Writing Reviews

BLESSED ASSURANCE (published by Vagabond Voices 2019)

“This is the writer I always dreamed of finding – a born stylist with a story as intimate and vast as all creation. Ennis is the Scottish James Joyce.” Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now, Jonathan Unleashed)

“Stewart Ennis’s debut novel hovers constantly between comedy and tragedy. Small town Scotland is seen in perceptive detail through the eyes of an eleven-year old boy. Characters, like his fundamentalist grandmother, like the unforgettable itinerant preacher, Benjamin Mutch, leap into our heads and take us over. Steeped in matters of faith and rejection, the book offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into a past world which makes you turn the pages in a quest for answers.”
Bernard MacLaverty (Midwinter Break, Cal, Grace Notes)

“Stewart Ennis has drawn on his own faith fixated upbringing to recreate a sixties childhood like no other. We meet characters Mark Twain or Flannery O’Connor would have been proud to have begotten.  Cumulatively these vignettes take on a mass and momentum that propel this deep and deft, richly rewarding debut novel towards precincts of the psyche as yet unprowled in contemporary Scottish fiction.” Donny O’Rourke (Dreamstate: the new Scottish Poets)                                  

“A fascinating piece of literature.  Joseph Kirkland is a character that feels both authentic and timeless. […] A beautifully crafted novel. […] I found the whole feeling of the book to be one of almost mystical beauty.” A Little Haze: Literary Book Blog

 “This is a vibrant and tense book […] brilliantly crafted by Ennis, with characters and the sense of community reminding me of people from my own home village all these years later. […] A beautifully written and ambitious debut, which is well worth the leap of faith.” The Common Space

“Ennis’s strong debut novel perfectly captures the claustrophobia of small town life. There is a distinct feeling of a world on the brink of collapse. With its simmering tensions and bloodstained bibles, Blessed Assurance reads like a Flannery O’Connor story with a distinctly Scottish twist. In this tragicomic tale of faith, grief and redemption, Blessed Assurance reminds us that ultimately it is people, and not religion, that will save us.” Book, Bell & Candle

“Entertaining and funny, with tender and tragic strands, and surreal humour, this is an engaging and touching book.” The Bottle Imp (ASLS Best Scottish Books of 2019)

“We manoeuvre this fictional village through Joseph, inhaling the colour and the community. Kilhaugh seems sparkling and flamboyant, and Ennis captures the glint in the eye of this village. A tome that flows through these six days almost too quick, Ennis’ work is accessible yet glimmers with Scots.” The Fountain

“Sometimes a novel comes along which reminds you why you fell in love with books in the first place. Prime examples for me would be Iain Banks The Wasp Factory and Ali Smith’s The Accidental and anything by Alan Warner, and to those can be added Stewart Ennis’s Blessed Assurance. It strikes the perfect balance between black comedy and teenage melancholy. But it’s Ennis’s language which impresses most and makes each page a joy to read. Stewart Ennis has written a novel which is truly relatable, and when was the last time you read one of those?” Alasdair Braidwood /Scots Whay Hae


“Stewart Ennis’s powerfully-written monologue combines mature reflection, and passages from the novel itself, with sequences written in the kind of breathless 21st century teen language that helps capture the sheer intoxicating passion and radicalism of her sexual and intellectual romance with the already-married Shelley. ”  The Scotsman

“Ennis’ captivating script sparkles, weaving the contemporary with the classical. There’s high melodrama, horror and a huge dose of comedy. This is a well-judged piece of writing …quick, modern and witty prose. ”  The Review Hub

“Like its subject, Stewart Ennis’ script is a multi-faceted gothic collage that gives vent to the assorted voices in Mary’s head … a vivid cut-up of psychological light and shade that gets to the dark heart of the creative urge within.  The Herald

a fascinating and hilarious contemporary look back at Mary Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein. … a wonderfully engaging show.”  The Wee Review

“Electrifying theatre! Ennis’ script is profound and compelling. His themes of love, loss, place and identity are delivered with empathy and understanding; often dark but punctuated at intervals with spells of bright humour to bring light to the mood. ”  SEAL

“The teentastic-Georgia-Nicolson-style retelling of how Shelley lost her virginity at her mother’s graveside is stand-out hilarious.” Aunty Pat’s Film, Theatre & Telly Zine

“The script is a stonker!”  Enthusiastic audience member

“An intense exploration of the disturbance of the human psyche under the impact of seismic grief.”   The Herald

THE DARK ROOM (For Your Pleasure Productions)
“In the middle of a European war whose course may finally be determined by the impact of media images on public opinion, all the questions raised in the script have a horrifying immediacy. ” The Scotsman  

“This look at life through the lens of a contemporary war photographer seems chillingly familiar.  The swinging photographer/model scene poached from Antonioni’s Blow Up is inspired and hilarious.”  The Times

“A Scottish photographer reflects on the frostiness of his relationship with his parents, on the dehumanising effect of seeing the world through a lens, and on the skills, values and excitement involved in war photography. These are all strong strands in an intriguing piece of theatre.”   The Herald

“In a raucous and hilariously funny hour and a half, Ennis dismantles the Burns myth with consummate ease.” The Scotsman

“Ennis  gives his interpretation of what Burns would have to say on Scottish issues of the day. The comment is sharp and refreshing most notably on the refugee crisis.” The Stage

“An exquisite short play  imagining a telling conversation between a Richard-Long-type landscape artist, and a local woman he meets beside a boulder on a wild hillside, on one of his linear walks across Britain.  The Scotsman

THERAPIST (The Arches)
“Therapist – which invites you to imagine that you are the psychiatrist listening to a wife beater, is the most accomplished piece of writing in “I Confess. ” The Herald

THE FORGOTTEN ORCHARD  (Eco Drama)  Script and Songwriter
“Ennis’s Ballad of the Bloody Ploughman is a superb piece of Burnsian storytelling revealing the tale of an impoverished ploughman who was caught scrumping apples and killed.”  The Scotsman

THE LITTLE MERMAID (The Arches)  Songwriter
In My Underwater Zoo…the best song about living in the sea since The Beatle’s Octopus’s Garden.” The Times