Alan Spence

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Alan Spence (born 1947) is a Scottish writer and is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen,[1] where he is also artistic director of the annual WORD Festival. He was born in Glasgow, educated at Allan Glen's School[2] there, and much of his work is set in the city.

Spence is an award-winning poet and playwright, novelist and short-story writer, and has recently been commissioned by Scottish Opera to set words to a piece of music by Miriama Young.

His first work was the collection of short stories Its colours they are fine, first published in 1977. This was followed by two plays, Sailmaker in 1982 and Space Invaders in 1983. The novel The Magic Flute appeared in 1990 along with his first book of poetry Glasgow Zen. In 1991, another of his plays, Changed Days, was published before a brief hiatus.

He returned in 1996 with Stone Garden, another collection of short stories.

In 2006, The Pure Land, a historical novel set in Japan, was published by Canongate Books,[3] and is based on the life of Thomas Blake Glover who is allegedly immortalised in the story of Madame Butterfly.

Alan Spence is member of the Edinburgh Sri Chinmoy Centre and practises meditation.[4]


In 1996 and 2017 he became Scottish writer (Makar) of the year.[1][5][6]


  1. ^ a b :"Professor Alan Spence". Archived from the original on 2012-12-22. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  2. ^ Allan Glen's School Club Newsletter, Sept 2017
  3. ^ :Isaacson, David (2006-08-27). "The Pure Land by Alan Spence". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  4. ^ :"Professor Alan Spence". 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  5. ^ :"NEW MAKAR Who is Alan Spence? What's his background and what's he most famous for writing?". 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  6. ^ :"Award-winning poet set to be Edinburgh's new Makar". 2017-09-09. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 

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