KELSO lecturer-turned-author Margaret Skea was the guest of honour at a glittering event at the Edinburgh branch of the Waterstones book chain last week for the launch of her debut novel.
There was a capacity 60-strong audience for the event, with Margaret’s novel, Turn of the Tide, introduced by Professor Ian Campbell, of Edinburgh University.
Margaret followed her degree in linguistics at St Andrews University with a PhD on the Ulster-Scots vernacular, which led, in turn, to an interest in the 16th century history of the west of Scotland.
Her fascination with this period became the genesis of Turn of the Tide and which went on to become the historical fiction winner in the 2011 Harper Collins/Alan Titchmarsh People’s Novelist competition.
A Hawthornden Fellow and award-winning short-story writer, her recent credits include the overall winner, Neil Gunn 2011, Chrysalis Prize 2010 and Winchester Short Story Prize 2009.
Margaret was also shortlisted for Mslexia Short Story 2012 and long-listed for the Matthew Pritchard Award, the Fish Short Story and the Fish One Page Prize, and she has been published in a range of magazines and anthologies in Britain and the United States.
“The event was really well attended, despite it being a very wet and windy night in Edinburgh,” Margaret said.
“It felt really nice to be a published novelist after such a long wait – but a kind of scary feeling at the same time as there was a real weight of expectation about my second book.”
Margaret is 40,000 words into a sequel, and says she would be delighted to be invited to speak about her work in the Borders.
“Hopefully local groups such as Rotary clubs or schools will invite me to speak to them, as I am always delighted to come along and talk about my writing.”
Turn of the Tide, published by Edinburgh-based Capercaillie Books, is available from bookshops and online. Margaret also has a blog, which can be read at http://margaretskea.com and a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TurnoftheTide.