Liz Niven

(born 1952 - ) - Glasgow, now living in Dumfries

Liz Niven

Liz Niven was born and raised in Glasgow. After qualifying as an English teacher she left Glasgow and taught in various locations in Scotland while bringing up her three children. She has lived in Dumbarton, Easter Ross, Newton Stewart and currently lives in Dumfries.

She is a freelance writer and is regularly invited to deliver creative writing workshops across Scotland. She has held many writing residencies in schools and communities in Scotland, including three years as Writer-in-Residence at Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association and a Highland and Island Airports Residency subsequently the subject of ITV’s ‘Poet on a Plane’ documentary.

Although no longer teaching she keeps a close association with schools by delivering writing workshops and writing the Advanced Higher Language paper for SQA. Poetry Projects have been hosted by the Scottish Poetry Library and the Poetry Society of London.

She first started writing poetry in her thirties after exploring prose and drama, the former broadcast on BBC, the latter performed by community groups. A poetry pamphlet published by Duncan Glen’s akros was followed by A Drunk Wumman Sittin oan a Thistle from Markings publications. Two full collections followed, Stravaigin, originally published by Canongate and republished by Luath, then Burning Whins also from Luath.

Niven has been an award-winner on three occasions in the McCash Scots Poetry awards.

Currently editing New Writing Scotland for the ASLS, she has also edited many books for educational use, The Kist/A Chiste, Turnstones an English Course for Scotland, The Scots Language: its place in education and the Scots Language in Education in Scotland for the European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages.

Having been invited to participate in Literary Festivals around the world her poetry has been translated into Lithuanian, Slovakian and Mandarin. For several years, she worked to promote the Scots language in Education and was involved in comparative work in Friesland, Jutland, and Catalonia through the European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages.

  • Cover scan of The Shard Box
    The Shard Box - Paperback
    This collection of poems eloquently captures the contradictions and multiple identities of modern China. Liz Niven has a keen eye for detail and a light touch that delivers an unexpected intensity; taking on ancient traditions and contemporary issues, this selection is in turn humorous and poignant and illustrated China as it is rarely seen.
  • Cover scan of Stravaigin
    Stravaigin - Paperback
    At the core of this collection of poems is the notion of the Scots as a community of stravaigers or wanderers - the author draws on a variety of resources and moves outward, through many foriegn cultures to view the world through Scottish eyes


  • Past Presents - 1997
  • A Drunk Wumman Sittin Oan A Thistle - 1997
  • Cree Lines - a set of commissioned poems for the River Cree in Galloway, South West Scotland. The poems are carved into granite, sandstone, oak, beechwood and metal - 2000
  • Stravaigin - 2001
  • Burning Whins - 2004
  • The Shard Box - 2010

Cree Lines Review

  • "Liz Niven is a remarkable poet who addresses the world, the future and the folk who walk where her words are etched into the natural environment. As relevant to our lives as air, water, light, Cree Lines is a remarkable work." - Janet Paisley