Music journalist and academic, Jan Fairley, dies – updated version

THE writer, broadcaster, researcher and academic, Jan Fairley, has died. She had been diagnosed with colon cancer in March last year.

Well known as a regular contributor – mainly about world music – to The Scotsman newspaper and The List magazine, she died this morning.

Her varied career included the directorship of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and an honorary fellowship at the Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool. In 1987, she gained a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Edinburgh.

Fluent in Spanish, she worked abroad – notably Chile 1971-3 and again in 1994 – and researched in Cuba, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Finland.

She held the post of welfare officer for the Edinburgh Freelance branch of the National Union of Journalists.

Says the branch’s secretary, Mark Fisher: “We’ll all miss her positive outlook and love of life.”

It is believed her funeral is to be held at Christ Church, Morningside, at 8.30am next Saturday.

Update: In an article in today’s Scotland on Sunday (June 10), the paper’s arts editor, Andrew Eaton-Lewis, is quoted, as saying: “She was an extraordinary woman. She was always incredibly full of life and lived very fiercely. She did so many things and went to so many places.”

Further update: Eaton-Lewis writes an obituary in The Scotsman (June 11), here.