Stronach Books

IN THE summer of 1987, Norman Harper was Features Editor of The Press and Journal, the morning newspaper for the northern half of Scotland. He was casting around for a humorous short-story column to balance the weightier arts content he had introduced in a redesign of the paper’s weekend leisure supplement. Norman decided to take on the job himself and wrote a pilot episode of a proposed 26-part weekly series based on characters that he felt would be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with day-to-day village life in North-east Scotland.

Stronach was aimed squarely at readers to reflect their real-life, contemporary speech … and they lapped it up. When it reached the end of its original 26 weeks, readers started a letters campaign to keep it going. Eventually, Stronach ran for 811 episodes, four books and 16 years, and the first three of the four books have never been out of print.

If you find Stronach books difficult to source, please get in touch. We have a very limited number in stock. They are £7.95 each, P&P free within the UK. For pricing details to other countries, please use the Contact Us tab above to send an inquiry. Make cheques payable to Stronach Media Ltd. and send to Stronach Media Ltd., Alford AB33 8QN.

 

Find out about the history of Stronach here.

 

Stronach Book, Volume One, Aberdeenshire, DoricStronach: Volume 1

… was Norman’s first book and was published in 1992. It was the first outing in book form for Stronach residents.

The foreword, a potted history of the village by the fictional Reginald Knox-Fooshtie, a history lecturer at the University of Old Aberdeen, was so convincing that an American academic tried to contact him so that she could do further research.

Still the most popular of the Stronach books, it features biographies of all the main characters and 12 recipes from the women of Stronach WRI.

ISBN: 1 897672 00 4  •  120 pages, paperback, 180mm x 246mm  •  Published by SML, October 1992  •  £7.99

 

Stronach: Volume 2

… was the middle of the original trilogy of Stronach stories and was published in 1993. The foreword this time was written by Prof Elva L Fashioned, of the sociology department at the University of Old Aberdeen.

It also included reviews of the year by several key residents, all of whom outlined the calamities which had befallen them.

Again, the 128-page book concluded with a selection of traditional Scottish recipes from the women of Stronach WRI, as well as a quiz (answers in Volume 3).

ISBN: 1 897672 01 2  •  128 pages, paperback, 180mm x 246mm  •  Published by SML, October 1993  •  £7.99

 

Stronach: Volume 3

… was published in 1994 and was the last in the original trilogy of Stronach stories. The foreword this time was written by Sheila Sunshine, presenter of Radio North-east’s holiday programme Days Here and There.

It also included mini-essays by the residents in which they listed their favourite places, many of which appeared to be within the Vale of Stronach.

As usual, the book concluded with a selection of traditional Scottish recipes from the women of Stronach WRI.

ISBN: 1 897672 04 7  •  112 pages, paperback, 180mm x 246mm  •  Published by SML, November 1994  •  £7.99

 

Stronach: Volume 4

… was subtitled The Village Strikes Back. It comprised 50 tales from 1995 to 1999 and included the episode which drew the greatest public response of the 16-year series when Dorothy Birze had a confused visit to her GP.

The cover design’s space theme caused much debate and discussion before publication and, as Norman had feared, confused some long-term Stronach enthusiasts, principally because there was no science fiction in the book. Ah, the twin mysteries of book design and publishing.

Once again, the cover design was by Graham Maclennan. Look closely and you’ll see a young version of Norman.

ISBN: 1 84158 288 3  •  182 pages, paperback, 138mm x 216mm  •  Published by Birlinn, October 2003  •  £7.99

 

The Stronach Tapes

… were not in book form, obviously, but were instead a double cassette of the tales from Stronach Volumes One and Two, produced in 1993 after Norman learned that many of the older fans of Stronach were having difficulty reading the smallish print in the Press and Journal every Saturday.

Finding a suitable actor, who could handle a range of authentic Doric accents, to read the tales proved impossible, so Norman took on the job himself, with a marathon recording session at a studio in Glasgow. “It helped that I was also a lot cheaper,” he said later.

Format: Two audio cassettes  •  Playing Time: 179 minutes  •  Published by SML Audiobooks, November 1993  •  £7.99