Bardowie writer chosen for Scottish Book Trust initiative ahead of debut novel release

A Bardowie writer has been selected for a new Scottish Book Trust initiative to upcoming talent.

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Rachelle Atalla’s debut novel The Pharmacist will be published this month

Rachelle Atalla’s debut novel The Pharmacist will be published by Hodder & Stoughton this month.

Debut Lab is funded by and a collaboration with Creative Scotland, to support writers based in Scotland whose debut, full-length work in poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction was published after December 2019.

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Rachelle is a Scottish-Egyptian novelist, short story writer and screenwriter.

Her short stories have been published widely in literary anthologies, including Gutter magazine, Thi Wurd and The Good Journal.

She is the recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and co-edits New Writing Scotland.

Rachelle’s first short film screenplay Trifle was commissioned by the Scottish Film & Talent Network, and has enjoyed a successful festival run, including being officially selected for the Oscar and Bafta qualifying LA International Short Film Festival.

Most recently Rachelle has been selected to participate in the 2021 Young Films Foundation Skye residency programme, developing her first feature length screenplay with BBC Films.

Rachelle previously worked as a community pharmacist for a decade, and her debut novel puts dystopian spin on her former career.

It follows the character of Wolfe as she navigates life in an underground bunker, following some kind of apocalyptic event, doling out medicine under the watchful eye of an increasingly erratic and paranoid leader.

The Pharmacist traverses genres, examining motherhood, morality (or the loss of it), power struggles, love, and desperation.

The Pharmacist is being launched on Thursday, May 19 at Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street.

The Wee Bardowie Book Group is also planning an event in June.

Rachelle, who married to Angus and has two children, Fraser (6) and Phoebe (2), said: “I’m delighted and grateful to be participating in Debut Lab.

"Writing can be a lonely pursuit, particularly as a debut during a pandemic, so it’s a real gift to be able to engage with other debuts, in an accessible way, with the support of Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland.”

Her second novel is already scheduled for a 2023 release with Hodder & Stoughton.

Delivered remotely through a series of seven live-on-Zoom workshops and a range of additional online resources, Debut Lab will support 18 writers affected by the pandemic during this transitional stage in their careers.

Workshops will include networking, marketing, author events and funding opportunities, and will be led by industry professionals , as well as Creative Scotland's literature t eam and Scottish Book Trust staff.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust said: "Being a debut author is daunting enough, but the pandemic and following lockdown made it incredibly difficult for authors to promote their work.

"We hope to shine a light on this fantastic range of books, and our thanks to Creative Scotland for making this possible.”