Fife author's debut novel is set to hit shelves

A teacher from Glenrothes is set to release his debut novel, The Mash House, next month after being inspired from his time living and working in the Highlands.
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Alan Gillespie grew up in Pitcoudie, and now works as an English teacher at Fernhill School in Glasgow.

‘The Mash House’, is a story set in the fictional landscape of Cullrothes on the Ardnamurchan peninsula and focuses on the trials, tribulations, rivalries, and secrets of the people who live there.

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Alan, who uses multiple narratives to weave together the lives of his characters, was inspired to write the novel after being sent to work in a school in Strontian in the West Highlands in his first year of teaching.

Alan Gillespie. Pic: Bob McDevitt.Alan Gillespie. Pic: Bob McDevitt.
Alan Gillespie. Pic: Bob McDevitt.

He said: "After training to become a teacher I was sent to a school in Strontian, and was inspired by the incredible scenery and all of the secrets and rivalries that go on in a small isolated village.

"I really enjoyed my time there, but it was quite strange going from living in a large town to this small village.

"At times it could be quite difficult as I was there for a year and in the depths of February it was very different.”Alan explained the name of the village in the novel was influenced by Glenrothes and the word cull, as in to cull an animal, and also as it is used to describe death and destruction.

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He finished writing his novel in August last year, but the pandemic put the release on hold – until now.

"I’m absolutely buzzing about its release,” he said. “It’s really exciting to know that all my hard work and many hours in front of my laptop have been worth it.

"It has actually worked out fine with the pandemic, as my book will be on shelves just in time for book shops reopening."

Alan adds that even though his novel is set to be released next month he won't be giving up his day job anytime soon.

"I love my job as a teacher,” he added.

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“Teaching makes me a better writer, and writing makes me a better teacher. Anyone can become a writer, all you need is just a bit of confidence.”

For more information, please visit: or if you would like to buy a copy of Alan’s book, please visit: The Mash House

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