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'Agnes': writing witchcraft in The Golden Hours (Edinburgh Literary Salon)


The small army of men gathered around us gasps. He simply stares. Vision blurred from their blows, still I sense a pallor washing over his expression: an ashen wave of shame breaking before his hot, pulsing humiliation turns to rage.

'What did you call me?' Pale eyes peering, blinkless, he looms even closer than before. Cheeks stubbled; breath sour. We have been here for some time...

Compelling courageous readers to walk in the footsteps of Agnes Sampson, one of the first Scottish women accused of witchcraft and personally interrogated by King James VI himself, my 'Agnes' joins a glittering array of new writing within The Golden Hours, the latest anthology from Edinburgh Literary Salon.

With 'Gathering' as our overarching theme, our prose and poetry - in English, Scots and Gaelic - is gathered around either 'Dawn' or 'Dusk' (with Agnes's dark, fiercely feminist narrative forming part of the latter). Launched at an appropriately atmospheric evening Salon at the Outhouse in Edinburgh, it was wonderful to be part of a publication that features incredible writers like Catherine Simpson, Alycia Pirmohamed and Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Catherine and Marcas pictured with me below)!

It was also a particular pleasure to collaborate with students from Edinburgh Napier University's MSc Publishing programme for the final book's creation. Special shoutout to my excellent editor, Natalie Quinn, who I hope I'll have the chance to work with again as her dawning publishing career progresses.

Please order The Golden Hours here to read 'Agnes' in full and support Edinburgh Literary Salon's pioneering work. I hope you also enjoy the 'Golden Record' I made of our launch party!


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