Tag Archives: Cathy Forde

The Scottish novelists

Lists will rarely be complete. But some are more complete than others.

On Monday Herald Scotland published a list of Scottish children’s authors.* What prompted this seems to have been Julia Donaldson’s decision to leave Scotland and move back to England. It felt like an ‘oh god who do we have left in Scotland if Julia Donaldson moves away?’ kind of list.

Don’t worry, J K Rowling is one of their ten ‘best.’ So are others that I know and admire, along with a few names I have never heard of. Which is fine, because I don’t know everything, and I’m sure they are great writers. I don’t even know who counts as Scottish for this purpose.

Although, with J K topping the list, I’m guessing they allow English writers living in Scotland. That makes my own list rather longer. Harry Potter isn’t particularly Scottish as a book, even if Hogwarts is in Scotland. Do Scottish authors living in England, or god forbid, even further afield qualify? (I’m not so good at keeping track of such people, so I’ll leave them out for the time being.)

As I said, I have no problem with who is on the Herald’s list. But along with quite a few Scottish authors, I gasped when I realised who weren’t on it. Catherine MacPhail and Gillian Philip, to mention two very Scottish ladies. Linda Strachan, Julie Bertagna and Theresa Breslin, who are also pretty well known and very Scottish indeed.

Keith Charters and Keith Gray. Damien M Love and Kirkland Ciccone. John Fardell. Lari Don, Lyn McNicol, Joan Lingard and Elizabeth Laird. Cathy Forde. Dare I mention the Barrowman siblings, Carole and John? Alexander McCall Smith writes for children, too. Roy Gill, Jackie Kay. Cat Clarke. And how could I forget Joan Lennon?

I’m guessing former Kelpies Prize shortlistees Tracy Traynor, Rebecca Smith and Debbie Richardson belong. (There is one lady whose name is eluding me completely right now, but who appears at the book festival every year and seems very popular…) Have also been reminded of Margaret Ryan and Pamela Butchart. (Keep them coming!)

Most of the above have lovely Scottish accents and reasonably impeccable Scottish credentials. But what about the foreigners? We have the very English, but still Scottish residents, Vivian French, Helen Grant and Nicola Morgan. Americans Jane Yolen and Elizabeth Wein. Ex-Aussie Helen FitzGerald.

And I really don’t know about English Cathy Cassidy, who used to live in Scotland but has more recently returned to England. I think she counts, too, along with all those writers whose names simply escape me right now, but who will wake me up in the night reminding me of their existence.

I’m hoping to get to know all of you much better once this wretched move is over and done with. Unless you see me coming and make a swift exit, following Julia Donaldson south. Or anywhere else. I think Scotland has a great bunch of writers for children. (And also those lovely people who write adult crime, and who are not allowed on this list, even by me.)

Sorry for just listing names, but there are so many authors! One day I will do much more. Cinnamon buns, for starters. With tea. Or coffee. Irn Bru if absolutely necessary.

Theresa Breslin's boot

*For anyone who can’t access the Herald’s list, here are the other nine names: Mairi Hedderwick, Barry Hutchison, Chae Strathie, Claire McFall, Daniela Sacerdoti, Debi Gliori, Caroline Clough, Janis MacKay and Diana Hendry.

Advertisements

Half term miscellany

Being awfully miscellaneous here again. And here isn’t where it was yesterday. I have packed a suitcase full of Neil Gaiman books and travelled north. Why see Neil in Manchester when I can go to Edinburgh instead?

I’m still trying to make sense of the public address system at Manchester Piccadilly. It did sound as if they said “if you need a brain surgeon while on the station”, but I’m sure they can’t have. Although, maybe I do.

Daughter has been lent to another blogger over the half term week, so please beware of getting too friendly with me. I may send my children to you. This time it’s the lowebrow family in Germany who are the lucky ones. Daughter apparently read two books over the weekend, so will now be scraping the barrel, having only one book left to last her a week. And she had one of those “don’t mention the war” situations, when the German history teacher asked about history in English schools.

I was surprised to find that Grandmother, who I’m staying with, had a copy of the Daily Telegraph lying around. But there is a reason for most things, and this time it was a front page photo of Offsprings’ step second cousin, (almost) kissing a man.

So, today the witch will be all over Edinburgh. Hopefully carting round three maps of the city will prevent me from getting too lost. I still think it’d be a good idea to visit J K Rowling, except I’m not sure exactly where she lives. However, if it turns out I don’t get tea and cake from JKR, Nick Green has recommended a good café, with home made cake. Authors can be so useful.

It remains to be seen whether I can manage to find Julie Bertagna hovering somewhere today. She thinks I look like a vase of flowers, and when I googled images of her I came up with my own photo of Cathy Forde. The web is weird. But interesting.