10 January 2020

Abertay Food graduate turns author to publish memoirs

Abertay Food graduate turns author to publish memoirs

A photo of Helen Welsh holding her new book

An Abertay graduate who decided to return to university shortly after turning 60, to pursue her passion of working in the food and drink industry, has published her first book.

Helen Welsh, from Newburgh in Fife, has employed a unique approach to write her memoirs, choosing to tell her life story through her memories of food and drink.

A Life in Mouthfuls uses Scottish culinary treats to take readers on an emotional journey, sharing tales of good times, hard times, disasters and celebrations.

Helen started work on her book days after handing in her dissertation for her MSc Food and Drink Innovation course in 2018.

"I had the idea of writing a memoir by choosing episodes from my life that related to food and drink memories.” - Helen Welsh

She said: “I wanted to write something for fun, after spending a year or so doing academic work. I had the idea of writing a memoir by choosing episodes from my life that related to food and drink memories.”

Helen finished a first draft in around 3 months, and initially thought that no one would be interested in reading it.

She added: “I’m not a celebrity, so I didn’t see why anyone would care! I happened to see a competition for non-fiction work that was run by the Scottish Association of Writers and I decided to enter it.

“I won second prize and the adjudicator, who was a literary consultant, said she thought it had commercial potential. That gave me confidence. It took another 3 months to edit, proof read and provide general finishing touches, and then I self-published it.”

A Life in Mouthfuls also talks about the impact Abertay University had on Helen’s life: “I very much enjoyed my time at Abertay, and a lot of opportunities came from that.

“I was involved in research which gained a bit of attention, when another student, Chrysoula Antoniadou, and I developed a sustainable spirit using bakers’ bread and broken oatcakes.

“Dr Jon Wilkin from the university also provided an endorsement for the back of the book, which was nice!”

Helen, who balances her writing career with a job as a tour guide at Lindores Abbey Distillery, is already planning her next book: “It’s a bit of departure from food writing! It’s called Book to Film: Great Adaptations.

“I’m in a group where we read a short story or novella, then meet to watch the film adaptation – so it’s about what we’ve read and watched. I intend to publish it early next year.”

A life in Mouthfuls is available on Amazon both in print and as an e-book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Mouthfuls-Scottish-Drink-Stories/dp/1916241808/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2V8RBNDLI0DTL&keywords=a+life+in+mouthfuls&qid=1575555560&sprefix=a+life+in+mou%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-1

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