Kerry Hudson

‘I feel that perhaps the title, ‘Writer in Service’ would be the most appropriate title. It’s my belief that when you take on a role like this, you then work for the people in that community and for the overarching aims of the festival as a whole.

By the people, for the people. I would make this a ‘Power to the People’ residency.

I aim to engender an environment that meets writers’ needs and create a safe, enjoyable space especially for those who might be completely new to writing and live literature. As a first-generation writer, teacher, and activist, I am passionate about the accessibility and the quality of workshops and events offered within the community which can be the difference between someone writing and reading for life or feeling ‘it’s for other people’.

One of my fundamental beliefs about writing and literature in the community is that often you have to go to the people rather than have them come to you. For many, and I include myself at the beginning of my career, it can be incredibly intimidating to step into a space where you’re expected to simply create, learn or experiment if you haven’t done so before. Therefore, in creating informal taster sessions in unexpected places you can often feed those with a desire to progress or explore further into the stream of more involved and developed writing workshops.’

Kerry Hudson

Our 2023 Festival Writer-in-Residence

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Her first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA was published in 2012 by Chatto & Windus (Penguin Random House) and was the winner of the Scottish First Book Award while also being shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, THIRST, was published in 2014 by Chatto & Windus and won France’s most prestigious award for foreign fiction, the Prix Femina Étranger. It was also shortlisted for the European Premio Strega in Italy. Her books are also available in the US (Penguin), France (Editions Philippe Rey), Italy (Minimum Fax) and Turkey.

Her latest book and memoir, LOWBORN, takes her back to the towns of her childhood as she investigates her own past and what it means to be poor in Britain today. It was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, a Guardian and Independent Book of the Year. It was longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and Portico Prize and shortlisted in the National Book Token, Books Are My Bag Reader’s Awards and the Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
Kerry was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. She founded The WoMentoring Project and Breakthrough Festival. She has written for Grazia, Guardian, Observer New Review, Big Issue and the Metro newspaper. She was a writer in residence for the British Council in South Korea and Latvia, mentored with IdeasTap Inspires, TLC and Curtis Brown Academy, teaches for the Arvon Foundation. She lives in Glasgow’s Southside.

The Writer in Residence at the Paisley Book Festival presents an opportunity for a mid-career writer to engage creatively with the festival’s remit, programme and themes, and to use their skills and experience to support the work and passions of local reading and writing groups. One of the main aims of this role is to work with local communities and help us reach wider audiences. This post is funded by Creative Scotland.