Colin Will: Biography

Colin & Jane Will

Colin and Jane at CoastWord 2018

Jane and I have lived in Dunbar since 2000. We've been together since 1966. We've got two
grown-up sons, a grandson and two granddaughters.

Colin Will

At the Open University 50th anniversary celebrations, Glasgow 2019. Photo by The Open University.

I was born in Edinburgh in 1942. My library career started with West Lothian Libraries in 1963. I got my ALA in 1967, then did an Open University degree in Maths and Science (with a Distinction in Geology and Geochemistry), before moving to the British Geological Survey Edinburgh Library in 1973. I moved to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1988. I received a PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 1991, for research on the communication process in science. I served two terms on the Scottish Library and Information Council, and in 2000 I was President of the Scottish Library Association (now CILIPS). I left the Library in 1998 to move into senior management within RBGE, where I was successively Garden Secretary, Director of Corporate Services, and for a short period Acting Accountable Officer for the whole organisation, before returning to posts in planning and information services. In my last six months at The Botanics I undertook a total restructuring of the Garden's website, commissioning and editing wholly new content, sourcing images, and constructing the navigation system to link around 250 web pages. I retired from the Garden in 2002.
I'm an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh.

Apart from my formal career, I served ten years on the Board of the Scottish Poetry Library, the last four as its Chair. I was heavily involved with the process of turning the dream of a new home for the Library into the reality of the splendid building off the Royal Mile which was opened in 1999.

I joined the Board of Trustees of StAnza: Scotland's Poetry Festival, in December 2004, and was elected Convener of the Board in 2006, retiring in December 2009 at the end of my 3-year term in office. I re-joined the Board in 2013, and was re-elected Chair in 2014. I stepped down in April 2017.

I co-founded the Dunbar Writers, served four years as Chair of Tyne & Esk Writers, the umbrella organisation representing writing groups in Midlothian and East Lothian.

I chaired the organising committee of CoastWord; Dunbar's Festival of Words for five years, stepping down after the 2019 Festival.

From 1996 to 2015 I ran the Poetry Scotland website, the online presence of the popular poetry broadsheet of the same name. The Open Mouse page, once part of the Poetry Scotland site, became a separate poetry ezine, publishing poetry submitted by readers. It closed on 13th July 2018.

From 1997 to 2015 I published the work of other writers, under the imprint Calder Wood Press. In 2016, after publishing some sixty titles, I wound up the Press to concentrate on my own writing. I'm now Editor at Postbox Press, the literary fiction imprint of Red Squirrel Press.

I've been gradually divesting myself of all committee and organisational work, so that I can concentrate on writing and editing. It feels good.