Lecturer cashes in on a whale of a tale

November 5, 2004

A Scottish college lecturer has landed himself fiction and non-fiction publishing deals stemming from a dissertation on whaling he did in his final undergraduate year.

Malcolm Archibald, a former postman who now lectures at Dundee College, not only turned his dissertation on the whaling industry in 19th-century Dundee into a book, he also won a fiction prize for a novel whose central character ends up on a whaling ship.

Mr Archibald - who said he decided to go to university "because of my wife nagging me to go" - became intrigued with whaling while studying history at Dundee University.

"The whalers had a bad reputation. (People thought) they all got drunk when they came ashore and caused trouble and were the hooligans of the 19th century," he said.

The book Whalehunters: Dundee and the Arctic Whalers , based on his dissertation, was published this month by Mercat Press.

Mr Archibald was also one of three winners of this year's Dundee Book Prize.

A manuscript of his book Whales for the Wizard has been accepted by Polygon, which co-sponsored the prize with the university. Set in 1860, it tells the story of a former soldier who returns to Dundee, is drugged by an enemy and wakes up on a whaling ship.

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