Candia McWilliam

Candia McWilliam is a novelist, born in Edinburgh in 1955. Her mother died in 1964, when she was just 36 years old. McWilliam studied at the Sherborne School for girls and then took a first in English at Cambridge University. She modelled for Levi Jeans and worked as a journalist.

Her first novel A Case of Knives won a Betty Trask Prize in 1988, and her second, A Little Stranger, won a Scottish Arts Council award in 1989. In early 2006 McWilliam began to suffer from blepharospasm, a contraction of the eyelid, which eventually left her blind. For two years she was without sight, until a last-ditch operation in 2009 restored her sight. The story of her blindness and return to sight was documented in her memoir What To Look For in Winter.

On Scotland, McWilliam once said:

“I don’t have a sense of belonging in England and I don’t really have a sense of belonging in life, but when I am in Scotland I have a sense of belonging to it. I have always felt intensely Scots.’

In 2006 Candia McWilliam was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. She is twice married, with a daughter and two sons.

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