For the Islands I Sing

by George Mackay Brown


For the Islands I Sing

George’s memory is inseparable from Orkney, where he was born the youngest child of a poor family and which he rarely left.

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George’s memory is inseparable from Orkney, where he was born the youngest child of a poor family and which he rarely left. His mother was a beautiful woman who spoke only Gaelic and his father was a wit, mimic and singer, who also doubled as postman and tailor. Tuberculosis framed George’s early life and kept him in a kind of limbo. He discovered alcohol which gave him insights into the workings of the mind. While attending the University of Edinburgh he came into contact with Goodsir Smith, MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig – and Stella Cartwright with whom perhaps all of them were in love.

By the time of his death in 1996 he was recognised as one of the great writers of his time and country.

George Mackay Brown (1921–96) was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished and original writers. His lifelong inspiration and birthplace, Stromness in Orkney, moulded his view of the world, though he studied in Edinburgh and later at Newbattle Abbey College. In 1941 he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and lived an increasingly reclusive life in Stromness, but he produced a regular stream of publications from 1954 onwards. These included A Calendar of Love (1967), A Time to Keep (1969), Greenvoe (1972), Hawkfall (1974), and, notably, the novel Beside the Ocean of Time (1994), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Book of the Year.

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ISBN: 9781846975110

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Biography/Autobiography , Birlinn/Polygon , Fiction