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Awards/Prizes
2006 Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award
Writing Section
2000 Scottish Arts Council
Book Award
1996 TMA
Regional Theatre Award
On the Line
1996 Scottish Arts Council
Book Award
1995 McVities Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year
Stone Garden
1993 Macallan/Scotland on Sunday
Short Story Competition
Nessun Dorma
1991 Glasgow Herald People's Prize
The Magic Flute
1990 Scottish Arts Council Book Award
Seasons of the Heart
Reviews
No Nothing
'Did poet Edwin Morgan and trades unionist Jimmy Reid ever meet, in real life? Maybe, or maybe not. But in this sparky, beautifully imagined two-hander - written by Alan Spence, pithily directed by Ken Alexander - they come together in the after-life. Moreover, though they died within days of each other in 2010, they're re-embodied in the prime of life, circa the early 1970's. Reid (Steven Duffy) is soon revisiting his glory days as one of the leaders in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders dispute - the rousing rhetoric of his famous speeches rolling forth with pride and passion. Morgan (Kevin McMonagle) has recourse to lines from his Glasgow sonnets, and the memories shaded in to them. Soon, the two men are conjuring up episodes from their personal past, and from the politics of the time  It's an invigorating celebration of how the famous poet and the political "man of the people" shared a gleeful affinity for words. Welcome, too, is Spence's return to the stage, offering intellectual brilliance in the guise of affable humour and humanity'.

Mary Brennan, heraldScotland
Night Boat
‘Alan Spence’s writing is graceful and poetic, and in the best Zen tradition, he is also playful with language …… Night Boat is not just a wonderful book, well-written: it is a true inspiration. Spence’s writing gives an unmistakable flavour of the Zen view. Indeed, this is a book to approach as a Zen koan – if you look at it the way you look at everything else, you’ll miss the entire point. So. Just sit. Read’.

Gwen Enstam
Many Roads/Bodhicharya's E-Magazine
The Pure Land
'The Pure Land is a page turner of the first order — but what sets this novel apart is its philosophical depth, a depth and texture that could have been achieved only by a writer steeped in Buddhist ideas..... a meditative work of art that is as finely honed as a samurai’s sword.'

John Burnside
www.timesonline.co.uk
Seasons of the Heart
'Seasons of the Heart becomes a meditative and sustained delivery of both energy and purity. Spence is a calm and necessary visionary ... this is Spence in essence, all openness of instinct and imagination.'

Ali Smith,
The List/ Glasgow and Edinburgh  Events Guide
Glasgow Zen
'Sharp, penetrating, wry, funny, sad, evoked with wonderful precision.'

Edwin Morgan
The Magic Flute
'The Magic Flute is the most compelling example of Spence's abiding preoccupation with the ways in which characters can be suddenly shocked from their everyday complacency by the realisation that there is something out there (whether that be political, spiritual, cultural) that is way bigger than themselves........'

The List/Glasgow and Edinburgh  Events Guide

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Morning Glory
with Dame Elizabeth Blackadder
'Some books are motorways: you get somewhere fast but see nothing on the way. This one is an unpaved path you follow, pausing at every opportunity, walking back again to look at what you just missed, guided forward patiently by author and artist, not handheld but rather with the welcome sense that in a difficult place like bereavement, someone has been there already who cared enough to make a record for those who would come later and to give the requisite honour to those who have gone before'.

Alan Riach/The Scottish Review of Books
click here for his full review of Morning Glory
Zen Story
Music: Miriama Young         Words :Alan Spence
'Miriama Young’s score for Alan Spence’s Zen Story has a strong Japanese feel. It is an excellently conceived piece which sees Miranda Sinani’s Girl blame Dean Robinson’s Zen master, Hakuin, for getting her pregnant. There are flashes of wild emotion in the score, while Spence’s libretto has a truly enigmatic twist. Great stuff.’ -

Thom Dibdin/ Annals of the Edinburgh Stage


Click here for more reviews of Zen Story
Clear Light
'Alan's poems are glorious. Sharp, clear-eyed, seasonal, cyclical, devastatingly sensuous little moments that catch the heart with intimations of the whole big thing of being alive, here, now. So precise they make you want to sneeze, or laugh. A joy and a delight.'

Liz Lochhead
Sailmaker
'Based on his own autobiographical short story, Sailmaker recollects an only child, Alec, growing up and growing away not just from his widowed father but from his working-class roots. The story unfolds in short, vivid scenes of late childhood and adolescence as if an older Alec was sifting through memories, trying to make sense of what happened to him and his father after his mother's death.
Spence, with his poet's intuition for resonant detail, takes a dozen or so incidents and through these conjures up a far-reaching, honest, and funny piece of theatre that is profoundly moving.
Director Alan Lyddiard has taken great care to cherish the gentle, reflective side of Sailmaker. Gordon Dougall's score, with its drifts of wistful piano, subtly reinforces this -- but there's no neglecting the robust humour that runs through the lines.'

heraldScotland
The Three Estaites
'The magnum opus of Scottish Renaissance drama... Alan Spence's newly updated script simultaneously illuminates Lindsay's groundbreaking achievement in marrying vernacular language with sophisticated verse forms, while at the same time adding yet more weight to the assertion of Scots' expressive dynamism and eloquence as a language for literary drama.'

The Independent
Its Colours They Are Fine
'This has become a classic of Glasgow fiction, depicting every aspect of life in the city. Its thirteeen interlinked stories vividly evoke the slums and their inhabitants, the young and the old, Catholic and Protestant, the hopeful and the disillusioned.'

Youth Work Essentials
reviews v.34