Prize-winning author Cathy MacPhail dies, aged 75

Prize-winning author Cathy MacPhail dies, aged 75

The prize-winning Scottish children’s author Cathy MacPhail has died at the age of 75 following a long illness. 

MacPhail passed away at the weekend and is survived by three children, including fellow author David MacPhail, and six grandchildren. 

Her family tweeted from her official Twitter account on 1st September: "We are heartbroken to let you know that our beloved mother passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. She would want you to travel through life 1st Class."

MacPhail was born in 1946 in Greenock. Her father died when she was two, leaving the child and her three sisters to be raised by their mother. MacPhail had to leave school at 15 to work in a mill. 

Her son David and literary agent Caroline Sheldon said: “Despite these early difficulties, Cathy joined a local writer’s group, and later got to live her dream of becoming an author and comedy writer. Her BBC Radio 2 Sitcom ‘My Mammy and Me’ ran from 1993 to 1995. In 1994 she published her first children’s book, Run Zan Run (Bloomsbury Children’s Books), inspired by her daughter Katie’s experience with bullying. The book went on to win the Kathleen Fidler award and the Vergheretto in Italy.” 

“Her trademark as a writer was to produce gritty and topical novels on important subjects that were totally accessible to her readers,” they said. “She was a brilliant sharer of her work with children, indefatigably giving talks in schools and libraries."  

MacPhail’s work won multiple awards, including the Scottish Children’s Book Award three times, the Stockport Book Award, the Red Book Award and the Grampian Book Award.

Alongside Bloomsbury, she was also published by Puffin, Barrington Stoke and Floris. A film based on her novel, Another Me (Bloomsbury), was released in 2015, starring "Game of Thrones" star Sophie Turner.