Lavinia Derwent

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Lavinia Derwent
BornElizabeth Dodd
Cheviot Hills, England
Pen nameLavinia Derwent
OccupationWriter and broadcaster
GenreChildren's fiction, adult fiction
Notable worksThe Sula quartet

Lavinia Derwent was the pen name of Scottish author and broadcaster Elizabeth Dodd MBE (1909–1989).[1] Derwent was born in an isolated farmhouse in the Cheviot Hills some seven miles from Jedburgh. She began making up stories about animals at an early age. She also wrote a version of Greyfriars bobby. Her autobiographical books, include her Border and Manse series. Border Bairn is set around her home town of Jedburgh, while Lady of the Manse has a Berwickshire setting. Derwent's Manse books drew on her experiences of keeping her brother's house in order. Her brother was a Church of Scotland minister.[2]


Derwent's first successful series was her Tammy Troot stories. They were read out in the 1920s on Auntie Kathleeen's Children's Hour on Scottish Radio.[3] The first of the books was published in 1947. They were still being reprinted in the 1970s. In the 1970s she co-presented the television series Teatime Tales (alternating with Molly Weir and Cliff Hanley) on STV in which she recollected stories from her own childhood.[1]

The Sula Books[edit]

Derwent wrote a best-selling book about a fictional island called Sula which later featured in BBC's Jackanory, read by John Cairney.[4] It was also made into a television series. The original novels were: Sula,[5] Return to Sula,[6] The Boy From Sula[7] and Song of Sula.[8]


  • Tammy Troot (1947)
  • Tammy Troot's Capers (1947)
  • Huffy Puffy the little red engine (1951)
  • Macpherson (1961)
  • Further Adventures of Tammy Troot (1975)
  • Sula (1969)
  • Return to Sula (1971)
  • The Boy from Sula (1973)
  • Song of Sula (1976)
  • Macpherson's Island (1970)
  • Macpherson's Skyscraper (1978)
  • A Breath of Border Air (1977)
  • Another Breath of Border Air (1978)
  • God Bless the Borders (1981)
  • A Border Bairn (1980)
  • Beyond the Borders (1989)
  • The Tale of Greyfriars Bobby (1985)
  • The Lady of the Manse (1985)
  • A Mouse in the Manse (1987)


  1. ^ a b "Lavinia Derwent - 1909 – 1989". Jedburgh Historic Town. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Dodd (Lavinia Derwent)". Scottish Literary Locations. 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Lavinia Derwent". Books from Scotland - The Best of Scottish Books. 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Radio Times 1923 - 2009". BBC. 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  5. ^ Derwent, Lavinia (1969). Sula. Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0862410681.
  6. ^ Derwent, Lavinia (1971). Return to Sula. Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0862410738.
  7. ^ Derwent, Lavinia (1973). The Boy from Sula. Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 9780863154003.
  8. ^ Derwent, Lavinia (1976). Song of Sula. Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 9780863154386.