A – Z Challenge H is for Hugh

Hugh Rae was one of the UK’s most successful writers over a long, long period. He had several pseudonyms and wrote in several genres, but I know him best as

Jessica Stirling

I first met Hugh in Pitlochry at an October writing conference. He didn’t organise them, but he was instrumental in their success. Every year at the Swanwick writing school, Hugh was on the look-out for new talent, interesting speakers and folk who needed a leg-up. Over a period of years, I encountered lots of interesting people at that little conference, sadly no more, and it always marked the start of the writing winter for me.

The measure of the man was in my very first meeting with him. I was wandering around the Scotland’s Hotel foyer wondering what happened next. (Mums allowed out for the first time on their own can be a bit disorientated, no?) Anyway, Hugh spotted this waif and said, “The rule at this conference is that the first coffee is on me.”

I’ve never forgotten the kindness. His death last year deprived the writing world of a star.

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