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Makeshift, first published in 1928, deals with a young girl’s adolescence and early adulthood in early 20th-century Scotland. Dramatic and closely observed, it is a fascinating study of changing attitudes and expectations, as well as being an exciting and stimulating novel in its own right.
Hunger March is another significant novel, first published in 1934. The action is confined to a single day, the day of the great hunger march. Intending to present a complete overview of the city, Allan chooses both working-class and middle-class characters, whose stories interweave through the day.
Confronting issues of class and gender, Makeshift and Hunger March offer an insight into women’s lives in Scotland in the first half of the 20th century. They are also highly readable and enjoyable works of fiction by a writer who deserves rediscovery by a new generation.
Introduction to Makeshift
Introduction to Hunger March
Appendix I: Journalism and short stories by Dot Allan
Appendix II: ‘Invisible Mending’
Dot Allan (1892–1964) was a novelist with a writing career which spanned nearly forty years. Her work found popularity and critical approval in the 1920s and 1930s, although her work is now overlooked and almost forgotten.
Moira Burgess is a novelist, short story writer and literary historian. She recently completed a PhD at Glasgow University on the work of Naomi Mitchison.
Cover illustration: ‘Le Voile Persan’, John Duncan Fergusson, 1909. © The Fergusson Gallery, Perth and Kinross Council. Image supplied courtesy of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow. Reproduced by kind permission.
Cover design: Mark Blackadder.
Last updated 17 July 2019.