Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Long Distance Wark; BOOKS She Juggles a 900-Mile Commute with Family Commitments, but Newsnight Host Kirsty Wark Has Still Found Time to Write a Novel. She Chats to HANNAH STEPHENSON about Her Book and Why Jeremy Paxman Isn't Scary

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Long Distance Wark; BOOKS She Juggles a 900-Mile Commute with Family Commitments, but Newsnight Host Kirsty Wark Has Still Found Time to Write a Novel. She Chats to HANNAH STEPHENSON about Her Book and Why Jeremy Paxman Isn't Scary

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH STEPHENSON

IF Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark had a pound for every commute she's made from Scotland to London during her broadcasting career, she'd be considerably richer.

The mother-of-two who still lives in her home town of Glasgow, makes the 900-mile train commute every week.

But then Kirsty has a strong sense of home - and that home is Scotland.

"I have lived in London, when I was a producer, but I always knew I was on a long elastic band and that I would come back," she says.

She's warm and friendly, far more genial than her gruff Newsnight counterpart, Jeremy Paxman.

Is he as scary as he seems? "No, no, no. He's generous and gentle, nothing like that persona."

Kirsty, 59, is an extremely versatile journalist, one of a rare breed who can interrogate a government minister, then move on to an in-depth analysis of a new novel, play or film.

"Last week I went to London to do an interview with Debbie Harry. Newsnight can embrace all these things," she enthuses.

"I've always been a person who believes that you should be able to mix and match politics, news and the arts."

Now, she has turned her hand to fiction in her debut novel The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle, inspired by her love of the Scottish island of Arran, where it is set.

"There was a period a decade ago, when we'd had an incredibly wet holiday there and my husband said, 'I need to go somewhere where I can get a little heat', so we stopped going. But I wanted to maintain a connection with the island, and the best way to do that was to write about it," she explains.

The novel is a gentle read in which the eponymous character, Elizabeth Pringle, leaves her house on Arran to a woman who is all but a stranger. It falls to the beneficiary's daughter, Martha, to find out how her mother inherited the house.

From here, we follow two stories - the life of Elizabeth Pringle, born just before the First World War, told in the first person, and the quest by Martha in the present day to find out how her mother inherited the house.

The two stories bring home the cruel consequences of the Great War, as well as the secrets that hold women together. …

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