Brown, George Mackay

(1917-1996)
   Known as "The Bard of Orkney," Brown was an Orcadian through and through. The sixth and youngest child of a Gaelic-speaking part-time tailor and postman, he attended Stromness Academy, New Battle Abbey, and Edinburgh University, where he read English, then did postgraduate work on Gerard Manley Hopkins. After overcoming tuberculosis, he devoted his life to writing. For forty years he published short stories, essays, children's books and poems in anthologies and in thirteen collections of his own. The composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies set over thirty pieces of Brown's work to music. His tales are steeped in Norse and island folklore. His first novel, Greenvoe (a voe is a bay) (1972) remained in print for many years. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1974. His autobiographyFor the Islands I Sing-was published posthumously in 1997. Orkney poet Edwin Muir encouraged Brown and published his first collection of poetry, The Storm, in 1954. His poems evoke strong feelings of a past that is dead and gone. Some of his poems: "Beachcomber," "Dead Fires," "Haddock Fishermen," "Hamnavoe Market," "Island School," "Press-Gang," "Runes from a Holy Island," "Taxman."
   Sources: BBC-Writing Scotland (www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/arts/writingscotland / learning_journeys/place/george_mackay_brown). Canongate Publishers (www.canongate.net). Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. George Mackay Brown site index (www.georgemackaybrown.co.uk/gmb/siteindex.htm). Significant and Famous Scots (http://www.electricscotland. com/history/other/brown_georgem.htm). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http:// www.columbiagrangers.org). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The New Penguin Book of Scottish Verse. Robert Crawford and Mick Imlah, ed. Penguin Books, 2000. The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse, 1945-1980. D.J. Enright, ed. Oxford University Press, 1980. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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  • George Mackay Brown — (17 October 1921 13 April 1996), was a Scottish poet, author and dramatist, whose work has a distinctly Orcadian character.Born in Stromness in the Orkney Islands, Mackay Brown is considered one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century.… …   Wikipedia

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