The Authors


We are delighted to introduce our authors for the 2021 St Duthac Book & Arts Festival. We hope you agree that there is a genre for everyone in this collection of talented wordsmiths.

Sally Magnusson

Sally Magnusson is a writer and broadcaster, based in Glasgow, who has presented a wide range of programmes for the BBC, including Reporting Scotland, and authored a number of books. In 2014 the memoir of her mother’s dementia, Where Memories Go, became a Sunday Times bestseller. In 2013 she founded the charity Playlist for Life to encourage access to personal music for people with dementia.
Her 2018 fictional debut, The Sealwoman’s Gift, based on the true story of a 17th century Algerian pirate raid on Iceland, was shortlisted for six literary awards. Her second, The Ninth Child, published in 2020, blends Victorian social history with ancient folklore in the Trossachs. It was described by Scotland on Sunday as “cementing Magnusson's place … as one of Scotland's leading writers of historical fiction.” Her third novel, based on the women who resisted the Strathcarron clearances in the 1840s and 50s (with several references to Tain), will be published early in 2023.

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Helen Sedgwick

Where The Missing Gather, the second novel in Helen Sedgwick’s atmospheric crime trilogy, The Burrowhead Mysteries, will be launched at the St Duthac BAF. Helen will discuss the writing and themes behind her cross-genre trilogy that combines aspects of a police procedural with ghost story, folk horror, social commentary, and archaeology. Her previous novels include The Comet Seekers and The Growing Season, which was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018, and she will talk about her move from literary fiction to crime fiction, how her background as a research physicist influences her writing, and the inspiration she takes from the highland landscape.

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Introducing Laura Kirk

Growing up in the Seaboard Villages, Laura was intrigued and eager to learn about folklore. During her fourth year in college studying Visual Communications, she was able to start something she felt passionate about.
She has created a stunning visual book which includes a collection of folklore stories from the Seaboard Villages. The illustrations by Laura give the stories a softer edge, that is perfect for younger generations to feel drawn to.

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Jeff Zycinski & Karen Bartke

The former Head of Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, talks about life before, during and after the BBC and describes his childhood as the youngest of eight children born to a Scottish mother and Polish father. His recollections begin in a hospital’s intensive care unit as he recovers from nine hours of life-saving surgery. Doped on morphine, he dreams about the many fictional characters he created for radio and magazines. Karen Bartke (Officer Karen from Scot Squad) brings those dreams to life as she performs live extracts from Jeff’s book.  There’s also a guest appearance from Jeff’s own alter ego -Johnny Sellotape, pioneer of adhesive comedy.

“Undeniably entertaining.” – Gavin Docherty, Scottish Daily Express

“A comical read that will whisk you away from the world’s pandemic woes.” –Nicola Smith,  Daily Record

“His irrepressible desire to entertain enlivens every page.” – Ken Bruce, Radio 2 BBC.  

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Cynthia Rogerson

Prizewinning author Cynthia Rogerson writes mainstream literary fiction, set in Scotland and California. She is the author of five novels, one of which is under the pen name Addison Jones.  She has also published a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies,  broadcast on BBC radio, and been translated into five languages.
She won the V.S.Pritchett Prize in 2008, and her work was short-listed for Best Scottish Novel 2011 and  serialised on BBC Women’s Hour.
She holds a Royal Literary Fellowship at Dundee University and supervises on the Creative Writing Program at Edinburgh University.   Originally from the San Francisco area, she has been based in the Scottish Highlands since 1985 and lives with her husband and hens near Inverness.

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Liz Treacher

Liz is a writer and an art photographer and a love of images influences her writing. She is married with two children and lives in the Scottish Highlands by the sea. Liz was drawn to writing after she discovered a tiny suitcase belonging to her grandmother. It was tied up with gingham ribbon and full of letters sent by two soldiers on their way to the First World War. The cheerful tone of the soldiers and the way their letters seemed to conceal more than they revealed inspired Liz's first novel, 'The Wrong Envelope.' She has since written a sequel, 'The Wrong Direction' and a darker, contemporary novel, 'The Unravelling'.

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S.G Maclean

Shona is the author of two series of historical crime novels – the Alexander Seaton Series, set in 17th Century Scotland, and the Damian Seeker novels, set in the London of Oliver Cromwell. She has a PhD in sixteenth and seventeenth century Scottish History from the University of Aberdeen.

Married with four grown-up children, Shona spent her childhood years in Balintore, where her parents ran the Commercial Hotel, and she was a pupil of Hilton Primary school. After many years living in Aberdeen and on the Aberdeenshire coast, she is now back living in the Highlands, at Conon Bridge.

Shona’s work has been long- and short-listed for several awards, and she has twice won the Crime Writers’ Association Historical Dagger. She is currently working on her tenth book, The Bookseller of Inverness, which is set in the 1750s and due out next year.

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Clio Gray

Clio Gray is an award winning novelist, Booker nominated & Bailey's longlisted and has been described as a master of atmosphere and sensuousness. She has had 12 books published (including the Stroop Quartet & the Scottish Mystery series) and has recently been signed by Scottish publisher Sparsile, about which she could not be more pleased.  A life-long lover of books, she kept on in her established career in libraries, and works in Tain Library in Easter Ross.

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Philip Paris

Author, playwright and journalist Philip Paris lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife Catherine. He is best known for his books about Orkney’s famous Italian chapel. However, his work is diverse, ranging from a contemporary novel about domestic abuse against men to a hilarious novel concerning the antics of residents in a Highland care home.


Debbie Ross

Debbie Ross is an author and professional bread maker. She put a pinny on aged 8 and has never taken it off. Around the same time she got her first typewriter and has been clacking keys ever since.
A prolific blogger, poet and short story and recipe writer, her creations have appeared, occasionally, in magazines, on her blog, and now for the first time, in her own her own books.
She lives with her husband, in the Highlands of Scotland, in a cottage at the top of a hill overlooking the Cromarty Firth.
She turned her lifelong love of cooking into a career in 2015 and as well as the organiser for the successful Nigg Book Fair - now in its 4th year -  you can find her with her bread and bakes at markets and food events across the Highlands.

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Moira Forsyth

Moira Forsyth is the author of five published novels, and her short stories and poetry have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Since 2002, as Publishing Director of Sandstone Press, she has selected, commissioned and edited both fiction and non-fiction for Sandstone Press, including books which have won or been listed for awards, including the Booker Prize, the Man Booker International, the Wainwright Prize, the Betty Trask Award and others. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland.

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James Miller

Born and brought up Caithness, Jim Miller studied zoology in Aberdeen and marine biology in Montreal. He worked for several years with the British Council chiefly in London until his growing interest in writing led him to resign and return to the north of Scotland.
He has written a number of books, including Scapa, The Dambuilders, Swords for Hire, The Gathering Stream and, most recently, The Finest Road in the World, which was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize in 2018.
Apart from his non-fiction books on historical themes, he has published fiction and poetry, and contributed regular columns on current affairs and local topics in the John o’Groat Journal and the Inverness Courier.

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Ceitidh Hutton

Ceitidh has worked with children, Scottish Gaelic and music in one form or another for most of her adult life.  She loved her job as a Gaelic Development Officer, which at one time covered an area larger than Belgium. She was paid to drive what is now a large part of the North Coast 500 to visit various communities around the Highlands. Yes it was amazing, and long, long hours.
Apart from working on her next English and Grumpa books; She takes part in author visits, workshops and monthly Bookbugs around the region. She is registered with the Scottish  Book Trust Live Literacy Programme for workshops, school visits and book festivals. Her proudest writers moments switch from readers telling her how much they love her stories to when Grumpa agus an Latha Fuaimneach, won Leabhar Na Bliadhna (clann)/Young Gaelic Children's Book of the year 2019 at the Royal National Mod in Glasgow, to making it onto the shortlist of the Gaelic Literacy Awards in 2020. As Ceitidh says "Not bad for a learner dyslexic."

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Barbara Henderson

Inverness-based Barbara Henderson is the author of historical novels Fir for Luck, Punch, Black Water, The Siege of Caerlaverock and The Chessmen Thief as well as the eco-thriller Wilderness Wars. Her energetic school visits have taken her across Scotland and beyond - and as a Drama teacher, she loves to get young people on their feet.
Barbara shares her home with one teenage son, one long-suffering husband and a scruffy Schnauzer called Merry.

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Meg McLaren

Meg is an award-winning picture book maker based in Inverness.  Her fourth book, Peep!, was published this year by Andersen Press.
Her first picture book, Life Is Magic, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017 and The Station Mouse won the Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2020. 
Meg likes building worlds for her characters to live in and uses detail and typography to add humour to her images.  
When she’s not up to her eyeballs in ink Meg can usually be found on a very long walk, or trying to convince her dog that it’s not dinner time yet.

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Gordon Morrison

Gordon tells a fascinating story that will appeal not only to those who have associations with the company, Morrison Construction, but also to business historians and anyone interested in how a successful business can be built from nothing.

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Dr Tom Turpie

It was at Stirling that Dr Turpie developed his passion for medieval, and specifically Scottish, history and after graduating in 2005 he decided to take this interest further. Moving to Edinburgh he completed an MSc in Medieval History and then a PhD which explored the role of local and national saints’ cults and shrines in the devotional culture of late medieval and early modern Scotland.
After completing his doctorate at Edinburgh in 2011,  he returned to the University of Stirling, first working as a researcher on the AHRC funded Corpus of Scottish Medieval Parish Churches (2012-2013), and subsequently as a Teaching Assistant, Researcher and Lecturer.
As a freelance historian, he has also collaborated on a number of projects outside of academia, writing short books on the Declaration of Arbroath (2020), a guidebook for Dunfermline, and collaborating on large projects including the Family Names UK Project (2013-2014), the Fife Pilgrim Way (2016), Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke Burgh Survey (2016-2017) and Inverkeithing Community Burgh Survey (2020-).

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