Kirkcaldy author’s Scots’ audiobook is the cat’s whiskers

Maureen (left) and Sheena with Mike Lowe from the coffee shop
Maureen (left) and Sheena with Mike Lowe from the coffee shop

Lang Toun author, artist and poet Maureen Sangster is bringing her mither tongue to the younger generation in a groundbreaking new project.

One half of the creative force behind the successful ‘Converstations’ project which brought art to railway stations around Fife, Maureen has just finished ‘The Caerlaverock Cat’ an audio book which tells the tale of an adventurous cat trying to find its way home with the help of a Fife boy – and it’s all read in Scots.

And Maureen (63), who has lived in Kirkcaldy, for the second time, since 2001, hopes the CD could be used in local schools to help introduce children to the Scots’ tongue in an interesting and gentle fashion.

“This has all come about following a spell I had with a local writing group in the former Merchant’s Garden cafe in the town’s High Street some years ago,” explained Maureen, who is now retired after working in many different jobs over the years.

“We were tasked to come up with a children’s book and, as I had just spent time with a friend in Dumfries who owns lots of cats, and my own cat Eugene had sadly just died, I decided to base my story on the adventures of a cat from Dumfries and Galloway.

“I wrote it in English in 12 chapters and it was only after I returned to it a few years later that I thought it would be better in the Scots tongue, so I set about translating it. The more I got into it, the more I thought it would be really good to have it as a CD for youngsters to be able to hear the Scots dialect for themselves.

“Sheena, who I worked with in Converstations, had been helping to proof read it and I thought she would be ideal to do the voice of the boy who comes from Fife, as she has the accent.”

The chapters are voiced alternately by Sheena as the boy and Maureen as the cat, and Maureen plans to unveil it at the next Fife Writes meeting at the Cupcake Coffee Box on January 26, when the theme is Beyond Burns.

“I have been greatly supported by Mike and Simon from the Cupcake Coffee Box, which provided sponsorship for the graphic design on the CD sleeve and for producing the CDs,” said Maureen.

“I am going to be talking about the project at Fife Writes and copies of the CD will be for sale on the night.

“I also plan to make it available in digital format so that it can be used by schools interested in teaching pupils about the Scots language, which many already do in Burns studies and poetry competitions.

“A big part of this is about increasing awareness of the vibrant Scots language and I hope it will help to spark more interest.”

The Caerlaverock Cat is available from maureen.sangster@yahoo.co.uk, price £9.99 plus £1.80 p&p or Waterstones bookshop in the High Street.