Aileen Paterson, MBE (1934-2018)

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Aileen Paterson, MBE.

Author and illustrator of the "Maisie, the Morningside Kitten" books.

Born 30 November 1934, Burntisland.

Died 23 March 2018, Edinburgh.

Article by Helen Mabon of Burntisland Heritage Trust


Aileen Paterson’s early life was spent with her parents in the Kirkgate, Burntisland. She attended Burntisland Primary School and Kirkcaldy High School. Further study gained her qualifications at Edinburgh Art College and Edinburgh University. She worked as an art teacher for 20 years into the 1980s.

Check out the Burgh Buzz, Autumn Issue 2002 (opens in a new tab or window). On page 9 you will find a delightful personal account of her childhood while at primary school in Burntisland, narrated by Aileen. Included in that article is the painting she did of the then, Macari’s Ice-cream Parlour.

Her books, which she herself illustrated, feature Maisie MacKenzie, the kilt-wearing Morningside cat, who had all sorts of adventures. Although in the children’s literature genre, her books can be enjoyed equally by adults, sharing their charm, with a youngster. Aileen wanted the language of her childhood preserved and so Maisie speaks in the vernacular.

An early book, published in 1984, was titled ‘Maisie’s Mystery Tour'. Within these pages, Maisie and all her kitten friends visit familiar landmarks between Edinburgh and the East Neuk. The highlight for us is them buying an ice cream in Burntisland at Macati’s (aka, Macari’s Ice-cream Parlour, an institution for decades in the second half of the 1900s). One of the pictures, with feline figures, depicts the shop perfectly. The original was displayed inside for many years.

There are some 32 books in the Maisie series. Aileen Paterson also contributed to the following anthologies:

In 2011 Lothian Buses made Maisie the 'Face of Morningside' on their No 5 bus, which goes through Morningside.

Maisie's adventures were turned into an animated STV series, titled 'Meeow!', produced in both English and Gaelic, with Stanley Baxter doing the voices in the English version and actor Tony Kearney in the Gaelic. These can be accessed on YouTube.

Aileen was awarded an MBE in 2015 for Services to Children’s Literature. She received the award from Prince William, who is said to have been a Maisie lover as a child.

She headlined the Burntisland Civic Week programme for several years in the early 2000s, reading from her Maisie books in Burntisland Library.

Please click here to access Aileen's Wikipedia page; and here for their page on the STV series..



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