Article published on April 14, 2017.
Our Intrepid Reporter Sheila A Grant is always keen to support local author events but this one proved especially enjoyable.
It is a rare event in Kilmarnock to have a renowned author speaking so it was a treat to welcome Sara Sheridan on Saturday 5th February 2017.
Sara was a joy to listen to, regaling us with stories of her childhood, her love of research and writing, and her extremely busy life all with humour. You could feel the heat of her enthusiasm.
Like many women she recalls becoming totally lost in Heidi, a book that for many was the catalyst that transformed them into avid readers. When Sara’s mother saw her daughter’s passion for reading, she took her along to the library where this little girl was so completely overwhelmed, she dissolved into tears with the words “I’ll never manage to read all these!” Her parents were not readers so books did not feature in their home. Her father though had superb story telling skills and his magical power of total memory recall of details of items and events from way back in his life was and remains a source of unusual tales.
The author of the very successful Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries, she is also a most enthusiastic researcher into women of the past who have been overlooked, which is perhaps one of the reasons the Saltire Society includes her in the 350 most outstanding women of Scotland. As a lover of history and the research involved I am envious of the hours she enjoys rooting around in the archives of the National Library of Scotland. There she has concentrated on discovering hitherto little known women who contributed in no small part to the history of this country, Sara is enthusiastic about bringing their names and their stories into the limelight placing their stories in the books she writes wearing her historical hat.
There were a few gasps when she told us there are more statues in Scotland to animals than there are to women! And only 15 percent of the total statues in the land are of the fairer sex. No luck for the sole man in the audience who was the subject of a few glances.
This was such an entertaining and enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon, even when Scotland was playing in the 6 nations. In her gentle voice Sara was enchanting to listen to as she charmed, amused, entertained and informed us with never a pause.
A busy lady who surely must use her time wisely, she gave us a whiff of a perfume she is partly responsible for creating a perfume to commemorate women of the past. And lovely and fresh it is too, despite a most unusual name, ‘Damn Rebel Bitches’! Seems appropriate as it is the 20th anniversary of Maggie Craig’s eponymous book about the women who accompanied the men of the ’45.
Operation Goodwood by Sara Sheridan is available now.
Hester & Harriet: Love, Lies & Linguine by Hilary Spiers