May 23, 2022
Ruby McCain runs a monthly group for writers and musicians called The Cheeky Besoms.

Ruby McCain was well known and valued in the Scottish writing community for her passion and enthusiasm for organizing events and helping writers, especially inexperienced writers. Together with Glasgow poets Jim Ferguson and Derek J. Brown and artist Louis Mellon, he ran a monthly group for writers and musicians called The Cheeky Besmus, which was held at the Calton Bar aka The Glasgow Literary Lounge in the eastern part of Glasgow. Less than an epidemic. It will attract writers from all over Scotland to ensure a lively mix. Located in central Glasgow working class, the atmosphere was different from the much better salons in the West End and South Side.

Ruby (Rubina) McCain was born in Glasgow but spent the first part of her adult life in the United States where, after graduating from Trinity University, Washington, she became involved in creative writing and moved to the capital, Maryland and Virginia. Teach and prepare courses. . He worked at elementary, middle and high school levels as well as in colleges and universities.

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She eventually returned to Glasgow and worked in libraries and prisons, including HMP Perth, YOI Friarton and HMP Glenochil, where she offered courses in new writing and Scottish literature and produced prison magazines.

She was chair of the Scottish Writers Center from 2014-2017 and promoted Scottish writers locally, nationally and internationally. In addition to continuing his contacts with the United States, he contacted writers in Portugal and organized a ceremony in Glasgow with the translation of poetry by the Scottish poet Alvaro de Campos (aka Fernando Peso). He also completed a postgraduate degree in playwriting and drama from the University of Glasgow and ran drama workshops for the homeless at Lodging House Mission, Glasgow.

Ruby’s writing skills were exceptional. He worked in poetry, prose, drama, copywriting and wrote the script for a film celebrating Paisley Central Library. She was also involved in the Eilean Nam Bam project, an exhibition celebrating the extraordinary lives of ordinary women.

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In March 2020, Ruby co-founded Rymour Books, an independent small press, with Ian Spring. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the United States. However, Rymour Books was the country finalist for the Small Press of the Year at this year’s British Book Awards. The output of the books probably covered a much wider range than Ruby’s habit, and he found himself reading crime fiction and real-life crimes, as well as mountaineering topics. However, he took it all in stride. Her special strength was in social media, and she was at home with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and their use was very influential.

Unfortunately, after Ruby became ill in early 2021, she was unable to take an active part in the publication. However, Rymour Books managed to complete an anthology edited by its own, Calton Ceilidh, published in November 2021 and featuring the work of about 50 authors who participated in Calton Bar sessions. They included English, Scottish and Gaelic writers, including songwriters as well as poets and prose writers. One of Ruby’s last projects, which sadly would have been completed without her, was to compile a collection of poetry in Scots by three famous Northeast authors: Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Leslie Benzi, Norlan Lichts. Was He received the Scottish Language Award from the Scottish Book Trust in association with the Scottish Government. It will be published in April 2022.

Perhaps it is fair to say that Ruby sometimes ignores her writing to help others with their work. She has won numerous awards, including the Mary Boyle McCrory Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and her work has been published in various journals and anthologies. She was a regular performer at Glasgow’s Aye Write Festival at the city’s Mitchell Library.

In February 2022, Red Squirrel Press published a volume of Ruby’s own poetry, Sown Seeds & Spinning Souls. Fortunately, Ruby received it a few days before her death and was happy to see it. His own work was based in his hometown of Glasgow, but it spread beyond the Scottish tradition. Here is an excerpt from her poem “Home Grown In Glasgow” written for International Women’s Day:

A light-skinned, flamboyant Scott

a she-child fae the sou ‘side

I am Irish, Scottish, and Glasgowian.

Born in a city, Lucy Fei the Gorbals of the Teniment race

Raised in housing schemes

An Irish Catholic, Scottish Protestant, non-believer

The birth of violence, poverty and alcohol

Social services, children’s homes, foster care

Ruby lived in the Gorbles and loved the old parts of Glasgow and its people. After years in the states, she returned with her family and friends. He will be remembered fondly, along with his fellow authors, some of whom have had the opportunity to recite poems and stories about the literary scene in the Marie Curie Hospice in his last few months.

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