I’m a freelance journalist, published by the BBC, RTÉ, The Irish Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Radio Canada, Le Point, La Presse and many others.
In recent times, I’ve covered stories like the aftermath of Islamic State in Iraq, the rise of Hungary’s far-right, war in Cameroon, narco-trafficking in Guinea Bissau and modern slavery in Pakistan. I also write a monthly column and culture features for Die Zeit's English-language magazine, Spotlight.
Previously based in Belgium and Canada, I now work from my native Scotland. I do both print and broadcast – in English and French. Contact me here.
Recent work - UK/world
Sturgeon's worst nightmare
Alex Salmond, risen from the political dead, returns with tartan nat challenge to dominant SNP. His comeback raises uncomfortable questions about independence, brushed under the carpet during Covid.
The Sturgeon factor
Scotland’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been almost as dismal as that of England. Yet, on the streets, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is more popular than ever, and support for independence is surging.
Kurdistan: a shot at statehood
Foreign aid and oil money have been key to the survival of Kurdistan’s two mafia-like ruling clans, the Barzanis and the Talabanis. And poverty, lots of it. For their success depends on them being the ones with all the cash to splash.
Mosul’s new masters
After Isis, came the mafia. In Mosul, a jumbled assortment of Iran-backed militias, known collectively as the Hashd al-Shaabi, compete for their share of the spoils of war.
The vapers of Mosul
Out on the hustle with three buccaneering entrepreneurs, selling vapes in war-torn Mosul. Moslawis are born entrepreneurs. Given half the chance, they can make their city great again.
Recent work - culture
They never taste quite like they look on the box. But there’s still something irresistibly novel about bung-it-in-the-micro TV dinners. Binge-watching telly during successive lockdowns, teas on knees have made a comeback.
Interview: William Sitwell
Interview with William Sitwell, restaurant critic for The Telegraph, whose book on eating out was published just as every restaurant in the world had closed. But Sitwell, who writes with the wit of the raffish old-school toff, is accustomed to being out of step with the zeitgeist.
The Great Stink of London
Travel feature taking us right back to London in 1858, just as the city's inhabitants are 'isolating' indoors from a hot fog of pestilence rising from the sewage-filled Thames . Highlight is a visit to The Rookery, aka Little Ireland, where residents are dying en masse from cholera.
What to read and watch in summer 2020. Tips from two women in the know: Lucy Scholes, who writes about books for The Telegraph and the FT, and Clarisse Loughrey, chief film critic at The Independent. TWO-PAGE SAMPLE.
Crafted in Edinburgh
A tour of the Edinburgh crafts scene. We launch in the Grassmarket, home to the highest concentration of pubs in the city. Encounters with a post-punk milliner, a teenage bagpipe maker and a canine couturier. ONE-PAGE SAMPLE.
Laughter is the best medicine
Interview with Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt, on the gruelling realities of working as a doctor in Britain’s National Health Service, and the likely impact of Covid-19 on the system. ONE-PAGE SAMPLE.
Global Ear: Dé:Nash
Hungarian rapper Dé:Nash mines his country’s collective consciousness, satirising the Fidesz regime’s use of ancient legend and historical grievances to craft a new national narrative.
’Licence to kill’
Cameroon’s bloody conflict between the regime and separatist rebels has been raging nearly three years. Government forces wield their ‘licence to kill’ liberally, with utter impunity.
Interview: Guinea-Bissau’s president
José Mário Vaz, president of Guinea-Bissau, appeals to world for help in fighting the cocaine cartels that he says are still using the fragile state as a trafficking hub.