Kelly’s Cats

Kelly’s Cats, a collection of poems and prose by Richard Anderson, Mark Pithie, Gráinne Smith and Michelle Wyllie, four members of Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree Writers, was launched at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel in February 2011.

Published by Lemon Tree Writers, and with a cover illustration by Helen Elizabeth Ramsey, the book is available at any Lemon Tree Writers event.

Review by Gillian Philip

The best anthologies feel like an effortless balancing act: a consistent theme without monotony. Kelly’s Cats achieves that. There’s thoughtfulness in the selection of pieces; poems both in English and Scots are punctuated by Michelle Wyllie’s concise and clear prose pieces, the first of which gives the collection its title.

Kelly’s Cats has a distinct sense of place: Aberdeen city with all its grittiness and dry humour. Richard Anderson provides political satire with an edge sharp enough to make you wince as you laugh (and I loved his tribute to the nose); Mark Pithie gives us a series of acute commentaries on the city landscape, tinged with sadness and memory. Gráinne Smith’s poetry sketches skateboarders, a homeless boy and an ancient corpse with equal delicacy.

It’s a short but enchanting collection that lingers in the mind, and it ends on a timely and relevant question.

Gillian Philip, author of Crossing the Line and Firebrand

Richard Anderson was born in Ayrshire and lived in several other parts of Scotland before settling in Aberdeenshire in 1975. He worked in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a surveyor before retiring and taking up creative writing in 2000.

His poetry often comments about aspects of Scottish life and has from time to time been published in local anthologies.

Mark Pithie is the assumed alias of Adam Maxwell-Farquhar, the mysterious weaver of supernatural tales, who spends most of his time in darkness, scaring himself witless with his dark thoughts and visions.

As an occasional poet, Mark or rather Adam would like to make an exception for the launch of Kelly’s Cats, and venture from his garret room into the brightness of the outside world — for one day only.

He hopes you like his contributions.

Gráinne Smith‘s favourite activity is finding ideas for her stories, poems, plays and even her non-fiction books among the people and places where she has lived, worked and dreamed since she was a few months old — North-East Scotland.

To learn more about what she’s been up to in writing (reality and research, havers and dreams, but nae tellin which!) check out:

Michelle Wyllie was born and raised in Aberdeen and has been taking her writing seriously since 2006 when she embarked on the first of two creative writing courses at Aberdeen College. Her writing is usually inspired by the history of the North-East of Scotland or London and the stories featured in Kelly’s Cats are her first published stories. Her ultimate writing ambitions are to publish historical novels and maybe even a biography.


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