Photo: Chris Leslie
Short version (33 words):
Greum Stevenson. Writer, activist, Zen Buddhist monk in Glasgow. I blog about Scottish and European politics and culture, class issues, Zen Buddhism, art, music, books and whatever else I might be thinking about.
Long version (524 words):
I am a Scottish (not British) author, poet, journalist, Zen Buddhist monk, activist and chronically contentious citizen. I was born in Glasgow's G20 postcode in 1966, and after years of travelling widely — including 22 years in America during which I lived in Arizona, Tennessee, and Oregon — I returned home when Donald Trump got elected. I am an ecosocialist, supporter of Scottish independence (but not a nationalist), privacy, social housing, universal healthcare, public transport, and right to the city. I was a member of the SNP for five years, but resigned in 2022 and joined the Scottish Green Party in response to Nicola Sturgeon's fawning praise of the Queen of England.
I have written more than a dozen books, and hundreds of articles, stories and poems, published under various pen names, including “Barry Graham.” I was a founding contributor to Rebel Inc magazine. The Times called me “a young master,” back when I was young and masterful. Details magazine (RIP) called me “one of the real literary finds,” back when I was found to be real literary. My novel The Book of Man was chosen as a best book of 1995 by the American Library Association. My novel The Champion's New Clothes, first published in 1991, came out in French translation in 2021, and won the Prix Marianne. I witnessed two executions, invited by the men about to be killed, not the state. My reporting on the death penalty won a Folio Silver Medal, and was published in my book Why I Watch People Die.
My poetry is published regularly on Buddhistdoor, but is just as likely to be found, with no byline, on stickers or scrawled on city walls. I lead writing workshops in schools and prisons, and give performances in which I recite sections of my novels from memory. I continue to write books, but prefer to let them make their way in the world without me, so I feel no need to share my current pen names.
Speaking of names: My government name is Greum Stevenson, but I am just as often called Dogo, my Dharma name. I have been a Zen practitioner for more than 30 years. For six years I served as the Abbot of The Sitting Frog Zen Centre in Phoenix, Arizona. Now I teach internationally online at City Cave Zen, an independent, nondenominational sangha. Before the pandemic, I taught Zen face to face in various venues in Glasgow, and I intend to again when the plague is over, but the online meetings will continue. Much of my Zen practice and teaching takes place in the streets.
I am married to daishin, a Sonoran Desert rat turned New Scot who is also a Zen monk. We got married in Iceland in 2017, and we now live in the Wyndford housing scheme in a hermitage we call Comraich airson Lusan Leònte/Wounded Plant Sanctuary. And we have a podcast.
If you want to ask me anything, you are welcome to email me.
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