Mairi Hedderwick was born in Gourock in 1939 and moved to the Isle of Coll at the age of seventeen when she took a job as a mother’s help. She left the island a few years later to attend the Edinburgh College of Art. After her studies, she remained in Edinburgh for a short time, working as a primary-school teacher before returning to Coll in the early 1960s. For a time, she, her husband and her young family lived there in a house with no electricity or running water, their nearest neighbours two miles away.
In 2003 she was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Stirling for her outstanding contribution to writing and illustration in Scotland, especially for children.
Mairi is the author and illustrator of the popular children’s series, Katie Morag, which she loosely based around her own experiences of island life, and which is currently being animated for children’s television. She also writes and illustrates travel books for adults and illustrates Jane Duncan’s Janet Reachfar children’s books published by Birlinn. Mairi Hedderwick’s range of beautifully illustrated diaries and stationery, featuring her exquisite watercolours of the Hebridean islands, is also published by Birlinn.
Courtesy of the artist’s author’s page on the Birlin website.