Creative Thursday - Kate Tough
Today's Creative Thursday interview is with poet Kate Tough who also co-runs the regular poetry nights at The Ivory.
Where in the Southside are you based?
I live on the far edge of Clarkston, by the fields and woods of High Flenders Road. It’s beautiful, but I’m ready to be closer to Shawlands. If anyone has a quiet, leafy flat to rent out, or a nice Newlands ‘annexe’, let me know.
What do you do?
I write, publish, perform and collaborate with others in the genres of fiction and poetry. Also, I host space for writers to share work and inspire each other, and I tutor new writers.
In fiction, the main focus was a first novel, written 2007-10, revised 2011-12, and published by Cargo in May 2014. It’s character-driven, with a distinctive narrative voice that incorporates my poetic bent. Others tell me it’s laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreaking, too; if that’s true, I’m pleased.
In poetry I publish a range of work; from short, quiet nature meditations, to gobby analyses of love, to experimental pieces made with black-markered documents and found bits of paper.
In Shawlands, I co-run Poetry@TheIvory, the regular showcase night where Scottish headline poets and new, local poets share the same stage. We have a reputation for relaxed, egalitarian, stunning loveliness. Come along.
Summary of your background?
After uni and travel, I worked at Greencity Wholefoods, then the Scottish Parliament. I left to do the Glasgow Masters in Creative Writing. Since graduating in 2008, I’ve worked in the arts and education: lecturing in creative writing, running a drama drop-in, teaching animation in afterschool clubs and, recently, undertaking a PGDE.
Tell us about your favourite piece of your work?
Well, the fun of the moment is coming from the novel, Head for the Edge, Keep Walking. It was a long, solitary journey to write and redraft it, but it had supporters along the way (such as Creative Scotland) which helped my diligence. After years of not knowing why I kept going, it ended up with three publication offers. Choosing Cargo was the best decision – what a wonderful team. Collaborating with other specialists (on editing, cover design, promotion) and benefitting from their expertise is a privilege. It’s been a strange, humbling experience to have readers now, too – people who’ve spent £9 on the 80k words I determinedly crafted. Their support and appreciative feedback has meant more than I realised it could. They’re superstars.
What's next? Upcoming shows, exhibitions, projects.
Check www.katetough.com for full details of what’s coming up, including: a Scottish Literature Residency at Cove Park; airing the novel (Edinburgh Book Fest, 11 August & Cargo-Saraband Commonwealth Fest, July-August); reading poetry at the launch of four.fold (Tell It Slant bookshop, 27 June); plus a collaborative performance on the Auld Enemies tour (10 July. A major event in UK experimental poetry, supported by Creative Scotland.)
What is your favourite creative blog/ website or other source of inspiration?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again) Sunny Govan radio station is the 8th wonder of the world. It’s a beacon of authenticity in a sound-sea of constrained, contrived, banal sh*te.
What key piece of advice do you wish you'd known?
There’s seldom a single right answer. There isn’t one, right way to do things. The way you want to do it is just fine – so get on with it.
Tell us your favourite place/ space in the Southside?
If a non-tangible phenomenon can be a ‘space’… then my favourite space is the Southside’s commitment to community. That ‘common weel’ spirit is evidenced everywhere, from the Glad Cafe, to the Govanhill Baths project, to Locavore, Urban Roots, Merry-Go-Round and more.
Name another Southside creative whose work you admire?
I’ve become a huge fan of local poet Alexander (Sandy) Hutchison – a mighty talent who’s also a top-notch kind of bloke. www.alexanderhutchison.com
If money was no option what would you change about the Southside?
I’d bring the subway system out as far as Cathcart, so the Southside and West End were connected in one big love-loop, and I’d have it running till 3am.
Tell us one other interesting fact about you?
The debut novel was fiction when I wrote it (2007-2010) but elements within it have come true since it was written. Weird.