Booking a journey for Lothian authors

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson

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Short stories written by two Midlothian residents have beaten stiff competition to be included in a new Book Week Scotland publication.

Penicuik author Catherine Simpson and George Roy, from Bonnyrigg, both impressed the selection panel with their journey themed tales.

First-time writer George, 54, explained his story, I Saw It, was inspired by glimsping the love shown by a woman to a wheelchair-bound man on a recent bus journey.

He said: “I looked over and saw the woman was very affectionate towards him. I thought they were both very beautiful, very ordinary looking people.

“The story focuses on their relationship I realised it was probably more likely to be her son rather than her husband.”

He added that the experience made him think about his relationship as a father with his son, who he sees twice a week, since he separated from his partner two years ago.

“I came up with this idea of a journey following the separation with my son. It has been a journey over two and a half years,” said George, who works part-time at the Edinburgh College of Art library.

He is a volunteer teaching assistant at St Margaret’s Primary, Loanhead, after carrying out a similar role at Rosewell Primary earlier this year.

Catherine, 51, was inspired to write Caravans, Midges, Fish and Bollards after recalling her first visit to Scotland as a child. “I have lived here [Scotland] for 20-odd years now but this was an important journey. It wasn’t just a physical journey but an emotional journey in making Scotland my home,” she explained.

The mother of two used her experiences of bringing up a child with Asperger’s syndrome as the inspiration for her debut novel Truestory, which was published in September.

Catherine added: “I love being involved with these projects. The Scottish Book Trust have these projects every year.”

The opening chapters of Truestory won her a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013.

To celebrate the fourth year of Book Week Scotland – November 23-29 – more than 150,000 free copies of Journeys will be given to people throughout the week.

All the stories entered are available at www.bookweekscotland.com.