I’ve been in love with reading and writing from a young age, having poems and stories published in school magazines. As an A’ Level student, my play Speak No Evil was a winner of the Lloyds Bank Young Theatre Challenge and performed at The National Theatre.
I continued to write short stories, poems and drama while studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Norah Cooper Award for the Speaking of Verse), and went on to work as a performer, writer, workshop facilitator, assistant director and director. In 1999 my theatrical adaptation of Dream State: The New Scottish Poets won a Scotsman Fringe First Award.
‘Dream State is one of those “if you see nothing else this August” and “this is why the world comes to the Fringe” shows.’ – Lee Brady, The Scotsman.
In 2002, I co-founded theatre company Solar Bear, of which I was Artistic Director 2002-09. I scripted six main-stage and several community productions for Solar Bear and established the first year-round Deaf Youth Theatre in the UK. With a particular interest in the development of accessible theatre practice, I studied British Sign Language to Pre-level 3. During this time I won an Orange Community Futures Award; an Arts and Business Arts and Disability Award; and a Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) Champion of the Community Award. My work was rated ‘Excellent’ in the Scottish Arts Council’s Artistic Evaluation.
In 2004, I began evening classes at Strathclyde University, developing my short stories. It started to become clear to me that I wanted to progress my skills and career as a writer of prose fiction. In 2008 I gained an MLitt in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Glasgow University, and in 2009 I won an AHRC Studentship Award, enabling me to study for a PhD in Creative Writing (2013). In between, I’ve received three Scottish Arts Council Professional Development Awards.
In terms of publications, my short story ‘UFO’ was published in The Research Club: An Anthology of New Writing, (CHROMA, 2007), and ‘Static’ in Let’s Pretend, (Freight Books, 2008). An excerpt of my debut novel, Walking the Lights, was published in Tip Tap Flat: a View of Glasgow, (Freight Books, 2012), with the novel published by Freight Books (Scottish Publisher of the Year 2015) in July 2016. Walking the Lights finished Runner-up in the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2016 and was a selected title for the Read Regional campaign 2017.
In 2014 I moved to Lancaster, where I’m currently writing my second novel and teaching creative writing at Lancaster University.
Deborah is an award-winning theatre practitioner turned novelist. Most notably her theatrical adaptation of Dream State: The New Scottish Poets won a Scotsman Fringe First Award; she established the first year-round Deaf Youth Theatre in the UK; and she co-founded Solar Bear theatre company (of which she was Artistic Director 2002-09). Her knowledge of the theatre world inspired her debut novel Walking the Lights (a feminist Withnail and I): Runner-up in the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2016 and selected title for the Read Regional campaign 2017. Born in Windsor, Deborah moved to Glasgow to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She went on to work as a performer, director, workshop facilitator and writer, and gained an MLitt (Distinction) and an AHRC-funded PhD in creative writing from Glasgow University. She now lives in Lancaster where she teaches creative writing. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies and she is currently writing her second novel.