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John was born and brought up in Dalry, Ayrshire, attended Dalry High School, Strathclyde University and Jordanhill College. and spent most of his teaching career as Principal Teacher of English in Garnock Academy, Kilbirnie, from 1973 until he retired in 2009.  He has been secretary of the Education Committee of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies for over 25 years, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the ASLS in 2011 and represented the Association on the Ministerial Working Group on Scottish Studies in 2011-12.  He was Chairman of Dalry Burns Club in 2014 and his production of Robert Burns’ The Jolly Beggars’ took centre stage at the Killie Summer Burns Fest in 2022.  His poem ‘The Hilltap Toon’ was filmed in 2019 with over 150 Dalry folk involved, while a revised version of his play 'Bessie Dunlop the Witch o Dalry' was re-published by the Association for Scottish Literature, both as an e-book and a print edition in 2022.  He won a first prize for a drama script and second prize for a short story in the Imprint Book Festival run by East Ayrshire in 2018 and was chosen as Scots Language Champion at the Hands up for Trad Awards, 2021.  Today John is still writing poems and plays when he has the time!


Bessie Cover Art.jpg

Bessie Dunlop the Witch O Dalry

Based on the historical record of Bessie Dunlop's 'confession' to witchcraft in the sixteenth-century Scotland.

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