Diary of a Writer – September Prompt

Illustration – Gerard Fay

Nothing succeeds like success and that mantra is no different for me with the publication of my fourth serial for DC Thomson’s The People’s Friend than it was for the first.

In A Class of Their Own arose out of the reading and researching I did for serial 3, City of Discoveries. 1869 was a bumper year for anyone looking for ideas and I highly recommend it to you. Writing pompts there in plenty.

It is about Sophia Jex-Blake and the struggle for women to overcome prejudice and false perceptions in order to train and qualify as doctors of medicine.

Illustration – Gerard Fay

It is also about the Stevenson sisters who were Edinburgh ladies of comfortable means and formidable intellects and drive. Edinburgh folk recognise Flora Stevenson’s school in the north of the city but perhaps not who it is called after. My own knowledge of that comes from a pamphlet I borrowed years ago from my local library. Written by several Edinburgh women, it celebrated the lives and work of some of the female pioneers.

Transformed into the Begbie sisters for the serial, Jane Begbie sets up a peripitetic school for teaching the children (read girls) how to cook and feed a family. Fast forward to 2021 through Atholl Crescent and we arrive at Queen Margaret University.

And the prompt? There’s an idea bubbling away. Seeing the lovely illustrations by Gerard Fay week by week remind me – YOU CAN DO THIS.

What’s on your writing horizon? Take a compass reading, raise the sails and lift anchor. (enough with the nautical stuff, Ed)



A Class of Their Own – The Edinburgh Seven

The Edinburgh Seven were ladies of unmatched determination in their pursuit of the RIGHT to matriculate in a British University and to study for a degree which would enable them to have their names added to the Medical Register.

Theirs is a story that has inspired and horrified in equal measure over the 152 years since five of them, led by Sophia Jex-Blake, took the first step and matriculated.

My story, starting today in The People’s Friend magazine, is a fictionalised account. I hope you, too, will share my wonder.

Illustration by GERARD FAY