Manuscripts of George Mackay Brown (1921-1996)

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 237 Coll-50
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      30 boxes (3 m); 15 folders.
  • Location
      Gen. 1776-1779; Gen. 1865-1868; Gen. 1885; Gen 1929; Gen. 1946-1947; Gen. 1957; Gen. 1970; Gen. 1997-1998; Gen. 2029; Gen. 2083; Gen. 2134; MSS 2841-2846; MSS 3111-3120; E2006.42

Scope and Content

The collection includes letters, manuscript drafts, typescripts, proofs of poems, plays, stories and novels. These are often in George Mackay Brown's original folders or envelopes. There are folders containing reviews, articles, essays, short stories and broadcasts; drafts of uncollected poems; and, scripts. A collection of small notebooks containing notes of letters written weekly, and of drafts of poems.

There are also 3 Christmas Cards each with a printed poem by George Mackay Brown. One is entitled Lamp (1985) with a printed salutation 'Christmas greetings from George Mackay Brown' inside, another A boy draws with a design by Martin Brown(1986), and A calendar of Kings designed by Sarah and Simon Fraser (1991).

Administrative / Biographical History

Poet and author George Mackay Brown was born in Stromness, Orkney, 17 October 1921 where he lived much of his life. He attended Edinburgh University as a mature student in the late-1950s after preparatory studies at Newbattle Abbey College, near Edinburgh. George Mackay Brown believed that his place as a writer was at the heart of the community into which he was born, but although his work is confined in place it has a broad range, from plays, children's books, essays, to novels and short stories. It is for his novels though that he is most famous, Greenvoe 1972), Magnus (1973), Beside the ocean of time (1994). Short stories have included A calendar of love (1967) and A time to keep. Poetry has included Loaves and fishes (1959), The year of the whale (1968), and The wreck of the Archangel (1995), the latter which earned him a Booker Prize short list citation in 1994 and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award, 1995. George Mackay Brown died in Kirkwall, Orkney, 13 April 1996

Access Information

Contact the repository for details

Acquisition Information

Christmas Cards with printed poems purchased 2006, Accession no. E2006.42.

Other Finding Aids

Handlist, H50; Another important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.