Merchiston Publishing

Edinburgh Napier University's Press, run by our postgraduate Publishing programme

The Day Boy and the Night Girl

Merchiston Publishing is the imprint of the Scottish Centre for the Book based at Edinburgh Napier University. The publications – print, ebook and online – are managed by staff and powered by students on MSc Publishing.

Our Books to Bairns series provides books (and in some cases Teachers’ Resources) to children in schools and hospitals across Scotland, in particular, Edinburgh.

These books are provided free of charge. Teachers can request a class set of one book, or a selection of our books, or even single copies for their school library.

Please get in touch to find out more.

The Day Boy and the Night Girl

Classic Scottish fairytale written by George MacDonald, a pioneering figure within fantasy literature in the 19th century and mentor to well-known children’s fantasy author, Lewis Carroll.

Our book aims to reintroduce the classic fairytale to this generation of children while introducing new morals to these classic tales.

Using indepth research into the under-representation of girls in books for eight to twelve year-olds, we have produced a book emphasising the importance of equality, and encouraging all children – regardless of gender – to be ambitious and accepting of others. This edited edition has modern language, making it accessible to the twenty-first-century parent and presents strong role models for today’s children.


We have gained the confirmation of two new academic authors. The first of these are Cordelia Fine, academic psychologist and writer who has kindly agreed to provide a Foreword for our project. She is a firm supporter of the removal of gender limiting marketing for children’s books and is not only affiliated  with our associated “Let Books be Books” campaign and is daughter of Anne Fine, renown children’s writer. The second is Helen Sutherland,  Academic at Glasgow University and fan of George MacDonald, who has provided his biography as well as information to help readers learn more about the book.

Book Information

“Oh, I see! … No, of course! you can’t be a girl: girls are not afraid — without reason. I understand now: it is because you are NOT a girl that you are so frightened.”

A boy and a girl, each imprisoned in a castle by the evil witch Watho. Photogen, exposed only to the sun, and Nycteris, familiar only with darkness. His dreams of adventure and her desire for freedom lead to their chance meeting one night. Together they must find a way to overcome their fear of the unknown and escape Watho.

“Lean on me,” Nycteris would return, putting her arm around him, or patting his cheek. “Take a few steps more. Every step away from the castle is clear gain. Lean harder on me. I am quite strong.”

You can now also get involved with the online campaign Let Books be Books, a campaign promoting the removal of all gender restrictions on children’s books created by Let Toys be Toys. We as a team really associated with these ideals and believe that it should be up to children to choose what they want to read, not be limited by the colour or title of a book.

Books to Bairns: Our work focuses on providing books to disadvantaged readers. Books to Bairns is one of our initiatives. We edit, design, create, publish and distribute (donate) books to schools, hospitals, prisons and other institutional libraries. Find out more about our book advocacy:

The production of many of these titles is supported by charitable trusts and other bodies. Such copies are therefore distributed freely, although a handling charge may apply. To find out more, please email

Find out more about our Postgraduate Publishing programme.

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