Catherine MacPhail

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Catherine MacPhail (born 25 January 1946 in Greenock) is a Scottish-born author. Although she has had other jobs, she always wanted to be a writer but she didn't think she would be suited to it.[1] Her first published work was a sort of "twist-in-the-tale" story in Titbits, followed by a story in the Sunday Post. After she had won a romantic story competition in Woman's Weekly, she decided to concentrate on romantic novels, but after writing two, she decided that it wasn't right for her.[2] In addition to writing books for children around their teens, she also writes for adults, she is the author of the BBC Radio 2 series, My Mammy And Me.


MacPhail's first children's novel was Run, Zan, Run. It was inspired by her youngest daughter, Katie was being bullied at school and she wanted to raise the awareness of how little help is actually available to children who are being bullied. Run, Zan, Run was the winner of the 1994 Kathleen Fidler Award for new Scottish Writing. Catherine's next book was entitled Fighting Back, and was about loan-sharking. Fighting Back won one of the first Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards in 1999 . This was followed by the novel Fugitive.

She has also written a series of four books entitled Nemesis, which concluded in May 2008.




  1. Granny Nothing
  2. Granny Nothing (2003)
  3. Granny Nothing and the Shrunken Head (2003)
  4. Granny Nothing and the Rusty Key (2004)
  5. Granny Nothing and the Secret Weapon (2004)
  6. Granny Nothing 6 (TBA)

Nemesis series

  1. Into the Shadows (2006)
  2. The Beast Within (2007)
  3. Sinister Intent (2007)
  4. Ride of Death (2008)[3]

Personal life[edit]

MacPhail was married. She has three children, one named Katie, who was the inspiration from her first book. She has two other children. MacPhail says that she would write for free, but she enjoys to get paid for it. On her website, as a child she asks "Do you know what an eejit is? Someone who is one sandwich short of a picnic … whose lift doesn't go … well, you know what I mean. Eejit is a wonderful Scottish/Irish word that seemed to sum me up perfectly when I was growing up." (Eejit is a Scottish/Irish word for someone idiotic or simple.) "I was always trying to change my image. Act sophisticated, grown up, sensible…and then a story would just plop into my mind and BANG! There I'd go, smack into another lamppost."[4]

MacPhail grew up with three sisters and a widowed mother. Although her father died when she was just two. She claims that "her childhood was full of fun, even though it must have been so hard for my mum. Me and my sisters knew nothing of the hardship she must have had. My mother was always reading books and was never away from the library." MacPhail has stated in her own website she can always remember thinking what a wonderful place it was. You could walk out with a stack full of books and didn't even pay for them! "It was my mum who gave me my love of reading."[5]

"Yet, my own background, my home town, have been the inspiration for most of my writing. A comedy series called My Mammy and Me, another one called We Gotta Get Outta This Place. Set in Greenock, inspired by my own experiences. And my first book, the book that changed my life, Run Zan Run, based on what happened to my own daughter Katie, in Greenock. A tip, if you want to be a writer, don't ever think nothing ever happens to you, because your own life is so interesting, if you just think about it. My only regret? I wish I had started sooner. But once I'd started? There was no stopping me."


  1. ^ "think wee lassies like me could do things like that. It was only after my children were born that I started going to the local Writers' Club. There I was given the confidence and encouragement to start sending my stories away". Official Website
  2. ^ Official Website
  3. ^ a b c Catherine MacPhail
  4. ^ – Children's Authors
  5. ^

External links[edit]