Penny publishes her novel 30 years after starting it

Coldingham author Penny Worton
Coldingham author Penny Worton

A Coldingham woman inspired by her late mother’s war-time tales has published a novel – more than 30 years after she started writing it.

Penny Worton has published her own novel ‘Glencairnie’ set during the First World War, a conflict her mum lived through.

Born in 1908, Penny’s mother was only a small girl when war broke out in 1914 but that didn’t stop the Great War from having a lasting effect on her as her family became embroiled in activities on the Home Front.

Penny’s mum shared many of her experiences and this prompted Penny to first put pen to paper in the 1980s.

Her mum passed away later that decade but Penny vowed that one day she would finish her story and have it published and she’s been true to her word.

“My book is a tribute to my mother and her generation,” Penny explained. “I knew I wanted to write a novel, but life didn’t give me the chance to write it.

“I also kept hold of what I’d written in the 80s, but it wasn’t until my retirement that I got cracking on it again. I refined it last year and now I’m thrilled that it’s now out there for people to read.”

Like many families, Penny’s were quickly immersed in the war effort with her grandmother, a steadfast suffragette sympathizer, working for the Red Cross and her grandfather having his driving and riding horses requisitioned for duty.

Although most of ‘Glencairnie’, which sets its action in a number of familiar places such as the Lammermuirs, Duns and Berwick, is about life away from the front line Penny wanted to make sure that any references to the war itself were correct.

“There were a lot of telephone calls made and plenty of foot slogging particularly to the United Services Museum in Edinburgh; they were a great help. The novel is of course pure fiction as are the characters, yet much of the content relies on the history of the era and its aftermath.

“I think and I hope my mum would be proud of what I’ve come up with.”

○‘Glencairnie’ is available from and Penny is signing copies at Coldingham bookshop on Saturday.