Sian Mackay was born in Edinburgh, the 'City of Literature', in the same district of Canonmills where Robert Louis Stevenson had been born a century earlier. When she grew up, like many Scots, she was inspired by his writing and a series of coincidences led her to the English seaside town of Bournemouth where Stevenson lived that momentous year of 1885 when he wrote 'Kidnapped' and 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Her fascination with how this unlikely literary milestone came about led to her writing the fictive biography of Stevenson 'The House on the Chine'.
Sian Mackay started her writing career as 'Sheila Mackay' a journalist and non-
This literary transition has left its mark on her work. The central challenge of her writing practice is the continual wrestle with 'fact' and 'fiction' -
'The House on the Chine' contains elements of both as does her current 'fictive biography' about a war artist who lived heroically through all the ground shattering epochs of the first half of the 20th century and died on the Spanish island of Mallorca in 1960.