• ©
  • Calum Colvin

Alan Spence

  • Glasgow


Alan Spence was born in Glasgow and is a poet, novelist, short story writer and playwright.

He is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen and, with his wife, runs the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He has been the Artistic Director of the Word Festival since 1999.

His poetry includes two books of haiku: Seasons of the Heart (2000); and Clear Light (2005). A further collection, Glasgow Zen was first published in 1981, and an expanded edition republished in 2002. His short story collections are Its Colours They Are Fine (1977) and Stone Garden (1995), which won him the 1995 Scottish Writer of the Year Award.

In 1990, Alan Spence published his first novel, The Magic Flute, and this has been followed by two further novels: Way to Go (1998), and The Pure Land (2006), based on the life of Thomas Glover.

His published plays are Sailmaker (1983), Space Invaders (1983), Changed Days (1991), and The 3 Estaites (2002).

Recent books include Silver: An Aberdeen Anthology (2009), a selection of poems he edited with Hazel Hutchinson, and the novel Night Boat (2014), based on the life of Zen master Hakuin.


No Nothing
Night Boat
Morning Glory with Dame Elizabeth Blackadder
Sailmaker Plus
Silver: An Aberdeen Anthology
The Pure Land
Clear Light
The 3 Estaites
Seasons of the Heart
Way to Go
Stone Garden
Changed Days: Memories of an Edinburgh Community
The Magic Flute
Space Invaders
Glasgow Zen
Its Colours They Are Fine


Scottish Arts Council Book Award
Scottish Arts Council Book Award
TMA Regional Theatre Award
McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year
Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Competition
Glasgow Herald People's Prize
Scottish Arts Council Book Award