Aileen Paterson

30 November 1934

Writer and Illustrator

Aileen Paterson is a Scottish writer and illustrator, best known for her series of children's books about Maisie the kitten, beginning with Maisie Comes to Morningside the title deliberately echoing 'Cotton comes to Harlem' by Chester Himes.

Born in the Fife town of Burntisland, she then moved to Kirkcaldy, before gaining a place at Edinburgh Art College (1951-1955) where she specialised in pottery. Aileen ran a solo pottery studio in Dublin during 1950s and was an art teacher for 18 years. She also made lifesize ragdolls, painted and became a craftworker. Aileen began writing Maisie books in 1982. 

Maisie, the heroine, wears a kilt and Fair Isle jumper. She lives in Morningside, the suburb in Edinburgh. Aileen Paterson has created a world where almost everyone is feline. There's a belligerent budgie and the occasional horse, but no dogs or humans. However, the illustrations are of real places, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris or New York, the latter title 'Maisie Bites the Big Apple' featuring the Marc Chagall murals in the Metropolitan Opera House.

Maisie is a brave, adventurous kitten exploring a world that ultimately reinforces the good things in life such as friendship, food, fun, community and football. The wit and finely tuned social observation engages adults as much as children.

Several stories have been turned into an animated series called Meeow starring Stanley Baxter and her latest book sees Maisie investigating strange goings-on in Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens.

Aileen married twice and has 6 children. She has lived in Bristol, Dublin, Glasgow, Stonehaven, Renfrewshire, but has been living in Edinburgh since the 1970s. 

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