Sally Magnusson

Raised in Glasgow, Sally Magnusson is a Scottish writer and broadcaster. She began her career at The Scotsman before moving to the BBC, notably as a long-serving presenter of BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland news programme. She has worked on a range of programmes, including BBC Breakfast Time, BBC 2’s The Daily Politics, Panorama and Songs of Praise. She is the founder and chair of Playlist for Life, a charity that encourages access to personalised music on iPods for people with dementia.

In 2009 Sally received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University. Her memoir of her mother’s dementia, Where Memories Go, won her the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award for Writing in 2014 as well as being shortlisted for the Saltire Literary Book of the Year award.

Sally’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/sallymag1

Sally Magnusson is represented at Jenny Brown Associates by Jenny. For all enquiries contact jenny@jennybrownassociates.com

The Sealwoman’s Gift

Two Roads, February 2018

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. Although the raid itself is well documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards. It was a time when women everywhere were largely silent.

In this brilliant reimagining, Sally Magnusson gives a voice to Ásta, the pastor’s wife. Enslaved in an alien Arab culture Ásta meets the loss of both her freedom and her children with the one thing she has brought from home: the stories in her head. Steeped in the sagas and folk tales of her northern homeland, she finds herself experiencing not just the separations and agonies of captivity, but the reassessments that come in any age when intelligent eyes are opened to other lives, other cultures and other kinds of loving.

The Sealwoman’s Gift is about the eternal power of storytelling to help us survive. The novel is full of stories – Icelandic ones told to fend off a slave-owner’s advances, Arabian ones to help an old man die. And there are others, too: the stories we tell ourselves to protect our minds from what cannot otherwise be borne, the stories we need to make us happy.

Praise for The Sealwoman’s Gift
‘A remarkable feat of imagination… I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure’ – Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent