112 pages, illustrations
Tom Pow's beautiful, powerful poems examine the remarkable life of Thomas Watling. Watling was born in Dumfries in September 1762 and raised by a long-suffering maiden aunt. Convicted of forging Bank of Scotland one-guinea notes he was sentenced to fourteen years in the recently founded colony of Botany Bay in Australia. The first professional artist to arrive in the colony, Watling was seconded to its Surgeon General (and amateur naturalist) John White. His pioneer paintings of birds, animals and the landscape became some of the principal records of the earliest days of Australia. He was eventually pardoned, on 5 April 1797, and left Australia, eventually returning home to Dumfries. He died there, most likely in 1814.
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Tom Pow was born in Edinburgh in 1950. Primarily an award-winning poet, he has also written young adult novels, picture books, radio plays and travel books. He has held various writing posts, including that of Scottish/Canadian Writing Fellow, based at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and Virtual Writer in Residence (Scotland's first) for the Scottish Library Association's Scottish Writers Project. Tom was the first ever Writer in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival from 2001 to 2003. From 2000 to 2009, he was a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Storytelling at the University of Glasgow in Dumfries, and is currently Honorary Senior Research Fellow there as well as a part-time lecturer on Lancaster University's distance learning Masters in Creative Writing.