A STIRLING student is this week celebrating after publishing her very first book in a lockdown project led by award-winning writer Kevin P Gilday.

University of Stirling publishing student Natalie Jayne Clark has worked with the author to edit and market an anthology of work for an online group called The Scribbler's Union.

The Scribbler's Union was started by Kevin P Gilday at the start of the coronavirus lockdown as a free and accessible group for anyone who wanted to join.

Online sessions have become a lifeline for many in the group, who have been exercising their creative muscles for the past months, all under the guidance of the Scottish writer.

And just 10 months after the group started, Natalie and Kevin worked together to collate and edit poems from members, which have just been released in a book.

Natalie, an MLitt Publishing student, has been a part of The Scribbler's Union since it started after lockdown cancelled performances and shows for the foreseeable future.

She said: “Joining The Scribbler’s Union helped me unearth my poetic voice.

“Each week Kevin challenged us with new structures, styles, prompts, literary techniques and, most significantly for me, a toolkit of performance techniques.

“When I think back to the very first week of our writing group, I can’t believe how nervous I was and how simple my writing was.

“Now, I have performed confidently at several open mics and I placed second in my very first poetry competition.

“Kevin has given me – given us all – an astounding amount of confidence and self-esteem. He has created something very special.”

Many of the members had no prior experience in writing, but Kevin has been nurturing their talents over the course of nearly 40 sessions.

Most have never dreamed of penning poetry, never mind seeing their work in print.

Kevin, an award-winning writer and performer, said: “Founding The Scribbler's Union has been a revelation.

“What started as a way for me to share knowledge and connect has turned into a thriving community of writers.

“We now have 30 budding poets joining my classes and creating work every week.

Stirling News: Award-winning writer and performer Kevin P GildayAward-winning writer and performer Kevin P Gilday

“For me, this anthology is the fruits of our labour - this is the evidence of the commitment and hard work paying off for my students.

“When the classes started most of the participants had never written a poem before, and here they are - less than a year later - becoming published poets.

“Working with Natalie on this project has been a delight.

“To see the passion she has poured into making this book a reality is really heartening.

“The Scribbler's Union has always been about embracing challenges and taking yourself out of your comfort zone, and Natalie - as a writer and publisher - has absolutely typified that.”

The book is available in paperback format here

A launch party will be held online tonight, Tuesday February 9, and will be live on Kevin P Gilday's Facebook page.