Lynn Michell writes on behalf of Marjorie
Marjorie came to my writing group when she was in her nineties, wearing three pairs of glasses round her neck, and apologising for being ‘an old nuisance’. Far from it. Her wisdom, experience, blunt comments and caustic sense of humour made her a much loved and valued member of our group. And when she started to read extracts from her memoir, Childhood’s Hill, we all recognised a rare, lyrical voice and I knew it had to be published.
Marjorie and I would work together once a week in her museum of a house in Newington where she had lived since she was twelve years old. The upstairs drawing room had been untouched over the decades, on the walls were water colour paintings by her sister Agnes, and in a back room was an incredible collection of old dolls. We would sit together in front of her gas fire. She would read aloud and I would nod and sometimes wipe away tears. There was almost no editing to be done.
In her youth, Marjorie was a regular contributor to BBC radio, reading her own stories, and had many articles published in Scots Magazine. She travelled widely, went sailing, and was a Red Cross nurse during WWI. Then, for twenty years, she stayed at home to nurse her sick mother.
Childhood’s Hill beat Ian Rankin’s new novel for one week in Blackwells Best Sellers. They held a launch for her where she read for the final time in front of an audience.
Marjorie died two years ago. On her bedside table were a photo of her cat, Tufty, and a copy of Childhood’s Hill.
Marjorie’s books published by Linen Press
Marjorie’s book is now out of print, but you can find out more about it here: Childhood’s Hill