Millrace Books
Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan

Jane Duncan made publishing history in 1959 when, as an unknown Scottish writer, she had seven novels accepted by Macmillan. She had written the sequence while living in Jamaica, keeping it a secret and hiding the MSS in her linen cupboard. When her partner, an engineer on a sugar plantation, became seriously ill, she was driven to type one up and send it to a London agent. It was the start of the internationally successful My Friends series.

The first to appear in print was My Friends the Miss Boyds, set on the Black Isle in north-east Scotland. It was an instant bestseller and the other six followed in rapid succession. The series eventually ran to nineteen titles but she also published the Camerons books for children, first written for her niece and nephews, and (as Janet Sandison) a quartet of novels set in Glasgow.

Jane Duncan was born Elizabeth Jane Cameron in Renton, Dunbartonshire, in 1910, the daughter of a policeman, and grew up in the Glasgow area. But the place she regarded as her ‘real home’ was her grandparents’ croft on the Black Isle, where she spent all her holidays. It was to the Black Isle, to her father’s cottage in Jemimaville, that she returned in 1959, after her partner’s death in Jamaica. She lived in Jemimaville for the rest of her life and is buried at Kirkmichael churchyard.

For a look at Jane Duncan’s life and writing, click here for Catherine Deveney’s absorbing article in Scotland on Sunday.