"Vikings and Skylarks on Cumbrae” is a story that was inspired by the Viking graves that can be found on the island of Cumbrae, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. As a child Maura laid flowers on these graves and like the main character Moranna, Maura also ran wild and free over the Ayrshire hills each summer. There was no feeling like it.
When teaching the Viking topic to school children, Maura was aware that there was an enormous amount of non fiction books on the topic, but few fiction tales. She also noticed that many childrens’ books focused on images of the Vikings as warriors, merciless and violent. The children wanted to hear about the everyday lives of Vikings; how they lived in Scotland, how they interacted with the local people and how for two hundred years they lived in peace, many of them converting to Christianity. This is what inspired the story.
Illustrated by Sophie Rowan, a Glasgow School of Arts Graduate, and accompanied by Teachers Notes, Maura hopes that Vikings and Skylarks on Cumbrae will have a place in every child’s heart when they first encounter the Vikings in their school topic. Highly Commended - Scottish Writers Association 2022. Sample chapter available for download below.