Tour Scotland
Home Page


George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown, the bard of Orkney. George Mackay Brown was born in Stromness, Orkney, in 1921. He was at Newbattle Abbey College when Edwin Muir was Warden. He read English at Edinburgh and did post-graduate work on Gerard Manley Hopkins. He was known for his poetry, short stories, plays and novels, and won many prizes including in 1987 the James Tait Black prize for his novel 'The Golden Bird'. He died in 1996.

MagnusMagnus (Cannongate Classic S.) This is the story of the saintly Earl Magnus of Orkney who walked calmly, knowingly and completely unarmed to a terrible death at the hands of his cousin Hakon Paulson. Even the hardened Vikings who were at the fateful meeting in 1116 turned away in horror at the brutality of what took place. George Mackay Brown.

The Golden Bird: Two Orkney Stories The Orkneys are the setting for these two stories one of which depicts the slow decline of an island community which was dependent on the sea for its livelihood. The other looks at the life of a typical young Orkneyman who devotes his latter years to the hard cycle of labour on a small croft. The author has spent all his life in the Orkneys and has written novels, short stories and two non-fiction book about his native islands. George Mackay Brown.

Beside the Ocean of TimeBeside the Ocean of Time Thorfinn Ragnarson is the daydreaming son of a tenant farmer, avoiding both work and school despite the best efforts of family, friends and neighbours. Instead, the boy dreams up elaborate historical fantasies. In a series of intriguing chapters, George Mackay Brown transforms Thorfinn into a Viking traveller, a freedom fighter for Bonnie Prince Charlie and the colleague of a Falstaffian knight who participates in the Battle of Bannockburn. He is then hurled into the future as Thor, who returns to the Orkneys as an adult and recalls his internment in a German POW camp, where he discovered his writing skills. Thor also reflects on the history of Orkney, the links between dreaming and writing and the whims of fate. In this beautiful and haunting novel, Brown's lyrical descriptions and gift for local colour capture, as ever, the myth-drenched magic of his native islands. George Mackay Brown.

Vinland A saga of the Viking Ranald Sigmundson, his life on Orkney and his voyage to Vinland, the settlement in North America. He visits America as a young man with Leif Erikson, and the experience informs the rest of his life, spanning years of war and peace, Christianity and the darker ancient rites. George Mackay Brown.

The Island of the WomenThe Island of the Women The Island of the Women is George Mackay Brown's posthumously published collection of short stories, released in 1998, two years after the author's death. Like his previous collections, "A Time to Keep" and "A Calendar of Love", this volume explores Brown's concerns with history, spirituality, legend and storytelling. In the title story, Brown uses the famous Orcadian myth of the selkie, the seal-man. The story "Poet and Prince: A Fable", explores the role of the writer in society, a tale which begins in an unknown European state and concludes on Brown's beloved island.

Orkney Pictures and Poems In this book, a writer who is deeply rooted in the island of Orkney and his friend, a photographer who has lived amongst these islands for 20 years have brought their work together to create a personal evocation of the people and their way of life.

HawkfallHawkfall He was dead. The spirit of the Beloved One had gone on alone into the hall of death. His body was left to them for seven days yet so that they might give it a fitting farewell. Now it was time for it too to be sent after. The priests washed his old frail bluish body with water that had been drawn at sunrise. They arrayed him in his ceremonial vestments: the dyed woollen kirtle, the great gray cloak of wolfskin, the seelskin slippers. Across his breast they laid his whalebone bow, with seven arrows of larch. In his right hand they put the long oaken spear. The old mouth began to smile in its scant silken beard, perhaps because everything was being done well and according to the first writings. Now it was time. All was ready.

Return To Tour Orkney Islands



Tour Scotland
Tour Edinburgh
Tour Island Of Skye

Rent A Self Catering Hoilday Cottage In Scotland

Share This Tour Scotland Web Page

Top Destinations
Tour Europe