North Ayrshire's Equal Creative Writing Group are celebrating the completion of their latest book, '12 Days of Strikemas' - just in time for Christmas.

With eight members, the Irvine-based aspiring writers who meet on Monday afternoons, have teamed up over the last year on two books – 'The Online Spectrum' (a neurodivergence-themed novel still in progress) and their latest '12 days' Christmas creation - which is a festive comedic tale with many twists and turns.

Lorna, who was responsible for keeping the plot on track, said: “Together, we joined the Equal Creative Writing group as we share in common three main characteristics, we are imaginative, we are creative and we are neurodivergent

“Because the other book in progress is more of a serious drama, we wanted to create a light-hearted Christmas story, inspired by the world we live in today but with plenty of humour too."

Irvine Times: The Equal Creative Writing Group

Fellow contributor Louise, now working in care in the Three Towns, explained: “In the story, Santa is in debt and he is struggling to stay warm and keep his workshop in operation.

"As if that wasn't stressful enough, his elves also decide to take strike action, 12 days before Christmas, and it seems like Christmas really could be doomed…”

Writer Graeme added: “Our book although funny in parts does have a serious message.

"We have used our real lives experiencing lifelong conditions such as autism, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, to humanise the characters and make them relatable like us."

Trainee Lewis said: “By working together and seeing the good in each other (just like we have in our writing group) the characters manage to come up with a solution – with the help of Mrs Claus – to save the day.”

And Lee, who has just completed training at a local community larder, added: “We feel really proud to have finished the book. The story structure is a countdown just like the 12 Days of Christmas, so as you can see from our hats, we are all very much ready to celebrate all that is joyful and kind about the Christmas season."

Irvine Times: The Equal Creative Writing Group

Lorna concluded: "Together, we have realised through the writing process, that this time of year is not just about the presents, it’s about taking the time out together to BE present with each other and hopefully others reading the book will be inspired to use their quirks as unique gifts to create something powerful in 2024."

Drop Equal Supported Employment in North Ayrshire a message if you would like to get a copy of the book to read!

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: "Well done to the creative writing recruits and Merry Christmas to everyone over at Equal - thank you for all that you do all year around to help people across North Ayrshire."

They added: "If you have a keen eye for detail, good English and literacy skills and want to help the Equal recruits to write or edit their next book, why not drop Equal a DM to get involved.

"Based at the Trinity Church Annexe in Irvine, Equal is part of the Council’s employability programme, called Working North Ayrshire.

"The team work with anyone with a disability or a health condition that stops them from achieving their employment goals 

"If you live in North Ayrshire, have a physical disability, a long term condition, Asperger’s, autism, learning disability or struggle with your mental health, DM the team to see how they can help you to realise your workplace goals or email:"