Susan Elsley is an experienced writer, policy analyst, researcher and facilitator.


Susan runs her own agency focusing on public policy and research, children’s human rights and the services that support them. Since 2005, she has worked extensively with national and local government, voluntary and public organisations and universities, in Scotland and internationally.

She is Chairperson of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and Craigmillar Literacy Trust. She has been a trustee of Play Scotland and many other charities.


Susan spends as much time as she can on her own creative writing. Her current work in progress is a novel set in post-war Berlin. She also writes short stories and poetry which focus on the connections between people and places. Susan was shortlisted in 2019 for the Emerging Writer Award run by Moniack Mhor in partnership with the Bridge Awards. She has chaired author events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for many years.


Susan has over 30 years’ experience in the voluntary, public and academic sectors. She began her career in play, youth and community work in Edinburgh and Manchester and then worked for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) supporting national networks. She was a senior manager for children’s services at Save the Children in Scotland before leading its policy, research and media work. She has lectured and been a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

Susan has a PhD In Sociology, an MSc in Childhood studies, an Honours degree in English Literature and a post graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work.


Susan lives near the sea in Edinburgh and heads to the north west of Scotland whenever she can. She loves long distance walking, burrowing in historical archives and kayaking along rocky coasts.