Professor Louise Welsh

  • Professor of Creative Writing (English Literature)

Research interests

Research interests

Louise Welsh works in several forms including novels, short stories, opera libretti, performance and sound art. Louise enjoys exploring and crossing genres and has collaborated with poets, composers, architects, visual artists, theatre directors and actors. Recent interdisciplinary projects have included explorations of Scotland’s relationship with the North Atlantic slave trade, its history and how contemporary society confronts and acknowledges it. A frequent broadcaster, she has written and presented radio features on many topics including Scottish history, gothic, Robert Louis Stevenson and contemporary art.  Her ongoing interests include pandemics, performance, gothic literature, crime fiction and ghost stories.  


Louise Welsh has a long relationship with the University of Glasgow. She graduated MA (Hons) in history in 1990 and gained a MLitt in Creative Writing (Distinction) in 2000 from the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. Louise was writer in residence for University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art from November 2010 to April 2012.

Louise is the author of seven novels, most recently Death is a Welcome Guest (John Murray 2015). She has written many short stories and articles and is the author of three plays. She has edited volumes of prose and poetry and contributed to various journals and anthologies.  She is the editor of Yonder Awa, a collection of poetry on the theme of Scotland and the North Atlantic slave trade by Scottish and Caribbean writers and Ghost a collection of one hundred ghost stories from Pliny the Younger to James Robertson (Head of Zeus, 2015). Louise has presented over thirty features for BBC Radio including, Scotland’s Plague Years (BBC Radio Scotland) Bannockburn Begins (BBC Radio 3) and Welsh’s Scottish Journey (BBC Radio 4). Other radio appearances include BBC Radio 4: Open Book, A Good Read, Saturday Review, Front Row, Women’s Hour; BBC Radio 3: The Verb, Night Waves; BBC Radio Scotland: The Culture Café, Fred McAulay Show, Breaking the News.

Louise has received numerous awards and international fellowships, including an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University and an honorary fellowship from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. She wrote the libretto for the opera Ghost Patrol, music by Stuart MacRae, a co-production between Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, which premiered at 2012’s Edinburgh International Festival before going on a nine city tour. The production won a Southbank/Sky Arts Award and was shortlisted for an Olivier Award.

In 2014 Louise was co-founder and director (with Jude Barber) of the Empire Café, an award winning, multi-disciplinary exploration of Scotland’s relationship with the North Atlantic slave trade. The project was included in the City of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme.

Louise has written the libretto for the forthcoming production of a new opera The Devil Inside, music by Stuart MacRae, a joint Scottish Opera/Music Theatre Wales production which will tour in 2016.

She is Honorary President of the Ullapool Book Festival.

Learn more about Louise Welsh at or follow her on twitter @louisewelsh00


 Forthcoming projects include:

  • A new novel, the third and final volume of the Plague Times Trilogy.
  • A new collaboration with Jude Barber of Collective Architecture on a fresh incarnation of the Empire Café, a multi-disciplinary project exploring wealth distribution and land ownership
  • A BBC Radio Scotland feature exploring the devil in Scottish literature


Selected Grants, Residencies and Invitations

Louise was co-founder and director of The Empire Café (in collaboration with Jude Barber of Collective Architecture) a 2014 Commonwealth Games Project.

The Empire Café attracted grants totalling over £135 000. Funders included Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life, British Council, National Lottery, 14:18 NOW, RCAHMS, Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Merchant City Voices sound art collaboration with Jude Barber of Collective Architecture exploring Glasgow and the North Atlantic slave trade, was funded by a grant of £15000 from Glasgow Life (2012)

 Residencies include:

  • International Artists’ Residency, Cove Park (2012)
  • Writer in Residence, University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art (2010–12)
  • Fellow in Writing, University of Iowa’s International Writers’ Programme (2011)
  • Villa Hellebosch, Vollezele, Flanders (2009)
  • Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, Umbria, Italy (2008)
  • Internationales Künstlerhaus, Villa Concordia, Bamberg, Germany (2006-07)
  • Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts, Toronto Island, Canada (2005)
  • Hawthornden Fellowship (2005)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Award (2003) 

Additional information



•             Death is a Welcome Guest, John Murray Publishing (2015)

•             A Lovely Way to Burn, John Murray Publishing (2014)

•             The Girl on the Stairs, John Murray Publishing (2012)

•             Naming the Bones, Canongate Books (2010)

•             The Bullet Trick, Canongate Books (2006)

•             Tamburlaine Must Die, Canongate Books (2004)

•             The Cutting Room, Canongate Books (2002)



•             Ghost, One Hundred Stories to Read with the Lights On, Head of Zeus Publishing (Oct 2015)

•             Yonder Awa, Poetry from the Empire Café, Collection of eighteen poems exploring Scotland and the North Atlantic slave trade commissioned from Caribbean and Scottish poets (2014)

•             Best Scottish Poems 2012 (with Zoë Strachan) Scottish Poetry Library (2013)

•             Tip Tap Flat, A View of Glasgow (with student editorial board) an anthology of Glasgow themed creative writing and graphics from staff and students at Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow, Freight Books (2012)

Introductions, Prefaces and Afterwords:

•             Graham Fagan, Scotland & Venice Catalogue, Venice Biennale (2015)

•             Generation, 25 Years of Contemporary Scottish Art, National Galleries of Scotland (2014)

•             Dead Sharp, interviews with crime writers, Ed. Len Wanner, Two Ravens Press (2011)

•             Fighting It, short stories by Regi Claire, Two Ravens Press (2009)

•             Sub Rosa a play by David Leddy, Fairplay Press (2009)

•             Selected Short Stories by DH Lawrence, Ed. Sue Wilson, Penguin Books (2007)

•             Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, Canongate Books (2007) 

•             Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming, Penguin Books (2006)


 •            The Importance of Being Alfred published in Short Scottish Plays (Nick Hearne Books, 2010)

Selected Articles, Features and Reviews:  

•             ‘A Book that Changed Me’, The Guardian (August 2015)

•             Programme Notes for Titus Andronicus, directed by Stewart Laing for Dundee Rep (2015)

•             Review of Anne Rice’s Brat Prince Lestat, The Guardian (October 2014)

•             Review of Kerry Hudson’s Thirst, The Guardian (July 2014)


•             Mary Queen of Scots Monologue, ‘Dear Scotland’ National Theatre of Scotland/Scottish National Portrait Gallery (April 2014)

•             Review of Tom Rob Smith’s The Farm, The Guardian (5th February 2014)


•             On the Edge, Review of The Quarry by Iain Banks, Book of the Week, The Times (15th June 2013)

•             Review of The Dinner by Herman Koch, The Guardian (18th August 2012)

•             ‘No Jetpacks, No Future?’ Second Lives, Cargo/University of Pittsburgh (July 2012)

•             ‘Gothic Edinburgh’, Podcast for The Guardian (19th August 2011)

•             ‘Rigoletto – Beauty and the Beasts’, Scottish Opera Website (April 2011)

•             Review of Night Waking by Sarah Moss, Financial Times (27th February 2011)

•             ‘James Pryde, the Edgar Allan Poe of Painting’, The Bottle Imp, Association of Scottish Literary Studies E-zine (Nov 2009)

•             ‘Arthur Conan Doyle’s Other Lost World’, (25th May 2009)

•             ‘Robert Louis Stevenson and the Theatre of the Brain’, Journal of Stevenson Studies, Vol. 5, Ed. Prof Roderick Watson, Centre for Scottish Studies, University of Stirling (Jan 2009 )

•             ‘Murder They Wrote; Death of the Amateur Detective?’ Financial Times, (23rd August 2008)

•             ‘The Memory Man’, review of The Man Without by Ray Robinson, The Guardian (9th August 2008)

Selected Short Stories:

•             The Face at the Window, E-book anthology of three short ghost stories, John Murray (2014)

•             ‘Dear Soldier’ Eds. Neil Bartlett and Kate Pullinger, William Collins (2014)

•             ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ (with Zoë Strachan) ‘Glasgow Women’s Library 21 Revolutions’, Freight Books (2014)

•             ‘The Face at the Window, the Wave of the Hand’, BBC Radio 4 (2013) Anthologised in ‘Out There’, ed. Zoë Strachan, Freight Books (2014)

•             ‘An Attempt at Exhausting a Scene in Glasgow’, Clockworks (2012)

•             ‘The Queen of Craigilee’, BBC Radio 4 (17th August 2011)

•             ‘Realm of the Census’, BBC Radio 4 (24th March 2011)

•             ‘Christmas Spirits’ (with Zoë Strachan) The Sunday Herald (December 2010)

•             ‘Hootennany’s’, BBC Radio 3 (October 2010)

•             ‘Reflections in Unna’, Mords Metropole Rhur, Mord am Hellwig V, Anthology (Grafit, Germany, 2010) Ox-Crimes Anthology in support of Oxfam (2014)

•             ‘Vanishing Point’, Edinburgh Festival Elsewhere online anthology (June 2010) print version (         2012)

•             ‘The Night Highway’, Oxtales, Anthology in support of Oxfam (June 2009)

•             ‘A Simple Life’, commissioned by the Aye Write! Glasgow Literary Festival (March 2009)

•             ‘The Best Small Country in the World’, BBC Radio 4 (6th Feb 2008) anthologised in Shattered, Polygon Books ( 2009) anthologised in The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Constable & Robinson (2011)

•             ‘Graveyard Shift’, The Verb, BBC Radio 3 (January 31st 2007)


Louise has appeared at numerous international book festivals including: Edinburgh International Book Festival, Comedie du Livres, Montpellier, Nuremberg International Krimi Festival, Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Beijing International Bookworm Festival, Melbourne Authors’ Festival, International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront, Toronto, Chengdu International Bookworm Festival, La Villa Gillet, Lyon, Brisbane Book Festival, Bowery Poetry Club, New York, Lahti International Writers’ Reunion Finland, Brno, Czech Republic, Vancouver Writers’ and Readers’ Festival . . .

She has also given keynotes lectures and invited talks: National Library of Scotland, University of St Andrews, Scottish Parliament, University of Strathclyde, Tate Britain, Glasgow School of Art, University of Edinburgh, GOMA, Faculty of Advocates . . .


List by: Type | Date

Jump to: 2013 | 2010
Number of items: 2.


Strachan, Z. and Welsh, L., (Eds.) (2013) Best Scottish Poems 2012. Scottish Poetry Library: Edinburgh.


Strachan, Z., and Welsh, L. (2010) Festive spirits. Sunday Herald, 17 Dec,

This list was generated on Sat Jun 6 21:43:22 2015 BST.
Number of items: 2.


Strachan, Z., and Welsh, L. (2010) Festive spirits. Sunday Herald, 17 Dec,

Edited Books

Strachan, Z. and Welsh, L., (Eds.) (2013) Best Scottish Poems 2012. Scottish Poetry Library: Edinburgh.

This list was generated on Sat Jun 6 21:43:22 2015 BST.