The Wee Beastie

Katie Pearson 3Thirteen years after you’ve graduated from St Andrews, you find yourself in the heart of war in Bosnia. What originally started off as a job making a documentary about the Red Cross for the BBC has turned into heavy negotiations for you and your crew’s lives in exchange for the body bags of your captor’s dead from the UN authorities.

Or perhaps you would prefer something more glamorous? You’ve been given the task to bring the reclusive Harrison Ford back from Hollywood to appear on a London Weekend Television chat show. Only charm, humour, and a promise of fresh bagels delivered to his hotel every day while he is in London will win him over.

Katie Pearson 1

Or maybe, after a bout with a life-threatening illness, you’ve received a wake-up call to follow your passion to write. After the publishing company Hodder and Stoughton has read the opening three chapters of your first novel, you’ve been offered an astounding two-book deal.

Each one of these concepts could have come straight from a blurb at the back of a fictional book, and yet, all of these events actually did happen to one of our very own graduates who recently passed away. Katie Pearson, a graduate of the School of English department in 1982, experienced all of these adventures and more as a producer and director, an author, and a mother.

Katie’s breast cancer returned several times after her first encounter with it, but she managed to show strength and stay in good humour through her column in The Times called ‘The Wee Beastie,’ writing accounts of coping with both chemotherapy and her family’s rambunctious labradoodle puppy.

To honour Katie’s love of St Andrews and to encourage students with Katie’s same passion for creative writing, her husband, Marcus, and Katie Pearson 2daughters Maddie and Bella wish to establish a scholarship in honour of her. The Katie Pearson Scholarship will be open to all undergraduate students, no matter what discipline, demonstrating financial need who also have a spark for creative writing. If you have any interest in supporting Katie’s family in their goal of raising £65,000 for the scholarship, please click here.

While the University of St Andrews is world-renowned for the high quality of our staff, we, like Katie Pearson, strive to inspire and encourage passions beyond the academic pursuits.


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