Obit of Journalist-turned-Novelist Published by The Herald

The obituary of a journalist who became hugely successful as a romantic novelist has been published in The Herald.

But Iain Blair, who worked on The Sunday Post was best known as 'Emma Blair', author of 29 books that are said to have sold at least two million copies.

Said The Herald on Friday: “His story has nothing to do with sexuality, gender change or the like. It’s just that his publishers noted early on that Blair’s novels, mostly set in Scotland or later his adopted Devon, would sell better if readers, mostly women, thought the writer was female. It turned out they were right but when 'Emma' was nominated for a fiction prize, with potential TV appearances to ensue, 'Big Iain' as his friends called him, thought he ought to 'come out'. He did so on the popular TV show, Wogan.” 

After spells living in Canada and Australia, he “landed a job on the Sunday Post as a trainee feature writer in its offices on Port Dundas Road, Glasgow, and soon found himself writing the popular Hon Man – Holidays-on-Nothing – column, a launching pad for some of Britain’s best journalists.

“But he dreamed of being an actor and a chance afternoon visit to a cinema during a rainy Glasgow day changed his life. It was Burt Lancaster in The Flame and the Arrow and so moved was he that he went back to see it twice a day for a week. He was accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy Music and Drama and, to be closer to the big acting roles, won a position at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Before concentrating on his novels, he would appear on the West End stage and in TV programmes including The Sweeney, The Saint and Citizen Smith.”