Obituary: Janet Paisley

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Janet Paisley. Here is an obituary authored by Liz Niven, the chair of the Writers In Exile Committee

November 15, 2018

Photo credit: DCThomson

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Janet Paisley. Here is an obituary authored by Liz Niven, the chair of the Writers In Exile Committee

Janet Paisley 1948-2018

Janet was a prolific award-winning writer, poet and playwright. Raising her six sons singlehanded, she initially wrote for commercial outlets to support her family. Across decades she published hundreds of short stories and poems, collecting major awards such as the Peggy Ramsay award for her moving play Refuge, and Scottish Arts Council support including a Creative Scotland Award.

Janet campaigned tirelessly for greater recognition for the Scots language, instilling confidence in pupils across the country and beyond. She cared enormously about human rights, women’s rights and linguistic equality. She travelled across Eastern Europe and Russia to attend Literary Festivals, introducing the voice of Scots abroad.

She co-ordinated the first Scottish PEN Women Writers Committee and was one of those responsible for founding the annual Naomi Mitchison Memorial Lecture and compiling the 100 Scottish Women Writers poster. One of my cherished personal recollections is working with her and the Catalan Women Writers in Barcelona to coach the actresses to pronounce the north east Scots of Violet Jacob.

Her work has been translated into Russian, German, Russian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Catalan, Spanish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch.

Scotland has lost one of its bravest, generous and most talented quines.

Awards for Janet Paisley include BAFTA and RTS nominations for Long Haul, a 2000 Creative Scotland Award to write Not for Glory; 1999 Canongate Prize; 1996 Peggy Ramsay Memorial award for RefugeNational, Scottish National, Swanage Arts and MacDiarmid Trophy poetry prizes; Sutton, Scotwrite and BBC prose prizes. In 1996 Alien Crop was shortlisted as Scottish Book of the Year and Sooans Nicht was Critics Play of the Year. In 2003 Not for Glory was in the World Book Day Top Ten Scottish Books and featured on the nation’s favourite books of all time list of 2005. Her critically-acclaimed historical novels, White Rose Rebel and Warrior Daughter, are Penguin paperbacks.  She received a TradArts award 2018 for her services to Scottish Culture.