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Jane Duncan facts for kids

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Jane Duncan (10 March 1910 – 20 October 1976) was the pseudonym of Scottish writer Elizabeth Jane Cameron, best known for her My Friends series of semi-autobiographical novels. She also wrote four novels under the name of her principal heroine Janet Sandison, and some children's books.


Elizabeth Jane Cameron was born in Renton, West Dunbartonshire on 10 March 1910 and brought up in the Scottish Lowlands. Her father was a police officer, and her mother died when she was 10 years old. Duncan attended Lenzie Academy in the area of Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire, but much of her childhood was spent in the Highlands on the Black Isle in Easter Ross, on her grandparents' croft "The Colony" (the "Reachfar" of her novels). She graduated in English from the University of Glasgow and did various secretarial jobs before serving as a Flight Officer (Intelligence), WAAF during World War II alongside the choreographer Frederick Ashton. She later lived in Jamaica for ten years with her lover, Alexander Clapperton, where she began her career as an author. After the death of her partner, she returned to Jemimaville, near "The Colony", in 1958 as a widow.

In 1959 Duncan became something of a publishing sensation when Macmillan Publishers announced that it would be publishing seven of her manuscripts, the first to be produced being My Friends the Miss Boyds. The nineteenth and last of the series, My Friends George and Tom, was published in 1976. The biographical background to her writing is given in her Letter from Reachfar (1975).

In her later years she lived in Jemimaville in the Scottish Highlands, where she wrote her later novels. She died there on 20 October 1976.


The My Friends series is narrated by Janet Sandison and follows her life from the World War I period through to the 1960s, depicting the people she encounters and showing how her crofting upbringing influences her in whatever society and geographical location she finds herself. Duncan's My Friends series was heavily based on her own life.

In the four-novel Jean Robertson sequence (1969–75), notionally written by Sandison (who herself becomes an author), the heroine and part-narrator moves from bleak beginnings in the town of "Lochfoot" (based on Balloch, West Dunbartonshire) to become a house-servant in the interwar period, influencing for good the lives of many around her.

The five-book "Camerons" series for children have a contemporary setting (being inspired by the author's niece and nephews, "The Hungry Generation") and are notable for including the young Iain who has learning difficulties. Camerons on the Train was filmed as The Camerons (Children's Film Foundation, 1974).


To mark the centenary of Jane Duncan's birth, Millrace Books The new edition of My Friends the Miss Boyds was launched at Waterstone’s in Inverness on Thursday 24 June 2010.

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