The Scottish author of the popular Katie Morag children’s books has spoken positively about independence.
Mairi Hedderwick, who writes and illustrates the series set on the fictional island of Struay, was asked her view during an interview on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs.
Presenter Kirsty Young said: “There is plenty talk right now about Scotland going off on its own. Where do you stand on the referendum?
She replied: “Of course I think it would be a good thing.
“Either way, it will have been a good thing because I think it’s brought a lot of soul searching.
“I’m not interested in the economics and the politics of it, it’s the culture of it that really would make me very happy if we could become independent.”
The Katie Morag books featuring the eponymous red-haired little girl and her family have been translated into several languages and adapted for television.
The stories were inspired by Ms Hedderwick’s experiences on the isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides where the 74-year-old brought up her family before returning to live on the mainland.
She said that she found many of the books she read to her children were “so boring” and after many years as an illustrator was persuaded to write the first Katie Morag book, published in 1984.
“I knew that storytelling was a shared activity at the end of the day, that the adults can enjoy as well,” she said.
“So if you look in the Katie Morag books you will see lots of little adult jokes.”
Katie Morag titles have been used in schools to introduce pupils to certain themes but the illustrations led on one occasion to a ban from two public libraries.
Ms Hedderwick, who grew up in Gourock, Inverclyde, and attended school in Kilmacolm before studying art in Edinburgh, said: “The breastfeeding scene in the Tiresome Ted story - the editor was very uncomfortable with that and said ‘I’m going to have to remove that’. I stuck out for it.
“There were, I’m afraid, two libraries in Glasgow that refused to have the book.”
Asked what reading material she would have on her desert island, the author opted for a book of maps.
She said: “I want a book made from all the Ordnance Survey maps of the highlands and islands of Scotland, because I will go through all the walks I’ve done all my life and then all the other ones I’m going to do when I come back.”
Her one luxury would be a hot bath, and among the songs she chose for her island soundtrack were Frank Sinatra’s My Blue Heaven, a song she associates with her father who she lost just before she turned 12, and Dire Straits’ Telegraph Road.
“It will remind me that I’m quite happy on this desert island,” she told Ms Young.
Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11.15am today and repeated on Friday at 9am.