About me


I was born and brought up in Dunfermline (made famous by, amongst others, Sir Patrick SpensAndrew Carnegie, Moira Shearer and  Nazareth) and studied classics at St. Andrews University.

After graduating I spent time in Oxford and London before getting married and moving here to Bristol.  Since then my accent has almost worn off, but I remain a Scot at heart, particularly during big sporting moments or when the English language fails to provide a word as vivid as dreich or scunner.

My first career was in university and college libraries until  I found myself mixed up in new technologies, which led to a move into IT Training.  It was around this time that I realised my ambition to be a writer would never come to pass unless I made a start.

For a while I dabbled with poems and short stories, but it wasn’t until a visit to France in 2003 that I had an idea for a novel and penned (or pencilled) the opening scenes during the ferry crossing home. Luckily I had already met Sarah Duncan, a local writer, whose  ‘How to Write a Novel’ course provided both inspiration and practical advice. When I finally finished A New History of Love, I was thrilled to be a prize-winner in the  A&C Black 2006 First Novel Competition. Maybe a publisher was too much to expect?

By 2012 I’d completed A Kettle of Fish and submitted to agents and publishers, gaining a positive reaction in most cases but no outright ‘yes’. Then Thornberry Publishing came along with an offer to e-publish and so here I am the debut novelist at last.

There’s always news of my writing, reading and performing on this site, and you can find me most days on Facebook or Twitter.  Anyone who’d like to share memories of St. Andrews can take a look at my Alumnus Blog where I’d love to have contributions from fellow graduates – of any era. Thanks again for visiting. Come again, au revoir, or haste ye back!

Ali B.

10 responses to “About me

  1. Pleased to have found your site. Yes I was at St Andrews 1976 – 80 and emerged, with considerable lack of originality with a boyfriend I later married! Actually we did the same subjects as Prince William and KM. Will read more and think of something to contribute. Have so far not managed to persuade any of our four children to follow in our footsteps! Best, Alison

  2. debutnovelist

    Hi Alison, how nice to meet you.
    I also achieved the degree/boyfriend/husband set at St. Andrews but even earlier (70-74). Conceived the other blog in a nostalgia moment at the time of The Wedding but have become side-tracked. I think it could be fun to revive it, especially if others chip in.
    a bientot?

  3. Congrats on your first novel – the plot sounds enticing. Thanks for visiting A Writer of History.

    • Hello Mary and thanks for visiting. I’m currently tackling historical fiction and need all the tips I can get! Ali B

  4. Pingback: In discussion with Lucienne Boyce - Jane Davis: Author of Half-truths and White Lies, I Stopped Time and more...

  5. Hello! I was at St Andrews, 1977-1981! Medieval History! Does the writing group still meet? I moved to the S. Glos last August and feel the need to get out and meet people! Debut novella is being published at the end of June. Nervous about marketing! Cheers Van

  6. Thanks, Ali, for your kind words about ‘Daddy’s Girls’ &c
    All the best

  7. Thanks Zoe – that post must have been a while ago I think, but still applies of course 🙂 I also started a St Andrews nostagia blog but haven’t really kept it up – I think we were contemporaries? http://saintandrewsalphabet.wordpress.com

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