Janice Galloway (b.1955) Saltcoats-born author.

Janice Galloway was born on the 2nd of December 1955 in Buckreddan Maternity Hospital, Kilwinning, the second of two daughters born to parents James Galloway and Janet Clark McBride.  Her parents were legally married on 15 November 1937 by ‘Warrant of Sheriff Substitute’, at which time they were employed as a bus driver and bus conductor.  This form of marriage was replaced by Civil Registration on 01 July 1940.  Her elder sister Nora Jane was born in Kilwinning in 1939. 

Her parents separated when Janice was four and her father, then working as a small shopkeeper, died two years later.  Janice was raised in Saltcoats by her mother who supported her by working as a cleaner and later as a school dinner lady.  Initially living in a one bedroom flat above a doctor’s surgery, they later moved into a two-bedroom council house.  Janice went to Ardrossan Academy, where she developed a love of both Handel and Latin and then studied English and Music at Glasgow University, graduating MA in 1978.  Janice then worked as an English teacher at Garnock Academy, Kilbirnie, for ten years from 1980 to 1989, while writing full time.  While writing her first novel she attended a writers’ class at Glasgow University.  Her mother died in 1982. 

Her debut novel “The trick is to keep breathing”, published by Polygon in 1989, about a young drama teacher’s descent into insanity set against the background of a working-class housing estate, won the MIND/Allan Lane Book of the Year and is now regarded as a contemporary Scottish Classic.  Her second novel ‘Foreign Parts’ (1994) won the McVitie’s Prize, and her third novel ‘Clara’ (2002), based on the life of the celebrated 19th century composer and concert pianist Clara Wieck Schumann, won the Saltire Book of the Year, the E.M. Forster Award and the Creative Scotland Award.  She also wrote two memoirs ‘This Is Not About Me’ about her childhood years, for which she was awarded the SMIT non-fiction Book of the Year and ‘All Made Up’ about her teenage years. 

Janice has also worked as a writer in residence at four Scottish prisons (HMPs Cornton Vale, Dungavel, Barlinnie and Polmont YOI) and was the Times Literary Supplement Research Fellow to the British Library in 1999.  She has written and presented three radio series for BBC Scotland which include the two-part series ‘Life as a Man’; the 7-part series ‘Imagined Lives’, and ‘Chopin’s Scottish Swansong’ and she has worked extensively with a variety of musicians and visual artists. 

She is married to opera singer Jonathon May and has one son, James McNaught.