Interview with Margaret Elphinstone

Bill Marshall, Margaret Elphinstone

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Bill Marshall: Margaret, your participation in the Stirling workshop was a great pleasure for those of us working in the discipline of French Studies on the notion of prehistory. Perhaps I could kick off this written interview by asking what drew you to the Mesolithic period in Scotland for your 2009 novel The Gathering Night?

Margaret Elphinstone: I'd had a notion to write a prehistoric novel for a long time. I'd written a short story about the builders of a Neolithic stone circle.2 My idea was to return to that setting and write a novel. In 2006 I began research into what was to me a totally new field, reading general texts on the prehistory of the British Isles. I was struck by the way every book began with a brief gesture towards the Mesolithic, amounting from a couple of sentences to a whole chapter. It seemed a fairly cavalier way to dispose of about 10,000 years of human history. Was that because there was no history? Something must have been going on. I was drawn by the immensity of the silence: a few middens, postholes, hearths, bones, a scattering of artefacts. But between these scanty finds, at the heart of every narrative there seemed to be a profound gap.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-410
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


  • interview
  • Margaret Elphinstone
  • French studies
  • Bill Marshall


Dive into the research topics of 'Interview with Margaret Elphinstone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this