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Norman Harper

Norman Harper

Born: 1957 in Aberdeenshire
First Book: Stronach (Stronach Media, 1992)

Norman Harper was born in 1957 and raised in rural Aberdeenshire. He abandoned his university studies in medicine in favour of a career in journalism, beginning as a young reporter at The Press and Journal in Aberdeen.

Norman moved into feature-writing in 1981 and took responsibility for the paper’s features output in 1987, winning several industry awards along the way. In 1993 he became a twice-weekly columnist on the newspaper, drawing on his experiences and upbringing in Aberdeenshire to give colour to his writing. His passion for cars made him the paper’s motoring expert for twenty-two years, during which time he estimates he drove around 3,000 different models of car.

During the 1990s, Norman wrote a book a year, beginning with the popular four-volume Stronach series, a collection of short, humorous tales set in a fictional village somewhere in the north-east of Scotland.

In 1995 Hugh Andrew and Neville Moir, now of Birlinn, commissioned Norman and BBC broadcaster Robbie Shepherd to compile for Canongate the first book in the Dash O’ Doric series of humorous anecdotes from north-east Scotland. This was followed by two further Dash O’ Doric volumes and one compilation (all now published by Birlinn). Norman’s other books have included two sell-out anthologies of newspaper columns, and First Daily, the history of the Press and Journal, Britain’s oldest and biggest regional morning newspaper, which was published to coincide with the paper’s 250th anniversary in 1998.

Norman recently compiled the Doric glossary for Birlinn’s new edition of Scotland’s best-loved work of fiction, Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. He is also a weekly columnist for Scotland on Sunday; a monthly columnist for Leopard, a Scottish-culture magazine; a contributor to motoring-related websites worldwide and a literary editor. He lives in Aberdeenshire and is currently writing three more books.