In my time on this planet so far, I’ve never lived outside Scotland’s capital city. Even now, many years after I’ve left my childhood home, I haven’t strayed farther than a few miles away from my old primary school and gang-hut days. I still walk the streets where I got scabby knees from learning to ride my first ever (borrowed from a neighbour) bike and my very own new-to-me roller skates (Apollo 13s – best birthday ever).

Despite my reluctance to set down roots elsewhere in the world, it hasn’t stopped me travelling and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Stories, legends, limericks – they’re all part of our heritage. It’s always good to come home and appreciate where I’ve been, who I’ve met and where I plan to go next.

Barbara Henderson’s story about her journey to Scotland is written alongside thirty other creative individuals, captured in all their glory in ‘Scottish By Inclination’. A touching yet life-affirming collection of immigration stories from some of our European neighbours who came to settle here. Writers, teachers, artists, professional footballers, engineers, academics and many more, all bring a little slice of their world to our shores and make us a better nation for it.

For those who don’t know her, Barbara is a lynchpin in my writing world. Originally from Germany, she came to settle in Scotland thirty years ago and made it her new home. The place she worked hard, volunteered in her community and brought up her amazing family. Fast forward to the Brexit vote and life has changed for so many people who’d found peace under the Saltire. New legislations, documents and proof of existence are now regularly spoken about for those whom status, according to the powers that be, isn’t considered settled enough. (Photo – Rob Henderson)

All voices matter and deserve to belong. Belonging is more than a privilege. Belonging I am now convinced, can be a choice.

Barbara Henderson

A prolific children’s writer, Barbara has brought to life so many moments in time from Scotland’s history, I am in awe of her ability to transport me to battles and sieges of long ago with perfectly worded paragraphs made up of tension-filled sentences. The panic-filled Highland Clearances of 1814 (Fir For Luck), Inverness market in 1899 when it all went up in flames (Punch) to her most recent epic adventure based on the story of the 12th century chess pieces found on the Western Isles in 1831 (The Chessmen Thief), plus many more, are all pride of place on my bookshelves.

I am delighted to be a part of this book launch tour. In my opinion, Barbara and all our European friends, make Scotland what it is today.

Please stay, the kettle’s on. Come away in.

Available to buy from Luath Press, most indie bookshops, Waterstones and Blackwell’s. #ShopLocal

Blog tour info – Luath Press