His father was Britain’s first Muslim MP and as a child, Anas Sarwar witnessed sickening racism. Now he’s vying for the Scottish Labour leadership, but is determined to put his family first

This article was first published in the Scottish Daily Mail, 13 February 2021

By Emma Cowing

WHO is the best politician in the Sarwar family? Anas Sarwar doesn’t hesitate. ‘My Mum,’ he says. It’s quite the revelation from a man whose father was Britain’s first Muslim MP and is now the governor of Punjab in Pakistan.

He himself is heading towards an almost assured election win for the…

This article was first published in the Scottish Daily Mail, 23 January 2021

By Emma Cowing

I WAS 18 years old the first time I hosted a Burns supper. I use the term loosely. The event, held in my student flat, consisted of tinned cock-a-leekie soup, lumpy mash with some anaemic, undercooked haggis, a quarter-bottle of Grant’s whisky and a table decoration constructed out of a pile of potatoes and a tartan scarf which had seen better days.

But in that first, halting affair, a tradition was born. …

Their fearsome cries last echoed in Scotland’s glens more than 200 years ago. Now, despite furious opposition, there’s growing support for plans to reintroduce the wolf…

By Emma Cowing

This article was first published in the Scottish Daily Mail, 24th October, 2020

OVER the ice they came, huge paws padding silently in the dark. Two, perhaps three wolves, returning to an island they had not inhabited for over 160 years. …

For two centuries, Scotland was gripped by a terrifying witch craze — and more than 2,500 innocent women were put to death. Now the fate of these forgotten victims is being highlighted by an eminent QC determined that they should finally be pardoned

By Emma Cowing

This article was first published in the Scottish Daily Mail, 19th September, 2020

ON A cold morning in 1704 in the Fife village of Torryburn, Lilias Adie was awoken by a hammering at her front door. …

THE other night I sat by the fire, Christmas banality blaring on the box, and wrapped this year’s presents.

I am a good present wrapper. My edges are neat and straight. I fold the sides with exacting precision.

I was taught this skill by my father, who in turn learnt it from his. My Grandfather ran a shop, back in the days when shops sold packages tied up with paper and string, and as a child Dad was sometimes drafted in to help on Saturday mornings. …

I ALMOST missed it. It had been a long day, and I could easily have scrolled past the notice on my Facebook feed.

The name though, and the fact it had been posted by Greater Glasgow police, caught my attention.

‘Death of Robin Rey, Glasgow,’ it read. ‘We are appealing for the assistance of the public in tracing relatives of a 91 year old male who recently died in the Hillhead area of Glasgow.

‘He was found dead within his home on the 25th November.’

I scanned down. No suspicious circumstances. Few leads regarding family.

‘Little information is known,’ it…

Quiet genius who was never afraid to turn down the heat

This article was originally published in the Scottish Daily Mail, 23 January 2019

By Emma Cowing

EVERY evening before opening his two Michelin star restaurant, Andrew Fairlie would shake hands with his kitchen staff. Then, rather like a family, they would all sit down together to eat.

Fairlie was the antithesis of the shouty restaurant chef, as far removed from the Gordon Ramsays of the world as his exquisite home-smoked lobster was from a plate of egg and chips.

He nurtured his staff, guiding them at every turn, and…

The harrowing and deeply moving story of a mother’s resolve to uncover the truth about her baby’s death

This article was originally published in the Scottish Daily Mail on 9 September, 2017

By Emma Cowing

ON a warm summer’s day in July 1975, Lydia Reid walked across a quiet Edinburgh graveyard to bury her son. Little Gary Paton, just seven days old, had died following an operation at the Sick Children’s hospital and his devastated mother was determined to give him a proper funeral.

Yet now, cradling the tiny white coffin in her arms, Lydia knew something was wrong.

‘The…

Genius who turned real life into a work of art

This article was originally published in the Scottish Daily Mail on Saturday, 28 November 2015

Gordon Jack was an incredible photographer. Now, six months on from his tragic death, a new prize aims to celebrate his life… and encourage a whole new generation to follow in his footsteps

By Emma Cowing

IF a picture exists that sums up the work of photographer Gordon Jack, it might just be the one which hangs on the wall of his Linlithgow home. It is a family portrait, although not in any conventional sense.

Emma Cowing

Writer. Editor. Ochberg Fellow.

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