Colin Will: Biography

Colin & Jane Will

Colin and Jane at CoastWord 2018

Jane and I have lived in Dunbar since November 2000. We've been married since 1966. We've got two
grown-up sons, a grandson and two granddaughters.

Colin Will

At the Open University 50th anniversary celebrations, Glasgow 2019. Photo by The Open University.

I was born in Edinburgh in 1942. My library career started with West Lothian Libraries in 1963. I got my ALA in 1967, then did an Open University degree in Maths and Science (with a Distinction in Geology and Geochemistry), before moving to the British Geological Survey Edinburgh Library in 1973. I moved to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1988. I received a PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 1991, for research on the communication process in science. I served two terms on the Scottish Library and Information Council, and in 2000 I was President of the Scottish Library Association (now CILIPS). I was persuaded to move from the Botanics Library in 1998 to move into senior management within RBGE, where I was successively Garden Secretary, Director of Corporate Services, and for a short period Acting Accountable Officer for the whole organisation, before returning to posts in planning and information services. In my last six months at The Botanics I undertook a total restructuring of the Garden's website, commissioning and editing wholly new content, sourcing images, and constructing the navigation system to link around 250 web pages. I retired from the Garden in 2002.

I'm an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh.

Aside from my formal career in librarianship and information management, I served ten years on the Board of the Scottish Poetry Library, the last four as its Chair. I was heavily involved with the process of turning the dream of a new home for the Library into the reality of the splendid building off the Royal Mile which was opened in 1999.

I joined the Board of Trustees of StAnza: Scotland's Poetry Festival, in December 2004, and was elected Convener of the Board in 2006, retiring in December 2009 at the end of my 3-year term in office. I re-joined the Board in 2013, and was re-elected Chair in 2014. I stepped down in April 2017.

I co-founded the Dunbar Writers in 2003, and served four years as Chair of Tyne & Esk Writers, the umbrella organisation representing writing groups in Midlothian and East Lothian.

I chaired the organising committee of CoastWord; Dunbar's Festival of Words for five years, stepping down after the 2019 Festival.

From 1996 to 2015 I ran the Poetry Scotland website, the online presence of the popular poetry broadsheet of the same name. The Open Mouse page, once part of the Poetry Scotland site, became a separate poetry ezine, publishing poetry submitted by readers. It closed on 13th July 2018.

From 1997 to 2015 I published the work of other writers, under the imprint Calder Wood Press. In 2016, after publishing some sixty titles, I wound up the Press to concentrate on my own writing. I became Editor at Postbox Press, the literary fiction imprint of Red Squirrel Press. This included the editorship of Postbox short story magazine. I stepped down from both positions in 2023 for family reasons, and with the the full support of Sheila Wakefield, founder and editor of Red Squirrel Press.