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Programme 8: An interview with Alison Green

Broadcast 23 March 2023

Part 1 (12.5 mins): Introduction and welcome by Loraine, explaining her interest in Pushing Out the Boat and how she prepared for this show / Alison introduces herself and talks about speaking Doric and how it was discouraged when she was growing up/ Alison talks about how she started writing, then she gives the background to the story she’s going to read: Words O Wisdom frae my Omniscient Auntie [Issue 11, p66] / This is followed by music played on a tin whistle by Alison’s father, Alex Green


Part 2: (10 mins): Alison speaks about her father, Alex Green, and how he started playing the tin whistle / Alison reads her story The Six Wives O Harry Troup  [Issue 12, p22]

[Musical interlude: Six from the musical of the same name]

Part 3: (7.5 mins): Alison describes the experience of submitting to Pushing Out the Boat with some good advice for submitters / Alison speaks about what she like to read / This segment ends with the music Whistling Rufus played by Alex Green 

Part 4: (5 mins): Lorraine gives more details for Alex Green / Alison talks about the poem that has just been accepted for Issue 17, The Droont Quine [Issue 17, p14] / Loraine follows up with more information about Pushing Out the Boat / Loraine wraps up this interview and the series

[Programme ends with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams]

Other programmes in the series

Photos from the launch of Issue 17

Here are some photos taken at the launch of Issue 17 of Pushing Out the Boat on Sunday 21 May 2023 at the Phoenix Hall, Newton Dee, Aberdeen. A selection of contributors read poems and extracts from their stories and several of the contributing artists displayed their work in a small exhibition.

Click on a thumbnail below to view a slideshow of the event.

Scroll down for reflections on the event and full details of the programme.

The Launch of Issue 17

Pushing Out the Boat Issue 17 was launched on 21 May at an event in the Phoenix Hall, Newton Dee, Aberdeen. A selection of contributors and team members read poems and stories from the new issue and artists displayed the originals of their artwork in the foyer area. Here’s a reflection on the event by our coordinator, Roger White.

Pushing Out the Boat Issue 17 Launch
Is it really two years ago your humble scribe dashed out a blog post on our last magazine launch? Time passes quickly when you’re … well, when you’re in full recovery mode from two years of pandemic.

It seems a lifetime ago that we huddled around our screens for Pushing Out the Boat’s first Covid-cautious online launch in 2021. Now we could actually see the whites of our readers’ and artists’ eyes and engage them in real conversation beyond a sterile ‘chat box’.

If you’ve not been to one of our face-to-face launches, that’s exactly what you get. A chance to hear and discuss great poems and stories read by their authors to an attentive audience, as well a chance to view art suddenly sprung to life from the constraints of the A4 page.

As always, it’s invidious to pick out individual contributions from such a wealth of creativity (see full list below). But let’s especially acknowledge those who joined us from afar for the afternoon – from Dundee (well, just down the road, really), Edinburgh, West Lothian, Glasgow and even Kent. Our thanks especially to our youngest contributor, Niah Thomas and her mum Anna, who were those travellers from Kent. We hope you enjoyed the event (sorry about the Aberdeen weather).

Our thanks also to our foreword author this year, Shane Strachan, the current National Library’s Scots Scriever. You can read his kind words about the magazine (‘a visual feast across beautiful artworks and well-crafted images of language …’) in full here, along with a sample of writing from Issue 17 and a slideshow of the art in the magazine.

As well as our published authors and artists, we added a sprinkling of team members for the first time, reading their favourite pieces from authors unable to attend the launch. It worked for us and we hope it worked for our guests.

The difference from our 2021 online launch was instructive. You can’t beat the real human contact and buzz of a live event. But technology allows contributors and fans from afar to join in. Last time, people logged in from, amongst other places, Italy, Lithuania, Nigeria, and Switzerland. This year we had a plaintive contributor who wrote that she’d definitely have joined us if it hadn’t been for 3,000 miles of ocean between her and us. In all seriousness, could or should we manage a ‘hybrid’ online/face to face launch in 2025? That seems a long way off, but as I say time passes quickly …

Copies of Issue 17 are available from our online shop and from our vendors.

Photos from the launch coming shortly . . . watch this space.

Here is a full list of the readers and artists at our launch. Our thanks to all of them, as well as to those unable to join us.


Kim Crowder – Missives, Missiles, and Moves

Tabitha Gibb – Quite the Journey

Alison Green – The Droont Quine plus The Unmaking of Loneliness, by EM Strang

Karen Macfarlane – While I’m Being Born

Nicola Furrie Murphy – Blue Egg

Gillian Shearer – The Mynah Bird

Don J Taylor – The Sneck

Judith Taylor – Hill of Rubislaw

Niah Thomas (young poet) – The Double Headed Farm


Jean Gillespie – Net

 Nicola Furrie Murphy – Black Swan

Neil Russell – Travels with Kate 1: Incident at the Abbey

Charley Sim – Ulysses; The Ploughman; and The Giant and Me

Ruth Simpson – Magic Carpet Sunday Morning

Team members

Eleanor Fordyce – Scream If You Want Tae Go Faster, by Laura Fyfe

Claire Martin – Loch Lade and Fur Coats, by Elaine Morrison

Judith Taylor – Rewilding by Nathan Castle and Leaving by Dorit Green (both young poets)

Roger White – The Young-Laplace Equation, by Craig Aitchison


More Words Up on shmu FM

The arts programme Words Up on shmu FM ran a series of monthly broadcasts featuring Pushing Out the Boat in August 2022 – March 2023. The producers have kindly given us permission to publish copies of the broadcasts here for the benefit of those who were unable to listen live.

The first three progammes were published earlier on the blog. Here are the next four programmes.  The final programme will follow shortly.

We’ve split the programmes up into short sections, with a brief description of each, and (for copyright reasons) we’ve excluded the music played in these broadcasts.The presenter and interviewer for all the programmes is Loraine Mudie.

4. An interview with Douglas Bruton (broadcast 17 November 2022)

5. An interview with Heather Reid (broadcast 15 December 2022)

6. An interview with Vivien Jones (broadcast 19 January 2023)

7. An interview with Martin Walsh (broadcast 2 February 2023)

8. An interview with Alison Green (broadcast 23 March 2023)

Programme 7: An interview with Martin Walsh

Broadcast 2 February 2023

Part 1 (6 mins): Introduction and welcome by Loraine / Martin tells us about himself and how he became involved with Pushing Out the Boat / Martin paints the colourful background to the poem he’s about to read – New York Dialogue [Issue 14, p28]

[Musical interlude: New York, New York from On the Town]

Part 2: (10.5 mins): Martin talks about his time in Sierra Leone, working for VSO  then gives an introduction to the next story / Martin reads the first part of Momadu and the Sardine Fishers  [Issue 9, p74]


Part 3: (12.5 mins): The story pauses / Prompted by Lorraine, Martin speaks about meeting the Fante people featured in the story and his experiences going fishing with them / Martin reads the second part of Momadu and the Sardine Fishers  [Issue 9, p74]

Part 4: (2.5 mins): Lorraine and Martin chat about the story Martin has just read /Martin talks a bit more about the people of Sierra Leone and the legacy of the slave trade / Lorraine then reads Martin’s poem OoT a Bot’le [Issue 9, p25]

[Musical interlude: Good Morning Starshine from the musical Hair]

Part 5: (10 mins): Martin reads his story set in South America, Malupa and the Flying Bananas [Issue 11, p51]

[Musical interlude: Everybody Salsa by Modern Romance]

Part 6: (3.5mins): Martin talks to Lorraine about what he likes to read / Lorraine wraps up the interview, thanking Martin and giving details of how to contact her at shmu

[Programme ends with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams]
Recordings of the final programme coming shortly – see Words Up Schedule for dates and details.

Programme 6: An interview with Vivien Jones

Broadcast 19 January 2023

Part 1 (15 mins): Introduction and welcome by Loraine / Vivien talks about her writing career then reads her story Daniel Does Lunch [Issue 11, p7]

[Musical interlude: Food Glorious Food from the Oliver the musical]

Part 2: (23 mins): Vivien chats with Loraine about Pushing Out the Boat / Vivien speaks about her interest in Renaissance music and the background to the story she is about to read /To set the scene for the story, David Hatcher plays Recercada Segunda by Diego Ortez, on the viol, a piece recorded specially for this broadcast /  Vivien reads her story Muse and Rapture  [Issue 14, p77]

[Musical interlude: Twelve Bar Blues performed by Eric Clapton]

Part 3: (6 mins): Vivien talks about the connection between Eric Clapton and Renaissance music / Lorraine chats with Vivien about what she likes to read / Vivien explains the background to her next poem Last Night Supper Mevaggisey [Issue 12, p77]

[Musical interlude: Cornwall My Home by Fishermens Friends]

Part 4: (5 mins): Vivien talks about her latest writing project based on artifacts from the Devil’s Porridge Museum / Loraine wraps up the interview with details of how to find out more about Pushing Out the Boat

[Programme ends with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams]
Recordings of next programmes coming shortly – see Words Up Schedule for dates and details.

Programme 5: An interview with Heather Reid

Broadcast 15 December 2022

Part 1 (4.5 mins): Introduction and welcome by Loraine / Heather talks about her writing then reads her poem Saxicola torquata [Issue 14, p61]

[Musical interlude: African Drum Music by Headspace]

Part 2: (14 mins): Heather chats with Loraine about Pushing Out the Boat, the submission process, attending the launches and meeting the team / Heather reads her story Saving Olive Ridley [Issue 15, p14]

[Musical interlude: Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid]

Part 3: (9 mins): Heather gives the background to the poem she is about to read/ Heather reads her poem The Butcher’s Wife [Issue 15, p73] /

[Musical interlude: What’s love got to do with it? by Howard Jones]

Heather chats about what she likes to read, her latest work and her plans for the future / Loraine promotes Pushing Out the Boat  then winds up the interview with details of how to contact her at shmu

[Programme ends with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams]
Recordings of next programmes coming shortly – see Words Up Schedule for dates and details.

Programme 4: An interview with Douglas Bruton

Broadcast 17 November2022

Part 1 (18 mins): Loraine welcomes listeners and introduces Douglas Bruton /  Douglas speaks about his engagement with Pushing Out the Boat then gives the background to the story he is about to read / Douglas read his story When Coal was Lost [Issue 12, p72] / Loraine relates a memory inspired by Douglas’s story

[Musical interlude: Working Man by Rita McNeil]

Part 2: (18 mins): Inspired by the next story, Loraine relates a tale about William Penny, a distant relative then she reads Douglas’s story Waiting for William [Issue 11, p76]

[Musical interlude: Adagio for Strings Sea by Barber]

Part 3: (8 mins): Douglas speaks about his book Blue Postcards then reads an extract [available on Amazon] / Douglas chats about what he is reading at the moment and about his new book, being published in Feb 2023 / Loraine wraps up the interview

[Programme ends with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams]
Recordings of next programmes coming shortly – see Words Up Schedule for dates and details.

Oils well that ends well

‘Oil’s Well That Ends Well’: Pushing Out the Boat collaborates with University of Aberdeen and NDC on creative writing workshop

Recently, Pushing Out the Boat was offered the exciting opportunity to collaborate with the University of Aberdeen and the North East’s National Decommissioning Centre in hosting a youth creative writing workshop. The workshop was titled ‘Oil’s Well That Ends Well: New Energy Stories for the North East’ and was held in November at the Decommissioning Centre in Ellon.

It was attended by pupils aged 12-14 from Ellon Academy and was led by Shane Strachan: a well-known North East writer, current Scots Scriever, and long-time friend of Pushing Out the Boat. It was also organized by University of Aberdeen Ph.D. student, Ines Kirschner, who is specializing in the environmental humanities. The workshop aimed to encourage young people to share their views about environmental issues and climate change and to explore these ideas in a piece of flash fiction. The pieces were then entered into a competition.

Pushing Out the Boat is lucky enough to publish the winning entry here. ‘Then vs Now – A Time Before’ is a lovely, thoughtful piece about the possibility of a more sustainable world and a brighter, greener future. The writer is Erin Moore, who is an S3 student at Ellon Academy. Congratulations, Erin!

Then vs Now: A Time Before

Then vs Now: A Time Before

The year is 2047, the Eco-Friendly Act has been active for just over 15 years now. I wonder sometimes if life would be better with all that new tech they banned, but then I look at my history books and realise that humanity would’ve died out if we had continued the way we were.

My name’s Emma. I’m writing this as an essay for my history project at school. I’m 15 years old. Before the Eco-Friendly Act in 2032, people were animals. They were horrible to each other. Girls calling other girls names because she couldn’t afford the newest designer clothes, boys fighting other boys because they want a girl to like them. It was hellish.

The worst part about it all was that they knew they were killing the planet, and they did nothing. Nothing at all. All advancements in new tech were harmful and toxic to the environment and even the people who tried to change things were quickly shot down by government officials because they couldn’t profit from it.

The Act was only put into place after the 2029 Great Pacific Garbage Patch grew so large that it started to affect major businesses, halving the income for those who denied there was a problem.

The Eco-Friendly Act meant that we could no longer participate in the usage of fossil fuels, we could no longer cut back the forests for use in industry. We were forced to co-exist with nature.

This brings us to where we are now. Skyscrapers are overgrown with flowers and vibrant plants, as all new buildings must incorporate vertical gardens to combat the toxic greenhouse gases that have been pumped into our atmosphere for generations. We now use a mixture of solar, wind and wave power to supply electricity worldwide via the new Nikola Tesla Wi-Fi grid to provide greener energy for next to nothing. Our restored symbiotic relationship with the planet is only just beginning. However, we now hope for a future together.

 By Erin Moore – S3 Pupil at Ellon Academy