Valerie Gillies

Non-fiction writer, Poet

Valerie Gillies is a poet and non-fiction writer, whose books include Tweed Journey and The Lightning Tree. As a young poet, she was awarded the Eric Gregory prize and several Scottish Arts Council book awards, while as a mature poet she became the Edinburgh Makar, poet laureate to the city, from 2005 till 2008. She received a Creative Scotland award to write new poems inspired by the springs and wells of Scotland and Ireland, and The Spring Teller appeared in 2009, along with a public outreach project in the healing art of poetry.

Valerie frequently collaborates with visual artists and several of her inscriptions feature in the Scottish landscape, with text on stone or bronze at sites such as Galloway Forest Park and along the River Tweed. Her knowledge of the land has led her to write many poems on the theme of archaeology: the Trimontium Trust recognised this by making her their Poeta Vatesque (poet and seer) for life.

An educator and writer-in-residence at universities, Valerie specialises in the field of arts in healthcare, having worked as a sessional artist with hospital patients for Artlink, and she is currently facilitating the writing workshops at Maggie’s Cancer Centre in Edinburgh.

Valerie lives with her husband William in Edinburgh and occasionally in Massachusetts. In 2009–10 and in 2013–14, she was researching and writing as an associate of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. A volume of her New Selected Poems is forthcoming.

Valerie Gillies has published nine collections of poetry and one book of non-fiction. Her most recent volume, The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems, was shortlisted for the Saltire Award in 2016. She is a former Edinburgh Makar, poet laureate to the city. Valerie was a Royal Literary Fellow at Queen Margaret University for two years. She has been Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Edinburgh for several years and was an Associate of Harvard University in 2014 – 2015. She has delivered writing sessions for BRIDGE at the LEAPS Summer School for the past two years and most recently at Boroughmuir High School.

More from Valerie Gillies


Valerie Gillies

Non-fiction writer, Poet




  • Queen Margaret University, 2010–2012
  • Bridge Fellow