Before becoming a full-time writer, Stuart Campbell worked as a book seller, English teacher and Mental Health trainer. For ten years he was employed by Health in Mind, an Edinburgh based mental health charity. His experience of supporting vulnerable adults in a Leith based hostel helped shape the central character in John McPake and the Sea Beggers, his first novel which has been recently adapted for the stage.
He has previously written for the BBC, The Guardian, and The Scottish Book Collector. He is the editor of RLS in Love, an anthology of Robert Louis Stevenson’s love poetry, and author of Boswell’s Bus Pass, a travelogue of modern Scotland following in the footsteps of Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. He has written a second novel, The Aeronaut’s Guide to Rapture, and most recently Daniel Defoe’s Railway Journey, a surreal account of his journey across the entire railway network of Great Britain. All his books have been published by Sandstone Press.
Stuart now lives in the East end of Glasgow with his wife, Morag. He is a graduate of Aberdeen and Strathclyde Universities. He has four grown up children, and his obsessions include Robert Louis Stevenson and, more recently, the phenomenon of Walking Football.The biography above by Stuart Campbell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Stuart was interviewed by the Dundee Courier for their feature called Hello Me in which authors are invited to write a letter to their younger selves. This is adapted from the original article.
You must be seven or eight. I think the photo was taken at Southsea near Portsmouth. The sea will always be important to you. You will go to University in Aberdeen and spend many happy hours with friends wandering along Balmedie beach. In later life you will even write a novel about pirates and sea storms.
I know it’s too late now, but I wish you hadn’t married so young, and I know you will regret the few years when you lost contact with your parents. The good news is that you will get in touch again and will be a father yourself to four wonderful children. The bad news is that your splendid red hair will only last for another 20 years or so when it will all fall out.
You are a very lucky boy destined to enjoy three careers as an English teacher, a mental health trainer and an author. You will spend most of your life in Scotland and will only return South to watch football and see the brother you tormented mercilessly when you were young.
I bet your pockets are full of sea shells and bits of wood. You will be a collector all your life and will eventually become a sad figure haunting charity shops searching for one more bargain to add to your outrageous collection of books.
I know you will find the idea difficult as you stand smiling on that timeless beach, but please believe me when I say that the decades will pass in a flash. Beneath the smile I remember that you were a very intense boy worrying about things.
I must tell you that 58 years later the worst has still not happened. So please take advice from your older self; stop worrying, it is a dreadful waste of time. Just be good to yourself and enjoy every single day.