copy
  • FREE post and packing anywhere in the UK, saving you £1.83 per copy
  • FREE gift message in your own words.
To order, just go to our online shop. For international deliveries, use our online order form.

POTB Writers nominated for Scots Writer of the Year

Pushing Out the Boat Writers nominated for Scots Writer of the Year

Pushing Out the Boat, North-East Scotland’s magazine of new writing and the visual arts, is pleased to see that two of its contributors who write in both Scots and Doric have been short-listed for the prestigious Scots Writer of the Year Award 2020.

Poet Sheila Templeton was born in Aberdeenshire and is also the winner of this year’s McCash Prize for Poetry in Scots. Her poem The Iceberg that Sunk the Titanic features in the current issue of the magazine. Most recently, she joined other Pushing Out the Boat contributors for an evening of readings at Aberdeen University’s WayWORD festival, where she also read a moving tribute to her late sister.

Originally from Fraserburgh, author Shane Strachan’s short story Dia de los Muertos appeared in Issue 13 of the magazine. He is also shortlisted with writer and performer Frieda Strachan for Scots Project of the Year for their collaboration Doric Dwams. Shane recently re-joined Pushing Out the Boat as a trustee and has been a member of the magazine’s prose panel.

Pushing Out the Boat editor Lily Greenall said, ‘It’s a tribute to the high quality of writing in Pushing Out the Boat that two of the writer of the year finalists have entrusted their work to us. The fact that both come from the North-East is a bonus.’

A total of five authors are short-listed authors for the writer of the year award. The winner will be decided by public vote online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/scotslanguageawards.

The winner of the award will be announced at an online ceremony on Saturday 24th October.

Pushing Out the Boat at the WayWORD Festival

Poetry and Prose Via Zoom at the WayWORD Festival

Despite the continuing COVID restrictions, Pushing Out the Boat was lucky enough to be involved in a literary showcase via Zoom last Sunday night on the 27th of September. Combined with readers from Leopard Arts, a literary collective run by Creative Writing students at the University of Aberdeen, five regular POTB contributors took to the (virtual) stage to showcase some of their work. The event was the final reading on the WayWORD programme and was chaired jointly by myself and by Leopard Arts editor, Will Creed.

The Leopard Arts crew went first and provided a range of spectacular pieces, from spoken word poetry on the theme of modern life under pandemic conditions, to musings on American politics. After this hard act to follow, our segment of the evening was opened by Judy Taylor. Judy began her reading with Gerard Rocheford’s poem “Scarecrow”: a touching tribute to the North East poet, who died at the end of last year (Judy wrote a separate appreciation of  Gerard on our blog earlier this year). Judy, who is a long-standing POTB team member, regular contributor, and a panellist on this year’s prose selection panel for Issue 16 of the magazine, then read one of her own poems about austerity and the pinched economic landscape of recent years.

Next up, Aberdeen based writer and author of the 2019 poetry collection, Fallen Stock, John Bolland read an evocative vignette set in and around the Aberdeen oil scene. Capturing the grim and gritty feel of the North East, Bolland’s reading made fine use of the distinctive Aberdeen dialect and granite scenery. John’s reading led on to a reading by acclaimed Aberdeenshire author, Sheila Templeton, who has just been announced the winner of this year’s McCash Prize for Poetry in Scots. Sheila read poems from her upcoming collection, Clyack, which is due to published later this month. The first of these was a moving dedication to her late sister, while another was written in Scots and charted the experience of her “Granda” who, on his journey across the Atlantic in 1912, believed he saw the very same iceberg that sunk the Titanic. “The Iceberg that Sunk the Titanic” is published in Issue 15, the current issue of Pushing Out the Boat.

After this, Gavin Gilmour read an excerpt from his current work in progress: a novel set in the North East that features an angry and apathetic young man as its protagonist. With pithy dialogue and touches of dark humour, Gavin’s piece built a strong sense of place and character and undoubtedly made listeners eager to hear more. Forfar writer Eleanor Fordyce concluded the evening’s readings, finishing with a pair of poems written in Doric and, once more, capturing the strong voice of the North East that defined the evening’s performances.

The reading was attended by around 50 audience members, who could watch the readers from home on their own Zoom connections. The event concluded with a lively Q & A session in the Zoom chat and was a lovely way to end a festival that had featured so many inspiring local events. Although many of the readers commented that it was certainly a new and strange experience reading to a webcam rather than a live audience, the event went off without technical glitches and suggests a welcome possibility for future POTB events in the time of corona. Although not yet online, all WayWORD Festival events were recorded and will be available for online viewing soon!


From left to right: Lily, Judy, John, Sheila, Gavin, Eleanor

Submissions to Issue 16 are now closed

The call for submissions to Issue 16 of Pushing Out the Boat closed on 30th September 2020. We received a record number of submissions to this issue – thanks to all who submitted.

Now the selection process begins, during which the Selection Panels will review all the entries received and make their choice of items to go forward to the publication. Once the selection process is complete, successful contributors will be notified by email. We aim to launch Issue 16 in April 2021.

POTB at the Wayword Festival

Pushing Out the Boat / Leopard Arts Showcase
Sunday 27th September @ 7pm

Join us at the Wayword Festival for an evening of online performances by writers
from Pushing Out the Boat and Leopard Arts.

POTB is pleased to announce that we will be teaming up with Leopard Arts on Sunday the 27th of September at 7 pm for the University of Aberdeen’s Wayword Festival. The event will be streamed virtually via the University’s IT platform and guests can register to attend through the  Festival Programme.

You can expect to enjoy some wonderful readings from contributors to our current Issue 15, as well as readings from writers who have contributed to previous issues, all of which are still available for sale online through the POTB website.

From poetry to spoken word to theatre, there is something truly for everyone!  We look forward to seeing you there!

Pushing Out the Boat in the time of corona

17th March 2020, and the Pushing Out the Boat crew sail into new territory – a virtual team meeting.

Only the most hermit-like reader wouldn’t be able to guess why: the corona lockdown of course.

We embarked on this latest stage of our voyage with some apprehension.

The immediate question was could the team manage the vagaries of Zoom between us so we could continue to ‘meet’? Well, three meetings, a few unintended sightings of passing pets, one member’s exotic (electronic) background of sea and sun and a dropped laptop or two later, the answer’s a definite yes. Of course, we miss the social aspect of a face-to-face encounter but on the plus side our meetings are at least half an hour shorter.

The bigger question was did we have the resource to produce a next issue under potentially extended lockdown conditions? Even here, technology came to our aid. At the time, we lacked a magazine designer. Luckily, the online recruitment resources of Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations/Volunteer Scotland and Creative Scotland identified a number of promising volunteers and after a Zoom getting-to-know-you session, we were pleased to welcome Claire Martin as our new magazine designer. We decided it was all systems go for our 16th issue

The prescience of other team members (not this one) means that authors, poets and artists submitting work to Pushing Out the Boat no longer have to wrestle with paper or canvas, packaging, getting to a Post Office during lockdown, and the tender mercies of the Royal Mail to deliver their precious cargo to us. Submissions have been completely online for a while now: registering an interest and uploading text and graphic files couldn’t be easier. If you’re tempted to try your hand at submitting work, just go to our Submissions page before 30th September and take it from there.

Less positively, corona has had an impact on the steady stream of sales we usually enjoy between issue launches. Most of our wonderful vendors have been closed or operating under severe restrictions for some months now. If you need a magazine fix but can’t visit them, you can still order a copy of Issue 15 online, as well as earlier issues available at a discounted price.

Finally, those of you in the North-East of Scotland may have attended one of our reading events in the past. Frustratingly, these have had to be put on hold at a time when physical gatherings have not been possible. But technology and Aberdeen University have come to our aid: we are sharing an online platform with Leopard Arts for an hour’s online performance at the WayWORD Festival at 7 p.m. on Sunday 27th September. You can register here to view the session. It may be a precursor of other online events to come …

Footnote. Before this article went to press, a further local lockdown was introduced in our hometown of Aberdeen as there was a spike in corona cases associated with the hospitality industry (pubs, clubs and restaurants). All at Pushing Out the Boat hope you’re safe from the virus wherever you are in the world.

Call for submissions to Issue 16

Submissions of writing and artwork are invited to Issue 16 of Pushing Out the Boat, North-East Scotland’s acclaimed magazine of prose, poetry and visual arts. The window for submissions is 1 July – 30 September 2020. Issue 16 will be published in Spring 2021.

Follow this link for further details on how to make a submission.