Novelist hopes to cause a stir

Author, Moira McPartlin.
Author, Moira McPartlin.

MOIRA McPartlin publishes her debut novel next week and she hopes it will have quite an impact.

The Killearn author spent two years researching and writing her book The Incomers and the same amount of time trying to find a publisher.

The 53-year-old, who has lived just outside the village for the past six years, said: “The Incomers will be published at the end of this month by Fledgling Press and it tells the story of Ellie, a young black African who comes to live in a Scottish mining village in 1966.

“It draws deep parallels between the cultures of West Africa and Scotland.

“As well as dealing with racial prejudice, the novel also touches on colonial oppression, bigotry, bullying, class and depression.”

The former high-flying businesswoman who worked for the oil giant Shell for many years before deciding that a globe-trotting life was not for her, said the inspiration for the novel came from her early years.

She moved from England to the small Fife town of Oakley, and then to the slightly bigger village of Carnock in the mid-sixties.

She added: “At first I made the main character a little white girl but the book started to become too autobiographical and I didn’t want this. That is why I changed the main character.”

Although Moira’s novel does not resemble Kathryn Stockett’s The Help in content, it has similarities because Moira is a white person writing from a black person’s point of view.

She said: “I worked hard to authenticate the content among some of the black African community in Scotland.

“Zimbabwean poet, Tawona Sithole and Gameli Tordzro, artistic director of Pan African Arts Scotland, both read the book and feel it could be influential.”

Earlier this month the book was discussed at the Glasgow book festival Aye Write and two actresses from Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society acted out scenes from it.

Moira said: “They portrayed two ignorant village gossips who are far from PC. Their inclusion and the sections I read from the book sparked a lively question and answer section.

“Based on this initial airing I believe the book will create controversy if it reaches the wider public because it will challenge views people still have but do not air.”

The Incomers’ book launch is at 6pm in Waterstones, Glasgow, on Thursday, March 29.

It costs £9.99 and will be available from Milngavie Bookshop, where it can also be pre-ordered.