Isla Dewar

Isla Dewar was a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. Her career spanned two decades, and she authored 17 novels translated into 17 languages.

Isla Dewar was born in Edinburgh. She grew up with her tax inspector father, Ian White, and her mother, Marjory. Dewar attended Leith Academy. She started her career in a yogurt factory lab. Later, she worked for teenage magazines.

In 1966, Dewar married cartoonist Bob Dewar. They had two sons, Nick and Adam.

Isla Dewar began writing for Romeo magazine in Dundee. She covered the interests of girls and relationship advice. Her first novel, Keeping Up with Magda, came out in 1995. Her second book, Women Talking Dirty, was published in 1996.

It caught Elton John and David Furnish's attention. They bought the rights to Rocket Pictures, and Dewar wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation. The movie, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Gina McKee, was released in 1999.

Dewar was known for her humorous storytelling. Her books often focused on women's friendships. Her writing style was direct and engaging. She portrayed ordinary women in relatable situations.

One of her notable works, Women Talking Dirty, is set in 1970s Edinburgh. It delves into themes of betrayal and companionship. Dewar's knack for capturing the essence of women's experiences made her work resonate with many readers.

Dewar also contributed to the collection Scottish Girls About Town in 2004. It included stories from several Scottish women authors. This anthology featured her short story In the Garden of Mr Pink, which showed how she could evoke humor and poignancy in everyday life.

Her final novel, A Day Like Any Other (2018), reflects on the friendship of two women with imperfect pasts. Inspired by observing two women laughing outside a supermarket, Dewar explored themes of resilience and joy in later life.

Her quote from the book, "It ain’t over until it’s over. You can still have fun," encapsulates her outlook on life and writing.

Her life was marked by personal challenges, including the loss of her son. This tragedy profoundly impacted her life and work. In her later years, arthritis limited her physical activities. She spent time watching birds and creating stories about them.

Isla Dewar died aged 74 after a heart attack.
years of life: 29 June 1946 20 June 2021


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The sea was a step away, round the corner.


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I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.’
Martha knew what he meant.
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‘The best, the funniest, cleverest, the most enjoyable writer in Scotland today.
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