Mary Stewart would have been 101 years old today, so I am offering a giveaway as part of our Mary Stewart Day celebrations.

Did you know that, in addition to writing suspense novels, Merlin/Arthurian novels, children’s novels and poetry, Mary Stewart also wrote short stories? Short story ‘The Lost One’ was originally published in a magazine in 1960 and finally gained publication in book form earlier this year, alongside Mary Stewart’s 1968 novella that also features Perdita as its main character: you can read more about The Wind Off the Small Isles and The Lost One here. The only other short story written by Mary Stewart that I am aware of is ‘The Loch’, although I suppose this is better described as an essay: it chronicles visits to an isolated Scottish loch, the stunning and rare wildlife found there, and the ultimate fate of the loch. You can read an extract in my blogpost here. In the space of eight pages, Mary Stewart writes a passionate case for conservation, delights the reader with her description of setting, plants and birds, and even gifts us a lovely drawing which graces the beginning of the story.

‘The Loch’ was published in 1971 in a book called The Twelfth Man, described as ‘a book of original contributions brought together by The Lord’s Taverners in honour of their patron HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh with a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales’. Running to 285 pages, there are also contributions from Mary Renault, Daphne du Maurier, Henry Williamson, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, John Betjeman, Gerald Durrell and many others.

The Loch

It really is a good read and it so happens that I own two copies (don’t ask!). I would like to give away one copy to mark Mary Stewart Day. Postage costs mean that only those with an address in the UK can take part. If you would like to win this book, just tell me so by leaving a comment below – the winner will be chosen at random on 24 September 2017 so be sure to take part by then!

Right at our feet in the heather was a hatched duck’s nest, and a few moments later the widgeon launched herself, with her gruff alarm call, from the bank below us, and seven coffee-cream balls of fluff went bobbing in her wake.

Please note that the copy of the book that I am giving away has no dust-jacket but for some reason the inner cover has details from the dust-jacket sellotaped on; there is also a label with a Major’s address in Natal. The book itself is sound and clean but the book cover is a bit faded and discoloured.