Bella Caledonia is a non-profit, online magazine from Scotland. It’s collectively and independently run by volunteers. We aim to create a space for exploring an alternative to a society degraded by poverty, ecological crisis, imperialism, and the illegitimate authority of the British State.
Bella is edited by Mike Small. Others on the editorial team are Kevin Williamson, Jamie Maxwell and Kate Higgins.
To write for us send your ideas to bellasletters (at) yahoo.co.uk
Here are some of our existing contributors:
Anna Arqué is Catalonia spokesperson for the European Partnership for Independence
Donald Adamson, originally from Edinburgh, now teaches political economy at Cambridge and social sciences at the Open University. Left Edinburgh in the late 1980s as part of the Scottish exodus driven out by Mrs. Thatcher and is open to reasonable job offers to get back home (Edinburgh only). Has written for the Scottish Left Review. Main interests, economics, theories of nationalism, post-war British political economy and adult education. Read Donald on A Very English Coup here.
Darren Anderson is an Irish writer from Derry who lived in Edinburgh for 7 years. He is a co-editor of 3:AM Magazine, has completed several collections of poetry and has books on Jack Kerouac (Reaktion Books) and Serge Gainsbourg (Bloomsbury) forthcoming this year. His hobbies include whisky, rum, gin and regret. You can read his writing here.
Ray Bell is not a writer, and probably barely counts as a political activist, but is working on it slowly. Helped organise two marches for Scottish independence in recent years, and has had a piece published in the recent “One O’ Clock Gun” anthology (2010). Main interests: Scottish independence, stateless nations, unfashionable-but-worthy-causes, minority languages. Main dislikes: sectarianism, imperialism, shopping districts full of dozens of chain outfits, anti-Gaelic bores etc etc All this despite living in Edinburgh.
Alan Bissett is the author of Boyracers (2001), The Incredible Adam Spark (2005), and Death of a Ladies’ Man (2009), as well as a number of plays, and a documentary The Shutdown (2010). In 2007, Alan collaborated with Malcolm Middleton (Arab Strap) on the song ‘The Rebel On His Own Tonight’, for the Ballads of the Book album. Read Alan on Vote Britain! here.
Jamie Brown is a studying politics and has interests in democracy, social and green issues. Twitter: @fishisoff
Ian Brotherhood is the author of Bulletproof Suzy, a Robert Louis Stevenson Award winner and member of Scottish PEN. His work may be viewed here.
Shaun Burnie is a nuclear campaigner who has worked for more than 25 years in East Asia, Europe and North America. He has worked for Greenpeace for more than two decades, specialising in the nuclear and energy policies of Japan, France and Germany. Born in Edinburgh, he has been a community councillor in Galloway for ten years.
Christopher Cairns is a writer and cartoonist orginally from Glasgow now living in Edinburgh. Formally a news reporter and environment correspondent for The Scotsman, he has been freelance since he kicked Andrew Neil in the balls (in his favourite dream). He is the author of No Tie Required, How the Rich Stole Golf and his interests include golf, how to get rich and all forms of neckwear.
Thom Cross Kirkcaldy born and theatre trained , has worked for over 30 years in the Caribbean. Initially a tutor in popular theatre in Kingston, he subsequently became founding director of studies at the Jamaica School of Drama at the Edna Manley Centre and then in theatre, ‘communications’ and TV in Barbados. He was an award winning dramatist in Barbados and has just completed a novel –The Kirkcaldy Swimmer (of Medellin). (NB Publishers!!) He lives in Carluke.
Margaret Cuthbert is an economist, originally from Paisley. Much of her work is on public expenditure. She shares a website with Jim Cuthbert here.
Peter Curran Former HR Director,and latterly management consultant specialising in management development, negotiating skills and training, and amateur musician – saxes, clarinet, guitar. Only real claim to fleeting fame – a minor member of the original Alex Harvey Band – the Kansas City Counts -touring for six months with Alex and a 16-year old Sidney Devine, in the Jurassic age of Scottish rock.
Born in Dennistoun, Glasgow within a hundred yards or so of Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery. Bred in the bone Labour supporter for half a century, till Iraq and progressive disenchantment with Labour’s systematic betrayal of their values and of the Scottish people. SNP supporter since 2007. Read Peter’s blog here.
Moira Dalgetty lives on an island in the west coast of Scotland. She worked as a journalist for 25 years both in the former Eastern Bloc and in the UK. Her passions are: Scotland and Greece, yoga and carving wood. She speaks Russian and Greek.
Harvey Dingwall is an illustrator, artist and teacher. You can view his work here.
Doug Daniel is a failed musician and software developer from Aberdeen who splits his time between making bad jokes and complaining about the many examples of perceived unfairness he sees in the world, only some of which he blames for his own failures in life. If you are so inclined, you can read his rants at Alba Matters.
David Eyre is a media officer for Oxfam Scotland. In the past he’s been a producer and a reporter with BBC Scotland and was the founder and publisher of Southside Media, a social enterprise publishing hyperlocal media in the southside of Glasgow. If you are interested in taking part in The Scottish News Commons, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Foley James is a writer and activist who is currently conducting research for a PHD on Scottish finance capital. He is also writing a book on independence, the crisis and the left. He was formerly a regional organiser for NUS (Scotland) and is a member of the International Socialist Group.
Michael Gardiner works in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He has written extensively on Scottish, English, and post-British culture and politics, and is also a fiction writer.
Bob Hamilton has been writing, blogging and generally causing trouble in Glasgow for a very long time. He has been running ‘City Strolls’ project for a decade. City Strolls is a web site born out of listening to the endless hyperbole given out by faceless public relations and the advertising machines that claims to speak and act in our name. See Bob’s City Strolls project here.
Gerry Hassan is a writer and commentator on Scottish and UK politics, policy and ideas, and the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power and After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade. He organises the Changin’ Scotland sessions in Ullapool and can often be found on Our Kingdom.
Jamie Heckert lives in Poole, Dorset where he has recently completed the Permaculture Design Course. He is also an anarchist scholar writing on themes of the ethical, the erotic and the ecological.
Kenny Hermse is a Peru-based teacher, translator, and would-be writer. He avidly subscribes to independence-full in all its artery-clogging glory. Read Kenny on ‘independence beyond the SNP’ here.
Duncan Hothersall is a Labour activist, vocal Twitterer (@dhothersall) and long-time political pragmatist. He was involved in gay rights campaigns for many years, having helped to set up and run both Pride Scotland and the Equality Network. He lives in Edinburgh with his husband, and works as a director of an Edinburgh-based IT company.
Janet Fenton Janet started co-ordinating the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre after lots of political, feminist theatre, community arts and direct action, and a few years with a community eco-shop/gallery/drop-in project in Portobello. See also here.
Clare Galloway is an artist and writer, currently establishing an arthouse and cultural exchange project in a medieval hilltown in south Italy (see ARTHOUSE GUARDIA here) Read here on Lilliput Nation here.
Johnny Gailey was born in Belfast but has lived in Scotland for nearly twenty years, from Aberdeen to Dumbiedykes, from the Isle of Skye to Leith. He works as an educator, photographer, organiser and writer and tweets on visual culture @johnnygailey and on growing, land and Scotland @thewarmshoots
Michael Greenwell has worked, at various times, as a university tutor, a barman, a DJ (not a very good one), an office lackey, supermarket worker, president of a small charity, a researcher, a librarian, a volunteer worker in Nepal during the civil war there, and some other things that were too tedious to mention. He blogs here and also runs the animal extinction site Exit Stage Right.
Tom Griffin writes for Open Democracy. He is a London Irish journalist studying in Scotland. You can see his work here.
Fran Higson is a film-maker, writer, hutter, activist and mother. Achievements include being an award winning Feature Film Producer (The Magdalene Sisters & Orphans), Documentary Director, founder member of The Camcorder Guerilla’s and Designing & Building a hut at Carbeth. Read Fran on the Carbeth Hutters here.
Robert Alan Jamieson is a poet and novelist from Shetland, who tutors at the University of Edinburgh. His most recent books are ‘Nort Atlantik Drift’ (2007) and ‘Da Happie Laand’ (2010). See also here.
Mark Jardine is the former editor of The Scorpion and the One O’Clock Gun. He is a historian, journalist and commentator based in Edinburgh.
Pat Kane is a musician, blogger, author, columnist and has been involved in the politics of independence from Scotland United days. See The Play Ethic here.
Lenathehyena is an opinionated former teacher and non-aligned nationalist who dabbled in feminist politics during the 1970s, CND, anti-war campaigns and is a keen advocate of renewable energies, recycling, a healthy foody from the ‘fruit ‘n’ nut’ era when TVP reigned supreme who is horrified by fast-food places devoid of cutlery. Originally from the wonderful Black Isle, Lena now lives in beautiful rural Aberdeenshire where she spends her time gardening flowers, fruit and vegetables, walking and consuming copious amounts of chocolate. When time permits she writes and blogs, mainly about Aberdeen and the northeast of Scotland. Lena’s favourite book is James Hogg’s, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Lena’s blog is here.
James Maxwell is a Scottish political journalist. He lives in West London. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesmaxwell86
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain Phil is an author, blogger, Journalist and writer based in Donegal. He is an active member of the National Union of Journalists being a member of the Irish Executive Council and the Irish representative on the New Media Industrial He is an established print journalist for many years Phil has also built up a considerable online readership through his blog www.philmacgiollabhain.ie
In this the recent “Tartan Blog Awards” Phil won the category for the “best Scottish football journalist” which he also won in 2010. See here.
Murdo Macdonald is Professor of History of Scottish Art at the University of Dundee. He is leader of the Window to the West research project which is committed to restoring an art history to the Scottish Gàidhealtachd. As a student of George Davie at Edinburgh University – and an admirer of Patrick Geddes – he has a long standing interest in the Scottish generalist tradition of thinking. He was editor of Edinburgh Review from 1990-1994.
Emily Macintosh is a Scottish freelance writer who lives in Brussels, Belgium. She currently works as a press officer in the European Parliament for the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group. She comes from Dumfries and Galloway and studied Journalism in Glasgow. She likes languages, sewing and cycling.
Jonathan Mackie Jonathan is one of three SNP candidates for Govan, and of 43 across the city in May’s local government elections, taking the plunge after some years of grassroots activism. When not chapping doors or tweeting (@MackieGlasgow), he works as an Energy Efficiency Adviser.
Joan McAlpine is author of Go Lassie Go, which was voted top media blog in the Scotblog awards. She is also a columnist with The Scotsman newspaper. Joan was born in Gourock and studied Scottish History and Economic History at Glasgow University. She has commentated for several Scottish newspapers of note and held editing posts at a couple of them. She is an SNP list candidate for the South Of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament election of 2011.
Mhairi McAlpine is a political activist based in Glasgow. Formerly a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, she is a socialist feminist with a particular interest in multiculturalism. She blogs at Random Musings.
Robin McAlpine is the editor of the Scottish Left Review. He is the author of No Idea: Control, Liberation and the Social Imagination (2005) and a member of the Beard Liberation Front. Read Robin on the Scottish Spring here: ‘This is Not Who We Are.’
Shona McAlpine is a political activist, a Secondary Computing teacher, and has also been a nightclub and bar manager. She manages the Scottish Independence Convention’s website.
Peter McColl is a community activist living in Portobello. He was Convner of the Edinburgh Green Party from 2010-12 and is an Editor of the Bright Green blog.
Alastair McIntosh is best known for his work opposing the Harris superquarry battle (1992 – 2004), and campaigning for Scottish land reform especially with the Isle of Eigg (1990 – present). His most recent written work includes: Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power (2001), Love and Revolution: Collected Poetry (2006), Hell and High Water: Climate Change, Hope and the Human Condition (2008) and Rekindling Community: Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality. See more here at Alastair McIntosh.
Hannah McGill is a writer and critic based in Edinburgh. Read her own blog here.
Follow her here @HannahJMcGill
Mhairi McGregor is a freelance writer, graffiti artist and activist based in Dundee.
Duncan McLaren has campaigned for environmental justice for over 20 years. Since 2003 he has been Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Shane McKenna, 25, from Monaghan, Ireland. Currently living and working in Korea. Sinn Féin activist back at home (all views my own, at the same time). Liking the usuals – a bit of politics, history, well-written fiction. MA in Political Communication.
Ewan Morrison is typical GenX trash, being the son of two radical hippies who lived close to a nuclear power station. Fated to be maladapted, he was fortunate enough to be permitted to express his self-loathing world-view-looking-for-a world-view in various formats including shorts stories, parenting, stage-diving, trotskyism, cross-dressing, three novels and some short films that can be found by typing ‘Tales from the Mall’ into the YouTube search window. See Ewan’s own site here.
Ron Morrison Accountant & director - construction industry UK & overseas; manufacturing (Scotland) & investment banking (London) – now retired. Former Member SNP Finance & Taxation Committee. Author “There’s No Independence Without Financial Independence”. Website ScottishMonetaryReform.org.uk. Long time student of the banking business and monetary policy.
Joe Middleton Joe is a member of the Scottish National Party, the creator of the Scottish Independence Guide website and Press Officer of Independence First, the referendum campaign. See: http://www.independence-first.com/
Nine is ‘from Northern Ireland via Scotland’. She was a section editor at The Skinny magazine for almost five years. Find her writing on blogs and journals here and here. You can read her on ‘Hiking in War Zones’ for Bella here.
Caitlin O’Hara is an independent researcher and short-story writer, a gardener and currently lives outside Inverness.
Des O’Sullivan moved from Cork to Glasgow in 2003 and is currently studying Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland. He also runs cookery classes with youth and adult groups for a charity, NGCFI, based in Springburn, North Glasgow. His interest revolves around a broad range of social and environmental justice issues. Leisure activities include playing sports, the great outdoors and a bit of craic agus ceoil when time allows. Read Des on Drones here.
Dan Paris is a history student and Director of Communications for Young
Scots for Independence. Follow the YSI at @snpyouth and Dan at @_danparis
Pete Ramand is a Glasgow based socialist activist and the former editor of International Socialist Magazine. He was a founding member of the Coalition of Resistance (Scotland) and is currently writing a book on independence, the crisis and the left. He is a member of the International Socialist Group.
Brian Quail Prisoner No. 133799 Quail, Brian Michael, religion R.C., born 24/03/1938, former principal teacher Latin Greek Russian, father of seven, grandfather to twelve, member Pax Christi, Iona Community, Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, into Russian icons, wild flowers, Bach, curry, reggae, Gaelic, Ravi Shankar, poetry, Gregorian plain chant, beer, history, Orthodoxy, Georgian, the Shroud of Turin, Russian Church music, Bob Dylan, daffodils, Dostoyevsky and Mozart. Read Brian on Trident here.
Mark Ruskell is the former Green Party MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. He lives in Doune, works in renewables, dabbles in parenting, bikes and beekeeping and continues to stand in elections. He’s at @markruskell
Rebecca Nada- Rajah is a playwright and researcher, who currently lives in Edinburgh. Read Becky on Anti-Coal Protests here.
Christopher Silver studied English Literature at The University of Edinburgh and completed a postgraduate research degree at The University of Stirling on the works of Lewis Grassic Gibbon. He has worked as a writer in places as diverse as Barcelona, Shetland, Sweden, Edinburgh and the Western Isles of Scotland. His writing has been published in a variety of settings including The Herald, The Times Education Supplement, The Shetland Times, and The Skinny.
Jim Slaven is an activist and writer based in Edinburgh. After leaving school at 15 with no qualification he holds two degrees from the University of Edinburgh, in Mental Philosophy MA (Hons) and Community Education (PGCE). Jim has played a leadership role in various community led political campaigns over the last twenty five years and is Chair of The Connolly Foundation, editor of the left republican group blog 107 Cowgate and a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Bath.
Mike Small is the editor of Bella Caledonia. He is a freelance writer and micro-publisher. He was a founder of Product magazine (first launched as Red Herring in 1998) as well as one of the group behind Indymedia Scotland. He worked with Murray Bookchin in Vermont in the mid 1990s before returning to Scotland. He writes for Scottish Left Review, Variant, Red Pepper, New Statesman, the Guardian, and Open Democracy . Read Mike on Media Democracy here.
Mark Ryan Smith lives in Shetland with his wife and two daughters. He has written a PhD about the islands’ literature, and has published fiction, poetry and criticism in various magazines and anthologies.
Douglas Strang is an occasional writer, folklorist, and organic gardener. He lives in Galloway and practices self-sufficiency. He makes bits and pieces of art which attempt to reflect on our relationship to land, nature, and myth. He is actively involved with The Dark Mountain Project.
David Tobin teaches and is a PhD candidate in the department of politics at the University of Manchester. His thesis titled ‘Nation-Building and Ethnic Boundaries in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’ reflects his general research interests: identity, ethnicity, nationalism, and social theory. While Chinese and Xinjiang identity politics are the focus of this work, his blog focuses on politics and society in the ‘United’ Kingdom.
Irvine Welsh is a contemporary Scottish novelist.
Andy Wightman is a writer and Scotland’s foremost land rights campaigner. His latest book, The Poor Had No Lawyers, is published by Birlinn. You can read Andy on land onwership and the Royal family here.
Kevin Williamson is a writer, publisher, and activist originally from Caithness. In 1992 Williamson launched a literary magazine called Rebel Inc and through its pages was one of the first publishers of such Scottish writers as Irvine Welsh, Laura Hird, Alan Warner, and Toni Davidson. His published work includes “A Visitor’s Guide To Edinburgh” (co-written with Irvine Welsh in 1993), and “Drugs and the Party Line” (1997). His poetry has been published in anthologies and magazines. In 2005 he won the Robert Louis Stevenson Award for literature.His first collection of poetry In A Room Darkened was published by Two Ravens Press in October 2007. He is the co-editor of Bella Caledonia. Read Kevin on Scotland’s Libertarian Left
Douglas Stuart Wilson is a translator, writer and film-maker. He lived in Spain for twenty years where he worked at various times as a teacher, film development executive, independent producer, screenplay writer, freelance story-editor, journalist and translator. You can contact at him at his blog, Translating Spain
Calum Wright is a graduate of the University of St Andrews and is currently studying towards a master’s degree at Uppsala Universitet in Sweden. He specialises in early modern northern European history with a specific interest in the seventeenth century Britain. He occasionally blogs at: http://northbyleft.wordpress.com/